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Past Perfect 1938 BSA C10

Past Perfect 1938 BSA C10

CN 9433 came into the world in 1938, middle name C10, offspring of Family BSA. From the years 1938 to 1957 BSA (the Birmingham Small Arms) Company, a hallowed name in the British motorcycle industry rolled off its lines the BSA C10, together with a range of other models.  The C10 was a quarter-litre (250cc) motorcycle and was popular for its ease of riding in a variety of road conditions and its ease of maintenance.

The bike served its owner for a while; then came a time when its road going days ceased to be. Famed bike restorer Lal Jayasuriya rescued the bare bones and a bit more from the resting place.

Recall the 1949 BSA C11 that we featured in the May issue? Same man was responsible for that too.

At the Jayasuriya garages the bits of the bike lay safe in the hands of those who understand classic motorcycles.  Fast forward to 2018 when CN9433 was given a glorious re-birth with a nut-and-bolt (literarily) restoration.  The bar-end levers (aka inverted levers), and fuel tank-mounted Smiths speedometer surround have also been finished in keeping with the brass-theme.   

You don’t have to look further than the polished brass-finished nuts and bolt-heads that stitch together the individual parts of this outstanding example of classic craftsmanship for evidence that this bike has been lovingly brought back as one again after over thirty years of oblivion.

The bike is dressed in Royal Ivory which, we are told by the Jayasuriya Team, was a period-appropriate colour. The front number plate is made to standard dimensions of the time and stands fitted north-south on the front mudguard as was the practice of the day.  Older riders and classic motorcycle lovers among us would recall that this practice prevailed into as recently as the 1960s and 70s, too. 

Lal Jayasuriya emphasizes the smooth ride of the bike coming from its girder front end.  Even though the frame itself is rigid as was common in those days, the saddle - leather and spring mounted - too would offer a sense of smoothness and comfort on the road.

Lal’s son Sandalu who began the project of restoring CN 9433 says it took only three months (of full throttle) to bring the bike back to showroom trim.  In fact his brothers Kushan and Isuru, avidly enthusiastic in all things motorcycling, played their roles in the restoration of the almost eight-decade old BSA and the bike was up and running in the remarkable short time from the condition on arrival at the Jayasuriya works. 

On arrival the frame and engine were not together, the speedometer, saddle, and a number of other components had gone AWOL a long while prior.

While a number of specialist parts had to be sourced overseas   - Smiths speedometer, clutch assembly, all the rubbers (tank, footpegs, others), all bearings (for engine internals and for wheel hubs), pistons, valves, and more - a range of components was turned out locally, too.  Wheel axles, girder fork parts, and a host of other components were carefully made to measure and to the highest quality to make this restoration possible.

The restoration being of high quality, CN 9433 and her provenance, soon found a home with current owner Dhanushka Lokuhelapitiyage.

Dilip Vazirani

 

BSA C10 1938  CN 9433 - Specs

Engine     :   Air-cooled 4-stroke side-valve flat-head single-cylinder pre-unit model

Capacity  :   249cc

Gears      :   3-speed

Brakes    :   Front and Rear :  Drum

Frame     :   Girder fork, rigid frame

Electrics  :   Coil and rectifier