Classics looking younger
6 July 2012
Three items in the July issue – a classified ad, Jerry Thurston’s page and that lovely G3L – got me thinking (yet again) about the nature of this ‘classic’ thing. I agree very much with Jerry’s musings on the hoary old subject of what makes for a classic… surely it’s not just age... but then again?

In 1974, aged 17, I spent £70 on exactly the same model Matchless. Built in 1950, AEN73 was like a huge number of old Brits then, worn out in every department! Painted matt black all over, saddle replaced by plywood and foam, extinct lighting system etc. It was a heap, but it took me everywhere and I loved it.

But here’s a thing; despite the ‘Teledraulic’ forks, it wouldn’t have looked too futuristic in 1930 and by 1974, even a layman could tell it was almost an antique. Alongside a H1 Kawasaki, it could have been from another planet and yet it was only 24 years old!

Now, back to that classified ad, a cooking 250cc Yamaha from 1980, perhaps to many readers not even old but at 32, it makes my Matchy look like a youngster! I suspect it goes and stops much as it did 32 years ago, and our layman would probably not recognise it as being particularly old. A classic? Who’s to say. Was my Matchless one in 1974?

Hmmnnn. Perhaps, as with us humans, 60 is now the new 40!

Mark Brett, via email

PS. Perhaps AEN73 may still exist, still all yard-brush black and clapped out? I somehow doubt it…

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The Classic MotorCycle Issue 42-01 - Jan 2015

Where legends come to life

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