67 BSA Spitfire "Stay Clean"

Hoosier Daddy

Earache my eye...
Those of you who have followed my past builds know me for picking up a dirt cheap bike, destined for the scrap yard, and tearing it completely down then building it back up MY way, the finished product resembling very little what came from the factory but what I can do with the shit pile I'm handed cheap as possible.
This bike is going a new route. Plans are a long term, no holds barred top notch redoux of the bike of my dreams... Literally. My first road bike was a BSA Thunderbolt and the A-65's have held a place in my heart every since. When a Mate told me he had found one sitting in a widows barn, I knew it HAD to be mine. The month long saga of what and how is here Found a BSA so I won't be rehashing it here, we will start with the day she arrived.

Now even though I've been a Beezah fan for 30 years, I wasn't exactly sure of what I had found but thanks to the BritBike forum we have determined it started life as a '67 BSA Spitfire MkIII.
HowStuffWorks.com said:
The A65 Spitfire was positioned as a road racer for the street. To aid performance, two large-bore Amal GP carburetors were fitted, complete with velocity stacks.
As it turned out, these carbs made the Spitfire difficult to start when hot and were often replaced with Amal concentrics with round air filters; in light of this, the factory reverted back to the concentric carburetors in '67.
The small two-gallon fuel tank seen on the example featured here was designed for the U.S. market in response to the popularity of the Harley Sportster's "peanut" gas tank.
*EDIT* Broken link, similar photo added in below post.

If I were to have found THAT I would have suffered a heart attack and not be able to post here today ;)
Here is what mine currently looks like after her first bath in a LOOOOOONG time yesterday.

*EDIT* Huh, more broken links here too... see below post for the imbedded pics

Now this particular bike has had it's engine swapped at some point with a A65L Lightning lump, with it's compression down to a more manageable 9:1 than the Spitfires original 10:1 unit. Meaning I can run todays standard fuel instead of feeding it only premium, also the head now has a single carb intake manifold. So the twin Amals have been replaced with a single 930 Concentric unit. Again, easier to keep a tune and suitable for a "rider" status. I also found it has a Boyer-Bransden contactless ignition installed adding it's reliability but defiantly not OEM. It is still sporting the factory Borrani aluminum rwheels.
With the tank and side covers being fiberglass, it has it plus and minuses. The PO repainted them but the original red and white scheme was a thick gel-coat. The "Star" logo on the tank is actually recessed and still apparent on mine. So I have hopes that the original finish is intact and salvageable on all pieces. I'll source some fiberglass safe stripper and see if I can restore them.
Now there is a tricky word... "restore"... with this bike NOT being a numbers matching original and with the above mentioned changes, it makes it a little easier on my decision to Cafe' this bike. HOWEVER there will be no cutting or chopping of ANY salvagable parts. Instead I am going for a period correct Clubman version. The way I feel would please not only our tastes, yet not have a mob of descriminating purests outside my shop with torches, pitchforks and axe-handles.
The rear fender is cracked at the bottom so I will be trimming that, yet still be able to retain the beautiful Lucas tail light. I would like to find a front fender either with, or add a "pedestrian slicer" plate bracket. I've begun sourcing a larger UK spec Spitfire tank complete with knee dents in the original red and will add the ivory coves of the original paint scheme, then a simple set of cluban bars. I have always loved the shape of the stock seat, but have seen there is a factory style clubman bum-stop being reproduced that may very well be in the future. But top on the list is being able to swap back to run the original for two up riding.
Here is my vision straight from the BSA archives.

*EDIT* GODDAMNIT! I think this is the one that screwed them all... Nothing to see here either!

If you've stayed with me this long, in keeping with my trend of Motorhead titles, but wanting this to be a serious attempt at a period correct Café I and naming it "Stay Clean". ;)

*EDIT* Should be a YOU-TUBE link here... WTF! PFFFT I guess "See below" one last time


Kickstart, shift on right, drum brakes and spokes
Let me be first in line to "stand, sip and stare" at your beautiful BSA build thread.


