When Revd. Ghazan insisted that we should visit the Antique Car Exhibition at the Ambience Island Golf Course last Sunday the 18th of February, I was a little hesitant to accompany him, what with a lot of work to catch up with. However when we finally did go to the the exhibition it was to relive history! The Nortons, and Royal Enfields, BSAs. and US Army bikes were simply too good to be dismissed. The amount of work that had gone into preserving these beauties was simply stupendous. I am not talking about just motorcycles, but also cars. But then since this post is about the motorcycles we saw, I will stick to bikes! Out of all the exhibits on display, I can proudly state that I have ridden two of them: Lambretta 150, and the Yezdi 250's elder brother, the Jawa 250 were familiar exhibits.
I never knew that Royal Enfield had a 750 cc motorcycle named Constellation way back in 1954l! The exhibit that I saw at the Ambience Golf-course ground had twin cylinders/twin exhaust pipes and twin carburettors.
Another bike that caught my fancy was the Ariel bike with a 1000 cc engine block and the accompanying twin exhausts. No wonder, the bike has its admirers of all ages.
This strange looking bike is a twin cylinder AJS bike with swept handlebars and a gear lever that seems to be more suited in a car or a truck! This 798 CC bike was built in 1926 and as you can see, the valve-springs are exposed.The gear lever of this bike is on the right-hand side of the tank and the fact that you would have to take your right hand off the handle-bar would have made it a dangerous bike to ride!
The Lambretta 150 was incidentally the only antique two-wheeler, besides the Yezdi that I have ridden in the eighties. The Lambretta 150 scooter could manage sixty-kilometres after some coaxing after of course managing to nurse it through the four gears! Being a bigger scooter than the Chetak and others, it was a regular sight to see the entire family travelling on it. There would even be one child sitting on the spare-wheel! It was not meant for speed though it had a lot of torque.
Mr David was talking about the Ariel Motorcycle and lo and behold there it was, a 1000cc beauty that would take head on any competition today!
This Norton was a well-preserved motorcycle and we stood proudly in front of it, although Revd.Ghazan is more of a car enthusiast than a bike enthusiast!
It somehow looks like the fifties and sixties were eras of the 1000 cc superbikes in India if not the rest of the world. The roads were less crowded, and petrol was cheap. Having a huge engine however did not mean speeding, rather it was all about cruising effortlessly!