Restored from the Scrap Heap

Back in the good old days of the mid 1960s, when I was just a kid living in Clifton, one of the suburbs of Nottingham, I would walk to junior school every day, come home for lunch, and go back in the afternoon.

It was during my walk back up Dungannon Road after lunch, that on most days, I would pass a pea green motorcycle and sidecar parked outside a house. I admired it from a distance but didn’t realise at that time that it was a classic Sunbeam S7.

Seeing this motorcycle became a daily delight until my second year of senior school, when the bike suddenly was no longer there. Oddly, I found myself missing the bike but as time went on I forgot about it, thinking more about things like football and girls - not necessarily in that order, and in some cases, both at the same time!

Anyway, back to the story. As my life progressed I eventually left school, got an apprenticeship, started to earn a wage, and bought my first bike (Japanese). I was finally a motorcyclist and the first in my family to own such a form of transport. Needless to say my poor old Mum was mortified and tried every bribe under the sun to talk me out of continuing with two wheels but nothing worked.

As I progressed to larger capacity Japanese bikes, I sat down and made a list of all the things I wanted to do during my biking life, tour, race, rally, etc. and one was to restore an old British machine.

Back in 1985, while recovering from stepping off a 900cc Honda, I was informed by a friend of the whereabouts of the wreck of an old motorcycle; it was quite local, and still in Clifton.

This seemed like the perfect opportunity to have a go at restoring so I went along to look at the motorcycle. However, I use the term ‘motorcycle’ in its loosest sense as about 40% of it was either missing or unsalvageable. Still I had clarified that it was a British twin so I made an offer of £ 80.
We had to fit the wheels to the frame and wheelbarrow all the loose bits home.
Needless to say, everyone who was not a motorcycle enthusiast thought I was mad, including dear old Mum!

Later on when I finally went through the bike’s paperwork, I went cold. There before me was the exact same Sunbeam S7, minus its sidecar, that I had seen and passed almost daily as a young lad.

The documentation, and by this I mean the old green log book to those that remember, showed that the bike had had five previous owners, the first being the gentleman on Dungannon Road. The tax disc and MOT certificate showed it was last used on the road in 1970.

I now had in my possession a machine that had an amazing history, one which was linked to me and I knew from that day on I was always meant to own it and bring it back to its former glory.


NSMB Restorations