1955 Sunbeam S8. 500cc in-line twin cylinder, dry clutch, shaft drive, rubber engine mounts. All alloy engine, cylinder head, gearbox castings, and silencer. Black paintwork with hand applied gold stripes. Duplex frame with plunger rear suspension. Unwarranted mileage.
Frame number : S8-82** Matching engine and gearbox numbers.
My history with this motorcycle .. which called ‘Hovis’ (.. like the traditional bakery advert) :
According to the previous owner, a Mr John Milne of Stoke-on-Trent, in Staffordshire. The bike was "fully restored by Stewart Engineering in 1992, with very little use since".
According to DVLA records I am this bike’s third owner. Clearly the bike had been restored some time before I bought it, as it was in very-fair condition, albeit unused for 18 years. The front mudguard is fibreglass, but all other parts are correct as original in steel, including the tool box and air filter cover. NB. I include an un-restored steel mudguard with this sale.
At that time of purchase I had another Sunbeam S8 ‘Nudge’ and two other motorcycles, and I never used this one. My intent was to restore this bike while I rode another, and then to swap and ride this Sunbeam while I restored my other. Accordingly, the motor was rebuilt through the following months - please see many photos < - details above >
As part of that restoration I rebuilt the engine, which sounded OK but was leaking oil (so new seals were needed). New parts from Stewart Engineering included:
Chain - timing.
Clutch - Bushed clutch pressure plate.
Clutch - Ring clutch pressure plate.
Bush - Half time gear.
Oil scraper ring.
Big end shells - set of four halves.
Con rod nuts - Split pin - set 4.
Rocker arm bush - set 4.
Big end bolt - set 4.
Big-end bolt nut - set 4.
Valve guide - phosphor bronze - set 4.
Oil pressure relief valve.
Gasket set - Full engine / gearbox.
Copper Cylinder head gasket.
Gasket set - Drive unit.
Seal - rear main.
Seal - dynamo cap.
Engine breather mod (with vent).
And then from other sources :
The pistons are good condition used-parts with 7. 2:1 compression ratio.
new Hepolite piston rings.
new Fibre washers.
new assorted fastenings.
new assorted o-rings.
new Spark plugs.
new HT leads.
Amal 624 carburettor
The Engine machining was done by Stotford Engineering Ltd., And this included :
All parts dissembled, inc Head.
Clean and Aqua-blast all castings.
Remove & check valves & seat's condition.
Mains bearing made to fit (Phosphorous Bronze).
True (& tolerance-fit) big end shells, including re-trueing con-rod ends.
Re-bush ohc pillion gear.
Regrind rocker spindle.
Rocker spindle bushes to match.
Oil pump - skim to min tolerance.
Other work done included :
Removing forging flash and rough grinding off rocker arms and con-rods.
Additional tunnel clearance around the timing chain.
Re-facing all gasket faces.
Replacing the very crude gauze oil filter with a modern disposable element type.
As a Design Engineer (subsequently retired) I did these modifications myself and reassembled the whole with great care - for myself.
But then, in September 2012 'Nudge’s motor started to rattle badly ! So the easiest thing to do was to put the recently rebuilt engine into 'Nudge', and then I could rebuild the engine from 'Nudge' at my convenience. NB. I did not use 'Hovis’ gearbox in that bike.
Subsequently (until last month) this engine was used in the frame of my Nudge my daily commute. On this Sunbeam I holidayed down to Dorset, traveling just for fun from across country my home in Suffolk - without going on any motorway or dual carriageway. Unfortunately, the following year I was made redundant and I took the opportunity to retire early. As a result I had had no commute ! That engine has done about 2000 miles since it was rebuilt.
I'm now prepared to let Hovis go to a new home. But first I needed to refit its original (but rebuilt) engine. And so this was the first part of the bike’s recent reconditioning.
What have I done, re. this recommissioning ?
Refitted the engine and its gearbox (matching numbers) into Hovis’ frame.
