Thursday, January 25, 2018

Wassell Antelope

J.B. Nicholson.  Modern Motorcycle Mechanics.  7th Edition.
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: Nicholson Brothers Motorcycles Ltd., 1974.

W.E. "Ted"  Wassell started the company that bore his name back in 1946, and eventually became one of the largest manufacturer and supplier of after-market parts for British Bikes.  I don't have to look far in my shop to see examples of things bought from the firm.

In the late 1960's, the company produced its own trial machine using the 175cc BSA Bantam engine.  They showed 3 of their models at the 1970 Motorcycle Show in England but, typically, BSA showed no interest in supporting them.  Priced at only £175, the bike was much cheaper than the Spanish machines that were beginning to flood the market.  Given the limited access to Bantam engines, they turned to the Austrian Sachs firm for the 125-cc, 6-speed unit, and in 1971 signed an order to obtain them.  The company acquired the services Jim Lee and Peter Edmonson, formerly of Dalesman Motorcycles,  and unveiled the 125 Sachs powered trails and motocross machines in late 1972. Both models were originally sold in the UK with a list price of £315.  When Sachs went under, the engines were apparently sourced from another Austrian firm, Steyr-Daimler-Puch.  Wassell was making about three bikes a day.  Eventually, the made arrangement with Penton in the US, selling the bikes under the Penton Mudlark name.  All told, about 3000 were made.

For more, read Best of British.

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