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Burt Munro – The Lost Interviews

Book Review.

There has been quite a bit written about Burt Munro over the last 60 years, his exploits in motorcycling appearing in early copies of the NZ Motorcyclist, then there was George Beggs book Burt Munro Legend of Speed, One Good Run by Tim Hanna, and of course Roger Donaldsons epic portrayal of Burt in his movie The Worlds Fastest Indian. For most this would be enough on Burt however the latest book available (actually it came out last year) would have to be the pinnacle of everything Burt.

The Lost Interviews are from author Neil Birss who penned

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1912 Triumph Sales Catalogue

By 1912 Triumph motorcycles had been in production for 10 years. Little did they realise that they would be around for a lot longer. For 105 years old this catalogue is in exceptionally good condition and as the cover says, Adams Ltd of 32 High Street, Christchurch were the sole agents for New Zealand. But evidently not, as we all know.

They were also advertising offices at Wellington, Wanganui, Palmerston North and Timaru.

For 1912 there were 4 models, the Triumph Roadster, the Free Engine Model, the Tourist Trophy Roadster and the Tourist Trophy Racer. There are excellent descriptions and

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1929 Excelsior Sales catalogue.

When people dream Excelsior most have visions of the American Excelsior, a big V twin that graced American highways (or most likely dusty bumpy old roads carved out by wagon wheels). But what about the English Excelsior? Well to most that would have to be the Excelsior Manxman race bike, its road going and less common Warrior, or the 1950s 2 stroke machines.

Well, for 1929 Excelsior was to produce 14 machines for both the home and overseas markets.Undecided as to what to call the various models they adopted a more simplistic approach and gave them numbers. There was the

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1936 Ariel Sales Catalogue

Ariel motorcycles have always impressed me with their style and finish. The chrome flutes in the petrol tanks of some 1950s models added a certain flare that wasn’t there in other makes, although they were probably a nightmare to panelbeat. And their sales catalogues were no different. The 1936 range of models is impressive and is reflected in the opulence of the time, the stylish silhouetted ladies in different sports poses that adorn each page suggesting that should you buy an Ariel then you too will step up to their class.

One model that has always impressed me is the

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1930 S.O.S Sales Catalogue.

Not a well known manufacturer, SOS (which stands for Super Onslow Special) first appeared in 1927 but never survived past 1939, most likely to the drain of WW2 on resources and materials. Most machines were powered by Villiers 2 stroke engines with a few by JAP 4 stroke singles, there was also a water cooled version. This catalogue from 1930 would quite unique as it was right in the middle of the depression so there would have been very little money for anything. It has 4 models, the Villiers engined Model C and the Super K, the 246cc 4 stroke

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