Addressed an oil weep from the camshaft front cover.
Correctly set-up the engine mounts.
Topped up engine, gearbox and rear-drive oils.
Corrected an ignition misfire (caused by previously incorrectly fitted HT leads).
Adjusted the carburetion (I run the carb a little rich while running-in and now this is done I could drop the needle one notch).
Rebuilt the forks with new seals & oil. The bearings were good.
Replaced the steering's head-race bearings for new.
Replaced the drive-shaft seal into the rear drive.
Dismantled the driveshaft to clean and properly re-grease its spline.
Replaced the gearbox input-shaft seal.
Cleaned out and sealed the fuel tanks with POR-15.
Chemically cleaned the petrol filters.
Replaced the fuel tap's sealing-corks.
Reworked the bike’s electrical wiring, correcting faults and re-wrapping the insulation, added wiring security. I corrected the length of wires and used soldered connectors.
Added two additional earth leads and a fuse holder.
Fitted x2 gel batteries.
Correctly adjusted the brakes, front and rear.
Replaced the headlamp reflector and bulbs for new.
Re-chromed the handlebar levers.
Re-greased brake linkages, drive shaft UK, and other frame parts. Lubricated other linkages and cables.
Hovis is now taxed and road legal. All back together and running nicely. DVLA has recently changed the V5 (the registration document is in my name) to reflect this motorcycle’s ‘historic vehicle’ tax rating, at an annual cost of £-zero (in the UK). This age of motorcycle is also MOT exempt.
A previous owner or dealer, must have sold this motorcycle’s original registration number (in 1992 - reallocate to another vehicle) and so the DVLA issued ‘HVS 655’ as a 1955 (age related) number. I don't have issues with this because 'Hovis' is a great name for a 1950's motorcycle.
The dual seat is now unusual on these bikes, as the standard specification was a single sprung saddle. However a huge number of Sunbeams were so modified by owners in the 1950’s and 60’s because at that time motorcycles were daily transport for couples. I’m not sure but I believe Sunbeam even offered the dual seat as an option.
Although I find the sprung single seat a much softer ride - this bike feels really taught with its fixed seat .. quite a revelation after being used to riding these bikes with their flexing seats! And I also really like this bike's looks. The space under the seat is really very useful for a small-holdall or wet-weather overall, and visually is soon unnoticed.
By the way : a standard single saddle can be bought new for around £65 and used ones (with patina) are sold at half that price.
UK Tax and MOT exempt, and low cost classic motorcycle insurance. This bike starts easily, runs well with good pulling. The battery charges well with the dynamo in good order and everything works correctly lights, horn, brake-light, warning lights, etc. The speedo is erratic and that may be the instrument needs reconditioning after 63 years or else it needs another cable.
I ought to emphasis, this bike is not concourse. In particular the paint on the tank is not very good, and some of the chrome-work leaves something to be desired .. but from just two or three paces away - it does look smart, and would make a fine bike to simply ride and enjoy. And if the buyer is looking for an investment, then a motorcycle in this cosmetic condition may be systematically improved. I’m sure within five years with paint and chrome restored - this Sunbeam S8 will be worth twice its current price.
So that’s it. Clearly 'Hovis' is something special and is now looking for a kind new home.
Please see the photos on Dropbox, the link given above.
If interested the feel free to give me a call on the details below or the details below. Thank you.
For non-UK residents : I live near the container shipping port of Felixstowe. I will of course assist any shipping agent. This is also near the ferry Port of Harwich, which is very convenient to/ from the Netherlands. If a buyer wishes to come across as a foot passenger by ferry then I will of course be glad to meet them and show them this fine motorcycle. Sorry I only speak English, but Google has a very useful translator. There is a keen following for these Sunbeams in Germany, Norway, Portugal, and Australia. The spares service from Stewart Engineering supports these owners very well.
This advert has now been removed through sale or otherwise.
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