The Wish List – A BSA A65 Spitfire Mk4

At a very young age this person’s life seemed to rotate around two wheeled transportation and recreation, starting with his Dad and his BSA C11.

Naturally it had to test ridden after mechanical repairs were seen to.

Frank on a BSA C15
BSA C15 in Australia

It became an addiction …. the smell of the hot engine with a fuel oil aroma after Dad’s return from work.

Finally after a school Leaving Certificate was obtained it was my turn to enter the work force.

Still today I feel blessed the day an apprenticeship was secured with Hawker DeHavilland as a Fitter Machinist at Birnie Ave Lidcombe, just west of Sydney Australia.

Transportation to work was initially on a push bike but the 6.6 Km, rain or shine, jaunt did not matter. The sight and feel of a fire breathing, chrome plated, polished aluminum BSA was in the distance, making the peddling easy to handle while socking away dollars toward this end.

The first motorized machine was, don’t laugh, a Jawa 250cc, an honest, noisy, hard to start means of transport.

Certainly not the thing a hot chick was likely to be attracted to, but served the purpose on the day.

Limited dollars were available to splash out on anything other than food, fuel and board as apprentice wages were poor but fair.

Enter the BSA A10, a basket case Golden Flash, but with patience and perseverance, plus the generosity and encouragement of my employer, machining was done, chrome plating and polishing completed and a new existence entered a young lad’s life.

Life was good, and a freedom only afforded by ownership and comradery of a motor bike, was there for the taking.

BSA A10 Golden Flash

Parramatta Road runs from Sydney all the way west to Parramatta with Lidcombe along the way.

Easy for a lad to jump on his stead, motor along Parramatta Road to grab bike bits from Ryan’s in Church Street, who sold all sorts of stuff including second hand bike parts, boots, jackets, oil, you name it.

A second hand 1964 BSA A65 Thunderbolt had arrived and had to be ‘tricked up’ needing regular visits to Ryan’s. 

BSA A65 Thunderbolt 1964

HOWEVER, along Parramatta Road on the way was the BSA, Triumph, Velocette dealer, Burling and Simmons.

They had a huge glass display window with tons of two wheeled machinery to dazzle interested parties behind the glass barrier.

I remained on the street side of the barrier and could not afford to be dazzled into buying … affording only to drool!

Particularly, when BSA released their flagship, production racer, the Mark 2 Spitfire, with alloy wheels, red 4 gallon tank, 123 MPH, GP carbies, 8” twin leading shoe front brake, 12 volt electrics … and I had to have one!!

But I had to wait, apprenticeship now completed, new job, marriage in the waiting, kids, houses, relocation, but the fire never went out.

Many moons later an ad was placed in a Queensland newspaper for the purchase of a Spitfire, many replied but most were not the genuine article.

BSA did not produce many Spitfires (1,291 genuine Mark 4’s apparently) so to have a bloke offer a genuine Mark 4 to me, what could I say?

The only problem … it was in a million bits with him not sure where the bits were supposed to fit.

“Don’t you worry mate, I’ll sort that out”… gave him his money, loaded the mess onto the ute off took off before he changed his mind!!

Bacon’s book on BSA Twin restoration, plus the BSA workshop manual definitely assisted along the way, with Burton Bike Bits providing any missing links.

It took some 3 years to complete but the wish list was intact, I now owned my Spitfire even though it took 25 years to make happen.

It behaved like a true thoroughbred, strong on the bit, agile in the curves and keen on the spur

BSA A65 Spitfire Australia BSA Rally
BSA A65 pre oil and oil in frame
BSA A65 Spitfire MKIV

My wife Lynn being a two wheel enthusiast was behind me all the way. Being a rider in her own right she enjoyed the journey.

Lynn has owned a number of machines riding her own BSA Bantam D7 for a short period.

Suzuki ER100 Motorcycle
Woman on a BSA Bantam D7

At 75 and 68 years young we still venture out but on a different beast.

Ducati ST4S Australia

Cheers, hope you enjoyed the tale as much we have enjoyed the love of our classic BSA’s,

Frank & Lynn

What Our Clients Say
7718 reviews