Ghosts aplenty at Vintage Club of WA’s annual Cannington swap meet

CAPTION: In these days of 400kmh Kawasaki H2Rs, computer-controlled fuelling and fly-by-wire throttles, it's difficult to imagine a world in which motorcycles were a new product. There doesn't seem to be a universally accepted date for the creation of the first motorcycle because they just kinda evolved, as it were, from bicycles. But it's fair to say motorbikes were 'invented' just before the start of the 20th Century. That said, this American made Reading Standard (from Reading, Pennsylvania) which dates back to about 1914, is no more than 20 years on from the very first motorbikes, and certainly one of the first that was commercially available. Reading Standards were made from 1903 to 1922. We loved the 'fresh-off-Noah's-ark' patina.

I KNOW it’s macabre, but as I wandered around the paddock at the Vintage Motorcycle Club of WA’s annual swap meet in Cannington today, I couldn’t help but think of that awesome scene from world-dominating TV series Game of Thrones when tens of thousands of reanimated corpses come back to life and storm the Wilding camp.

Sorry if you’re not a Game of Thrones tragic (there’s not many of you left, you know), but I’m sure you get the drift — huge numbers of dead folks coming back to life.

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But there it was. From stall to stall and trailer to trailer, ghosts of motorcycles-past floated above the crowd. There were body parts and corpses everywhere. Carburettors, frames, fenders; some as old as my kids, some as old as my father, some almost as old as my long-departed grandfather, strewn across the paddock like the aftermath of some Armageddonic battlefield, just waiting for their inevitable Jon Snow moment.

And inside the exhibition centre, the undead were on display — living proof that motorcyclic reincarnation is not only possible but, thanks to events like the swap meet, almost inevitable. Hundred-year-old BSAs and Douglases from Britain and at least one Reading Standard from the USA, brought back to life after decades in rusty tombs, stood proud and strong.

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Many bikes were not yet a hundred years old, and had not yet gone to their graves. Seemingly endless BSAs, ranging from B50MX and Victor dirt bikes to Gold Stars, had not been reincarnated at all; they just keep refusing to die.

We took a bunch of pics and tried not to spook ourselves.

CAPTION: K-model BSA dates back to 1915. She runs a 4.5hp, 557cc engine and a three speed gearbox. BSA made their own carbs back then, not very well apparently, so this one owned and restored by Dave Summers runs an Amal instead. Dave told us the bike was pulled together from many parts and took him three years. (That’s Dave on the right.) Surprisingly, the most difficult part to source was the front fender. Model K BSAs did a lot of service during the First World War, just as WLA Harleys did 30-odd years later in WWII.

CAPTION: A better shot of Dave’s Model K. “I’ve over-cooked it a little,” he told us. “They never had this much chrome.”

CAPTION: Like an exhumed graveyard, the paddock was strewn with body parts.

CAPTION: Stunning XS650 Yamaha was for sale. Good thing I didn’t have the wife’s Visa on me.


CAPTION: One of many great old BSAs; not reincarnated, just immortal.


CAPTION: And another.


CAPTION: And a couple more, keeping company with a Rickman-framed Triumph (we think). G’day Pat.


CAPTION: Just waiting for the nod from the Night King to rise from the dead.


CAPTION: Another Rickman frame, this one housing a Royal Enfield.

CAPTION: “Who rode this one, Dad?” “Noah, I think.”


CAPTION: Perth bike restorers look forward to the VMCWA swap meet with understandable enthusiasm. It’s the event that flushes out more old bits than any other.


CAPTION: And more.


CAPTION: Cute as a button.


CAPTION: Little old Guzzi was spotless.


CAPTION: The show and shine indoors brought out lots of feisty Brits.


CAPTION: The Yale is another early American motorcycle manufacturer, dating back to 1896. Being a twin, this one must be 1910 or later. Yale gave up on bikes early into WWII when it realised there was more money to be made in guns.

CAPTION: BSA had world champion success in motocross with Jeff Smith aboard a BSA Victor. Smith’s 1964 and ’65 world titles encouraged the company to release a road-going version of the Victor. This one dates 1970. (There’s an MX’er for sale in our ‘Bikes For Sale‘ section.)

Meanwhile, up the hill in Lesmurdie …

CAPTION: The first Lesmurdie Motorcycle Club Muster and Bike Show was held today too. A modest number of clubs made the trip up the hill. The Vintage Enduro Club display included a couple of fit-looking PE Suzukis, several tasty Husqvarnas, and this CanAm 250.


1 Comment on "Ghosts aplenty at Vintage Club of WA’s annual Cannington swap meet"

  1. Thank you Peter for Summerizing the Day at Cannington. I was selling, so your overview was welcome 👍🏍😎Cheers, Mike Finn (aka BSA scrambler Retro Show – Freo 2016!)

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