Friday, October 5, 2012

He plans to restore a Royal Enfield just to look at

Restoring an old Royal Enfield motorcycle to perfection could be expensive and time consuming, but you'll be able to look at it in years to come and think, "It's beautiful."

And then you might wonder: "But why did I spend all that money and time on it if I'm only going to look at it?"

Troy Basaraba of Calgary, Alberta, will never ask himself that question, because looking at his Royal Enfield is all he ever plans to do.

He "is resurrecting a Royal Enfield Model G, but only to display level," reported Chris Overton, of the Royal Enfield Interceptor group. "He judged it too far gone to restore or even get running. He is advertising for restorers' cast-offs: the worn out and rusted parts not good enough for a running machine."

This struck me as brilliant, so I wrote Troy to ask about his project. His response:

"It is true. I came across a guy a year ago that had restored a late 1940s J2 and was giving away the 'box of parts' that were left over. When I showed up early on that Sunday morning, I found not one box but five or six boxes and a frame.

"The parts initially were going to be some garage art , where I was going to put a couple cases together on a mounting on a shelf or wall. I found after a few hours of sorting and matching that I had a complete 'G' engine and a complete drive. Much was missing of the chassis, and the chrome tank had a large section cut out of it. I then got the idea to assemble as much as possible and build it as a display bike

"Since then I have found pieces, albeit scarce. I found a tank locally and with the help of Dave Peters in Bussey, Alberta, located a couple wheels and some other items. We did a little trade/cash piece of commerce and picked up some little brass pieces I was missing. I am doing the same thing with a 1956 Puch Allstate 175 Split single (similar to the one in the famous pic of James Dean on someone else’s 1955 Puch Allstate)."

Classic pose on a classic motorcycle.
What with one thing and another, Troy hasn't finished his projects yet. But in the interim he sent me a photograph of himself imitating the famed pose. The actor is his personal idol.

Troy's Puch Allstate restoration project has a ways to go.
His story continues:

"When done, I will have a 1939/1940 – telescopic fork introduced in 1940 – Royal Enfield Model G 346cc that will look its age and a 1956 Puch Allstate model 810.94171 Split Single 175 Deluxe both on display in my rec room, along with pictures, articles, flags and things like vintage goggles, helmets and petrol cans.

"Okay, so maybe a little eccentric; however of note, I started riding in early 1970s, rode motocross for years on such bikes as Hodaka (Wombat), Montessa (250) and  in total have owned over 500 various dirt and street bikes in the following 35-plus years. I had also collected over 3,500 magazines from the mid '70s on, only to have to sell the collection as well as the collection of several hundred manuals that I had collected over a 15-year span.

"I now find myself revisiting my hobby in the form of a different slant on tributes than the usual restoration with new parts, to ride.

"After all, I am not Jay Leno."


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