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Mystery JAP motor

Chatting to Oz Ellison (one of our much younger enthusiasts) at Founders’ Day this year, the conversation drifted to a 250cc ohv JAP engine, which, along with a carburettor, BTH racing magneto and a four-speed Albion gearbox, was literally thrust on him two years ago.

An older neighbour was selling up and downsizing to a smaller house with a tiny garage to be near his daughter, thus the engine and accompaniments were placed by said neighbour in an old builder’s barrow and dumped on Oz’s drive.

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Why was Oz so lucky? Having passed his motorcycle tests about 20 years ago, he’s had a progression of modern machines, which have been joined by a couple of 1970s 750cc Japanese classics and, more recently, a BSA A10.

The cover (above) from the 1925 season catalogue for the Model 4A engine, which was intended for car applications – JAP’s product range was diverse. And (above right) the rear of a 1932 catalogue, showing the JAP premises in north London.

It makes total sense to me that the next step is the JAP engine and hopefully we’ll soon get him on proper motorcycles – ones with no gears or clutches and a belt linking the engine to the back wheel!

A couple of weeks later, Oz discovered more information about the engine’s past and supplied the full engine number.

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It seems a relative of the donating neighbour had built it into a home-made spring frame for grass track racing sometime during the 1950s.

The fact that on strip the engine was found to have a high domed piston with ‘extreme valve cutaways’ along with the presence of 600 main jet (dope sized jet for the 250cc engine) confirms the history.

Read more and view more images in the November 2019 issue of TCM – on sale now!

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Exhaust system fabrication

While we manned son Peter’s stands at the September Kempton Park autojumble, the owner/restorer of a small collection of Moto Guzzi Zigolos asked if we knew anyone who could supply or make to a rusted pattern an exhaust system for his 98cc Zigolo.

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These are on sale in Italy but no mail/internet order service seems available, thus the solution is to fly to Italy and bring back as hand luggage any parts needed.

Richard Rosenthal’s faithful OEC, now with its ‘straight through’ exhaust system.

And apart from the cost, as many of us have experienced, hand luggage regulations and limitations can be a nightmare with selected budget airlines.

One name immediately sprang to mind: Den Tietze of Alldens Exhausts, Ardergraft Works, Newtoft Business Park, Market Rasen, Lincs. LN8 3WA, 01673 880125 or 07595 448713 or email [email protected]

Read more in the November 2019 issue of TCM – on sale now!

Ballacraine Corner

We’ve recently returned from watching the Classic TT from Ballacraine Corner.

While there, a local informed the bend used to be banked like a cycle track for faster cornering.

From the 1970s, the Ballacraine Hotel, when it was still a hotel. The course basically turns right at the traffic lights, headed for Glen Helen.

Have you heard this? Also, which building – the private house or the farm – was the Ballacraine Hotel?

Wendy and Les Skeels, email.

Read more in the November 2019 issue of TCM – on sale now!

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