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Sammy Miller Museum adds more bikes

Barely a month goes by without the Sammy Miller Museum announcing new bikes for its comprehensive collection. The latest is a 1963 Victoria 155. Nicknamed the ‘Tin Banana’ when it was new (for obvious reasons) the Victoria’s space age styling was certainly eye catching in in the early ‘60s, and doubly so now – if Dan Dare rode a moped, this would have been it. The German-built Victoria was mass produced, but very few have survived.

At the other end of the performance scale, a 1950 Vincent Grey Flash has joined the collection as well. This one is a bit special, a Grand Prix bike raced by John Surtees, and believed to be a factory test machine. With four-speed Albion gearbox and twin drum brakes front and rear, the 500cc single was a competitive racer in its day.

Smaller, but just as beautifully made, are two model motorcycles, hand-built to 3.5-inch scale by Ian Glasspool. A cut above the average Airfix kit, both have intricate detailing and were winners at the Midland Model Engineering Exhibition. The 1904 Garrad Forecar, a faithful miniature of a three-wheeled veteran, is being restored in the Museum’s workshop. The other model is a 1909 Wilkinson TAC, an amazing luxury bike from the Edwardian era, with a four-cylinder air-cooled engine – fully detailed, it’s 725mm long.

Asked which of these four additions to the Miller Museum he would like at home, BMF Chair Jim Freeman was unequivocal: “it’s got to be the Grey Flash, it’s like having a Hailwood bike. Surtees was apprenticed at Vincent’s before riding for Norton. Still the only man to win world championships on two and four wheels. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore, either people or bikes.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Sammy Miller Museum