This month I have holidays and time away from my workshop this is not all bad news as there are (or should be) a lot of considerations when building a replica like a Grey Flash. First off there were only around 30 real ones made and allowing for the development bikes which were raced earlier, the inevitable artists impressions, and chromed show models, then add the fact that as they were racers they were quickly modified or even ordered modified from the factory. Add a few successful early comet racers/road versions and Surtees specials and you begin to realize that the details of the original specification are (dare I say it?) a bit Grey. Whatever you come up, the teeth sucking, “Weeell” and other disparaging noises made at the first public showing had better be anticipated. I also need to think hard about what it will be used for, being already the owner of a Comet raced for 40 odd years and still in harness, I am not about to duplicate it and do a David Dunfey and make it ultra competitive. Nor would I restore a perfect replica of an original that could not be ridden safely and reliably on a track day or parade. Here are my outline decisions I will not initially fit a kickstart that cast Albion end plate looks a treat I plan to get a daylight MOT, and get it registered with a age related Number (Hope the DVLA keep regional offices) and I plan that my number plate, bicycle speedo, horn and silencer will be easily removable for track use. To offset a pitiful broadband, mobile coverage that sucks, and horrendous travel costs, there are a few advantages to living in the country, most obvious is that I can still ride in 1950 traffic levels out of my gate (not at 8:30 in the morning though!). I do not have a clutch or a full engine shock but Bob Newby tells me he can supply a belt drive and one of his clutches to fit the Albion box. A belt has been such an improvement on the racer since fitment, and as it will all be hidden inside the standard chain case its a certain purchase. Tyre sizes are a problem the most original size would seem to be 21” front and 20” rear. That’s a little difficult to find in good race rubber nowadays. However I decided that I shall not descend to the perfect solution (According to Ben) as fitted on the Comet e.g.: twin 18” AM23 racer tyres. After due consideration and consultation with a clever man at Avons, I have decided to compromise with 20” front and 19” rear in Avon racing compound. Whilst I will look for unobtanium Dunlop or Borrani rims a couple of Morad rims with a traditional look will do, if it comes to it. Good old MPH (And a guiding hand from John Kinley and Bill Parr who told me where to look), has given me all the drawings for brakes and gearchange and Ron Holmes came up with a donor bent and rusty brake pedal to modify. Since the main components are already painted in goose grey (BS4800 00A05) I was neatly empowered to side step the “Was it grey-green or was it grey ? “ argument. (My guess it was whatever was left from the last MOD contract in the Stevenage paint store). I have cleared the bench and set up an engine/bike stand so let work commence.
The Blog Oldracers posts - Grey Flash Diary Dec 2011