1949

As you can see, only a few notes have been published in 1949. I’m still slogging through the mid-1920s so won’t reach the ’40s any time soon. But I’m including the following story, from Poland, because it’s too good not to share. Smacznego!

THE MSS (MOTOCYKL STANISŁAW SKURA) was an extraordinary motor cycle handmade by Polish genius Stanisław Skura. He worked at a military airbase and clearly made good use of his access to equipment and materials, particularly aluminium. Power was provided by a V-twin engine with a capacity of some 4,500cc (yes, really. Skura wasn’t messing about). It drove through a three-speed box and was designed for eight passengers including the driver (three on the bike, two in the sidecar and three standing on the rear platform). Word has it (on a Polish enthusiasts’ site, and they should know) that the authorities were impressed enough that they wanted to buy the MSS1 but Skura didn’t want to sell the beast until it was legally registered in his name. The cops retaliated by ordering its destruction on the grounds that he’d used military equipment and parts including cylinders (from generator sets), conrods, gears, magneto, headlight, carbs, wheels and tyres (from aircraft), bearings, etc. Many of these parts dated from the Nazi occupation. So I reckon that was a pieprzona hańba. It seems he might well have got away with taking the MSS apart and reassembling it when the heat died down. But, like so many motor cycle obsessives, that wasn’t his style. Skura lost his rag and smashed it with a hammer in front of the Security Service men. Years later he melted down the aluminium and used it cast components for another project, the MSS500. For more on that turn to 1957.

1949 MSS COMBO 1
That front wheel looks like it started life on the back of an aircraft…
1949 MSS COMBO 2
Room for eight, and power for many more!
1949 MSS COMBO 3
Aluminium as far as the eye can see…

BSA launched the first post-war Gold Star but it wasn’t a 500. The original Goldie was based on the 498cc Empire Star but the ZB32 Gold Star was based on the 348cc B31 so this was a Goldie 350, complete with teles and optional plunger rear suspension. It was primarily designed as a competition mount.

The Royal Artillery formed a motorcycle display team and mounted them on Matchless G3s (later replaced by BSA Gold Stars).

The first motorcycle appeared with the Honda name on the tank: the 3hp, 98cc D-Type Honda Dream.

The FIM established the World Motorcycle Road Racing Championships, initially with six rounds and classes for 125, 250, 350 and 500cc. The opening round of the new series was the TT.

This was the year that the new breed of 500cc vertical twins grew to 650s, primarily for the Stateside market. Triumph was first out of the gate, followed by BSA, where Bert Hopwood redesigned the Val Page ‘longstroke’ A7 as the A10 Golden Flash.

Moto Guzzi supercharged and streamlined one of its 250cc racers, bolted on a sidecar andworks rider Cavanna piloted it along the Milana autostrada at better than 209km/h (130mph).