I have helped sort out the aftermath of some disastrous purchases from the Internet. I would like to offer some advice from my experience to help you purchase a classic BSA motorcycle with reasonable confidence. This advice also relates to private purchases.
Some of you would be experienced in restoring motorcycles and know all the pit falls, especially with basket cases. This information is for those who may need assistance with their purchase. Keep in mind that you will have to spend some money to bring the motorcycle up to your expectations.
(1) Once you decide on a purchase, be it a basket case or ride-able, make contact with the owner to assess if what is advertised is correct. Basket cases (dismantled motorcycles) are always a risk because parts do go missing, especially tin ware and those are the hardest parts to find.
(2) Ask if the bike has a history regarding repairs over the years and especially if it has been recently restored. The file should have all receipts for the repairs carried out.
(3) Has the bike been licensed and warranted or, are things on hold? When was the bike last licensed? Remember that there will be hassles if the bike has been in storage for many years with equipment regulations that may apply to new registrations.
(4) Be aware if the owner has stripped and assembled the bike himself as an enthusiastic amateur. You will often find many metric nuts and bolts in place of the originals. Painted parts often are a make over and sometimes are never removed from the bike. Over spray on wiring is a ‘tell tale’ sign.
(5) If you don’t get satisfactory answers to all of your questions be wary and be prepared to offer at least $2000 below advertised cost or ensure that you don’t bid too high until you can have someone with experience look at it for you to make an assessment.
(6) If your heart is set on a particular bike that is in some other part of the country contact the Membership Secretary. We have on file members who may be able to have a look at the bike for you and, advise you on the condition .
(7) If possible go for a test ride or get someone to do it for you.
(8) Once you have bought your BSA, make sure you get a purchase receipt.
(9) To assist with lapsed registrations the Vintage Car Club of NZ is approved to issue an “ID Card or Historic Motor Vehicle Date of Manufacture & Authenticity Statement” to prove that the bike is in fact authentic. They can assist with lighting exemptions for indicators, stoplights, and even headlights, depending on the age of the motorcycle. This service is free to VCC members while non-members are charged a fee. The forms are available at http://www.vcc.org.nz/hm_vic.html . It is a good idea to make contact with the local Vintage Car Club as you send the forms to them and they make the assessment. Once you have this documentation there will no problems with getting a VIN, WOF and registration.
(10) A police check to ensure that the motorcycle has not been stolen.
The New Zealand BSA Owner's Club can advise on restoration of magnetos and carburetors as well as engine repairs, wiring looms, chroming, painting etc. Help is only a phone call away if you are a club member.
The golden rule is not to rush into anything that you may regret later on. Enjoy your purchase, BSA's were made to ride.
Former Membership Secretary