Thursday, 27 April 2017

Colin Seeley: 1968 Racing Machines

The following is a short blog based on a period catalogue from Colin Seeley Racing Developments Ltd. In it are described the racing machines that are on offer for the 1968 racing season.

Colin Seeley purchased the manufacturing rights for the AMC racing models in October 1966. He also purchased all the existing stock, jigs, spares and drawings for the AJS 7R/Matchless G50 and 350-40M/500-30M Norton manx machines and started to produce his own 7R/G50 engined race bikes.


The basis of these machines was a lightweight frame conceived and built by Colin and his team at Belvedere, Kent. As both the 7R and G50 were of the same external dimensions, a common frame would be used for both in the 350/500 capacity classes. The frame shown in the catalogue is Colin’s original design, now commonly known as the MK1. However he was far more than a frame-maker and was rightly classed as a motorcycle manufacturer in his own right. He produced an improved version of the Norton Roadholder fork, dispensing with the often troublesome pinch-clamp on the NS stanchion and generally beefing up the design. He designed and built his own hubs and brakes, along with all the ancillary fibreglass bodywork required to complete the bike.


Clearly he bought in many other components like carburettor, magneto, rev-counter and Girling rear dampers. He was also initially an agent for Schafleitner 5/6 speed gearboxes, before going on to market his own PGT racing gearbox.

So how much did all this lot cost?

Well that is interesting. In 1968 you could avoid paying Purchase Tax on a vehicle if it was supplied in ‘kit-form’. Clearly this form of purchase was attractive to both the hard-up racer and to many low-volume manufactures. Most racing machines were in fact bought in this way. However, as George Harrison so eloquently put it in his song ‘Taxman’, Harold Wilson was having none of it and promptly closed that loop-hole.


Looking at the brochure there were many options as to how you could purchase your new machine. Whether it be a bare frame, a completely assembled bike or something in between, Colin would supply the necessary parts.


Looking back now it all looks exceeding good value.

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