1951 BSA Bantam Scrambler

HIGHLIGHTS


  • Scrambler-prepped Bantam 
  • Single cylinder 125cc 
  • Dry stored as part of a private collection
  • Will run with minimal attention

THE APPEAL


The BSA Bantam was one of the best-selling motorbikes in the world through most of the 1950s and was core to Britain’s “Export or Die” industrial culture, with Bantams selling in over 60 different countries. 

Yet ironically, it wasn’t a British design, It began life as the German DKW RT125 and was passed into Allied hands after World War II as reparation payment from Germany. 

Introduced in 1948, it was globally popular for a multitude of reasons. It was cheap, the 125cc single-cylinder engine was ridiculously simple to maintain and it was incredibly tough, while its long suspension travel and lightweight body made it ideal for use in developing countries where road surfaces were less than smooth. 

Those attributes also made it popular with the off-road community and the Bantam very quickly became one of the most popular bikes among the scrambler and trials bike community as a result.

This bike comes from that background – as much as part of motorcycle cultural history as it is an historic vehicle, this 1951 Bantam was converted into a scrambler at some point in its past, with the rear mudguard removed and replaced by a narrow item, and a knobbly rear tyre for off-road grip. 

The vendor bought it for nostalgic reasons but has barely used it in the seven years he has owned it, so is offering it for sale.

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THE HISTORY AND PAPERWORK


  • Current V5
  • Kept as part of private collection since 2015
  • Four owners from new
  • Kept in dry storage
  • Converted to trials spec by previous owner

THE CONDITION 


  • Charming patina
  • Kept in storage since 2015 so will need some recommissioning
  • Built to be used, not shown
  • Solid, tidy and with considerable character

If you’re in the market for an immaculate bike then this isn’t it. It’s not a shiny show machine, but it is one that oozes character from every pore, its cultural significance its greatest asset. 

From its knobbly rear tyre to the dents deliberately made in the fuel tank to allow extra steering lock from the handlebars, it’s a bike built-up by its previous owner for a specific and particular purpose. It has various marks, scrapes and small dents and the paint is tired in places, but in many ways this all adds to its charm – it’s exactly as a trials bike would have been in the 1970s, which makes it a very cool thing indeed.

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THE MECHANICS 


  • 125cc single cylinder
  • Was running when stored
  • Should require minimal work

The vendor has used the BSA once or twice since he bought it, most recently a couple of years ago, but as part of a dry-stored collection it has spent a lot of its time parked up, and will now need some light recommissioning before the single-cylinder engine runs again. 

It hasn’t been started in seven years and the battery is flat, but the vendor says it ran well when stored and shouldn’t need more than a fresh battery, some fuel, a new spark plug and maybe an oil change in order to be back up-and-running.

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SUMMARY


As much a piece of history as a collectable vehicle, this Scrambler-inspired trials bike is presented exactly as so many BSA Bantams were 40-50 years ago, which in itself should inspire a level of nostalgia. It’s a characterful and loveable machine with a unique appeal.   

Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1951
  • Make BSA
  • Model Scrambler
  • Colour Green
  • Odometer 0
  • Engine size 125
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location Sussex
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
12 bids from 8 bidders
  • Ti•••• £1,700 03/10/22
  • jo•••• £1,600 03/10/22
  • Mu•••• £1,500 03/10/22
  • jo•••• £1,400 03/10/22
  • Mu•••• £1,300 03/10/22
  • jo•••• £1,250 02/10/22
  • jo•••• £1,000 02/10/22
  • Mi•••• £900 02/10/22
  • wa•••• £800 29/09/22
  • Ni•••• £700 27/09/22

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