Beware of light fingers…


I am always interested to read the very interesting articles in The Classic MotorCycle and Rachael Clegg’s ‘Teenage Dreams’ story about John Weeden’s 1966 BSA Mk.II Spitfire (March 2020) brought back many happy memories for me, as I worked for BSA automotive at the same time, and knew John.

The photo on page 60 of the Mk.III Spitfire on display at Earls Court reminded me that at shows we always had a problem when light-fingered show visitors always took the opportunity to remove whatever was ‘quickly detachable’ from bikes exhibited.

Norman Vanhouse is stood just behind the bike. One can see that he is very interested in what the lad is ‘fingering.’ That young chap was probably only explaining to his lady why we needed damper knobs.

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Unfortunately, Norman is no longer with us, so I cannot ask him. Yes, even damper knobs went missing, including instruments and their illuminating bulbs.

Petrol tank and oil tank caps frequently went missing. Indeed, we took spares just in case. One of the problems was people would keep stand staff engaged in discussion while their mates relieved exhibits of the quickly detachable fittings.

It’s not a problem that’s gone away; I once caught someone trying to remove the inspection light from the instrument panel on my 1938 Red Hunter at Founder’s Day…

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Jim Lee, via email.

Read more Letters, Opinion, News and Features at www.classicmotorcyle.co.uk and in the May 2020 issue of The Classic Motorcycle – on sale now!

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