New Member
I've always liked these bikes, but thought that the tanks looked like they were from a smaller bike. Something just doesn't "click". I would love one of these with an alloy tank. ; )


You can always get it running with time or money.
Wow, that's a nice looking bike! Is it really as clean and intact as it looks in the pictures? To me it looks like you could clean the carb, fill the tank, and go for a ride!


New Member
HD, I'm so stoked you got that bike!

Was following your "I found a BSA, and ain't telling where" thread.... :)

Awesome find, and I cant wait to see you revive her!

Hoosier Daddy

Earache my eye...
Heh heh, Non of you are as stoked about this as I am!
Now, I really don't understand what's happened to the pic links in the 1st post. I have tried repeatedly to correct them and even contacted Tim to find out what was wrong but he was at a loss as well. So I am going to try and make an amendment here.

This is what the bike looked like from the factory...

Here is mine after the wash, and rinse. No, she's not as pristine as she looks in the photos. The chrome is touchy but should either clean up or get replated. The paint looks like ass. Missing items include the front fender, speedo, chaingaurd, horn... BUT she's a damn good start for $300. It was last registered and safety inspected in the state of Missouri in 1996 so it was running not too long ago.

... and here is the same bike with a bum-stop seat and the UK spec tank.

Now just add some ivory colored coves at the knee dents, and a pedestrian slicer!


Hoosier Daddy

Earache my eye...
Ahhhh that's better.

4eyes said:
I've always liked these bikes, but thought that the tanks looked like they were from a smaller bike. Something just doesn't "click". I would love one of these with an alloy tank. ; )
I know what you mean 4eyes, I feel the exact same way. Something like this bike perhaps? I saw it at a vintage car show back in '09 and been kickin myself for not buying it every since.

Would be nice but I really want to stick with the UK cafe' of the time theme I am set on...

So now that the linkys are working Here's the complimentary "bike build theme song". ;D



Im so envious, but thats to be expected. Isnt it amazing how well Motorhead and bikes go together?

Hoosier Daddy

Earache my eye...
Now knowing it is in fact the bike isa '67 by the A65SA**** With this engine being A65L****, going by this SPREADSHEET I beieve it to be a 66 Lightning lump.
When I first got her, I had pulled the plugs and sprayed PB Blaster penetrant in the cylinders. When I turned it over whith the kicker I could see shiney pistons(!) I peered down in with a flash light and can make out 040 stampped ontop of both pistons. So I know the PO has had this engine apart and at least tried to rebuild it.
Yesterday I spent some quality time with her again. I really should be focusing on the CB750 build but this Beezah keeps whispering in my ear. I pulled the battery and tried to awaken it out of it's slumber with no success, it never came above 8V. So a new AGM one will be bought for the Zook and the original wet cell will pushed into service as a shop test battery.
The PO had installed an inline fuse holder with a 5A spade fuse in the negative battery wire and it pulled right out of the butt connector he had used. I HATE crimp-on connectors and this haness is full of them. Spades, rings, butt and scotch-locks used. :mad:
So at that point I started blindly tracing the wiring. The spade teminal on the right coil was loose so I snugged it down, but until I get a wiring diagram I do not want to start replacing what he has done. I was able to find online the .pdf instruction sheet from Boyer on the ignition system. I won't have any problem "hot wiring" the ignition switch without a key, it only has two terminals to jump across and the power feed in only has one wire so I can do that in my sleep.
So onto the mechanicals... Even though there is fuel in the tank, both of the petcocks are stuck closed, so I will need to get them free'ed up to drain the tank. I cut off the rock hard fuel lines to the carb and removed the float-bowl without tearing the gasket (BONUS!). It still had liquid varnished old thick fuel in it! A little spray carb cleaner and it came clean as also did the main jet and all the passages that I could get to.
Now the cylinders, I had cycled it over several times with the penetrant in, I put a squirt of motor oil in each and it is moving freely. Compression test at first on the right side only had 70psi, then when I moved to the left side I realized I hadn't opened the throttle. Doing that yeilded 125 on the left, then back to the right and that time reached 120. WHEW!


New Member
Awesome! Dont forget though, its supposed to leak, its a british bike! If its not leaking oil, it must be empty haha

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