BSA sells for $NZ 53,402
A 1920 BSA 6/7 h.p. Model E V-Twin with a Taxi Sidecar sold recently for £24,725, equivalent to $NZ 53,402. The Bonham's auction was held at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu. The motorcycle was first registered on 28th January 1921, and was one of 19 motorcycle taxis carrying passengers in Birmingham for the Hackney Carriage Authority. The 770cc Model E came out late in 1919 and was the first in a successful line of sidecar tugs. Development began six years before but was interrupted by the Great War. The valves, which were interchangeable, were made of high temperature nickel alloy steel which made them less prone to breakage. Both chains were enclosed in cast aluminium cases, with BSA's special shock absorber on the engine shaft. The total loss oil system used a mechanical pump but for motorcyclists not used to such new fangled devices there was a supplementary hand pump. As a solo machine the top speed was a modest 55mph but it was reliability that BSA emphasised.
This motorcycle was restored by 'a prominent member' of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club in the early 1970s and clocked up over 50,000 miles with an earlier sidecar. The chassis of the current Canoelet sidecar, which carries two passengers side by side, was unearthed in a Sussex quarry. It was reconstructed from photographs using ash frames and aluminium panels. The nickel-plated fittings are all original and the Halda Taximeter was discovered at a Beaulieu Autojumble (Swapmeet). Weighing 408 kilograms the BSA is a handful to steer and stop and a later drum brake was laced into the front wheel and used in place of the original dummy belt rim brake.
BSA introduced an even larger 985cc v-twin 1922, first named the model F and later renamed the model G. These machines had plenty of what the BSA brochures referred to as "pulling power." BSA continued manufacturing v-twins right up till 1940. A 1919 BSA Model E and side chair featured in the 1965 movie Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines.
Photographs by permission of Bonhams, London.