1965 BSA Lightning

HIGHLIGHTS

• Comprehensively restored in 2019
• History confirmed by the BSA Owners Club
• Stunning Candy Apple red and chrome coachwork

THE BACKGROUND

The Lightning was a 650cc motorcycle built by BSA in Birmingham between 1965 and 1972. It was designed as an all-round sports bike, predominantly for export to the US market.

It was fitted with a development of BSA’s 650cc engine, design to make it more reliable, easier and more tractable to ride. It’s popularity in the UK and the US was helped in no small part by its starring role in the 1965 James Bond film ‘Thunderball’.

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THE HISTORY

This particular bike was built by BSA in 1965 as an A65 Lightning Rocket and immediately exported to BSA’s agent in Nutley, New Jersey, USA. It remained there until Jan 2019, when it was imported back into the UK as a project by the previous owner. 

Over the next few months, the bike was significantly restored to a very high standard before being registered for the road in the UK in October 2019. The current owner took possession of it in July 2020 and is only selling it as their health no longer allows them to ride it.

As a historic vehicle, it should be noted that this bike is tax and MOT exempt.

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THE PAPERWORK

Alongside the bike is a large file of documentation. Included is the V5 and many receipts/invoices from the restoration. These outline just how much attention was paid to getting the bike back into top condition, with many invoices for all sorts of little brackets, fasteners and gaskets that many people would not bother to change. Amongst the paperwork is the letter of authenticity from the BSA Owners Club, as well as the import documentation.

The current owner has also tracked down a number of very interesting items that come with the bike. These include the original sale booklet and an original owners workshop manual.

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THE EXTERIOR

BSA’s Lightning has always been a pretty motorbike, and in this specification it really is stunning. From the Candy Apple Red paintwork, to the chrome brightwork and jewel-like tank badges, every inch of the bike has been restored to exceptional condition.

The black saddle leather has been renewed, as have the handlebars, grab-bar, tank, wheels and many other parts. The end result is a bike that is an absolute showstopper.

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THE MECHANICS

BSA wanted the Lightning to be a usable everyday sports bike, and the mechanicals reflect this. Powered by a torquey 654cc OHV parallel twin that pushes out 52bhp through a 4-speed gearbox, allowing the Lightning to reach a claimed top speed of 112mph, the Lightning is a relatively simple but reliable bike.

Having been significantly restored mechanically as well as aesthetically, the bike runs well and the owner tells us it is in perfect working order, having covered very few miles during their ownership. Hauling the bike to a stop are meaty drum brakes, 8-inch at the front and 7-inch at the rear.

The work that has been carried out is clearly of a high quality and should give the new owner real confidence that this is a bike that should give them many years of reliable and enjoyable motorcycling.

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THE APPEAL

If you’re a fan of classic British motorbikes, you don’t need us to tell you why the Lightning holds such appeal. From the fantastic styling to the meaty twin-cylinder powerplant and comfortable ride, the Lightning is everything you could want from a 60s sports bike.

And this particular one is in brilliant condition. Having been imported from the US in 2019 and comprehensively restored with a truly meticulous eye, it’s in as good condition as any Lightning you’ll find. The restorer has done a fine job of ensuring all the mechanical aspects of the bike have been refreshed, renewed and replaced as necessary. They’ve also really gone to town on the aesthetics - visually striking in its red and chrome scheme, this is a genuine head-turner that any rider would surely be proud to own.

Lightning’s are already a sought-after bike, and they’re getting rarer by the day, especially in this kind of condition. If you’re looking for the perfect way to blast into next year’s biking season, we can’t think of many better ways of doing it than this. You certainly won’t find many bikes of this vintage in better condition. Whether you’re after a classic that you can ride pretty much every day, or something special for those sunny summer days, this gorgeous bike is the perfect answer.

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.

Please see our FAQ's here and our Terms & Conditions here

Please see our FAQs here and our Terms & Conditions here

Auction FAQs
Auction Details
  • Year 1966
  • Make BSA
  • Model A65 Lightning Rocket
  • Colour Candy Apple Red
  • Mileage 17,119 Miles
  • Engine size 650
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Caldicot
  • County Wales
  • Country United Kingdom
  • Auction ends
Bidding history
31 Bids
  • ne•••• £9,200 17/11/21
  • am•••• £9,100 17/11/21
  • ne•••• £9,000 17/11/21
  • am•••• £8,900 17/11/21
  • ne•••• £8,800 17/11/21
  • ne•••• £8,700 17/11/21
  • am•••• £8,600 17/11/21
  • ne•••• £8,500 17/11/21
  • am•••• £8,400 17/11/21
  • ne•••• £8,300 17/11/21

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