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HomeNEWSfamily uncover secret collector's 21 motorcycles

family uncover secret collector's 21 motorcycles

A Medway Kent-based motorcycle enthusiast managed to secrete 21 machines in his garage, garden shed and cellar, unknown to his family. The collection of bikes will be sold on 30 July by H&H Classics at the National Motorcycle Museum.

After the secret collector’s death, his family were amazed to discover the perfectly documented and hidden treasure trove. The bikes were found under a variety of covers and include a BMW with Steib side-car, six 1950s Autocycles that the district nurse would have used around the villages, and his pride and joy – a Velocette Le Vogue motorbike (pictured).

          Perfect paperwork

The family admits that their father was a bit unusual: “Our dad was a little eccentric.? An HGV driver by trade, a collector and craftsman at heart and a  hoarder by nature – but an incredibly organised one!”

His daughter says: “It is very sad to see all these bikes and paraphernalia leave their hiding places and go off to be sold. Dad was a clever, honest and incredibly interesting man and you never knew what to expect. – he’s still surprising us now!”

“When dad died and we started to sort through his paperwork we found a file of logbooks for motorbikes. Growing up, we knew he’d had a passion for them and spent his 40s and 50s restoring a few and that there were a couple in the garage, wrapped under blankets but in this file we found 21 envelopes!”

“They were labelled with engine numbers, reg numbers and with V5Cs inside along with the older V5s and each envelope contained the interesting additional paperwork for each bike; original registration documents, purchase receipt, repair receipts, petrol coupons and any scrap of paper with any relevance to the bike. We couldn’t believe there could be 21 bikes at home as we just hadn’t seen them and so the hunt began.”

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In the garage, there was one obvious bike under a blanket, and they knew the combination BMW and Steib sidecar was tucked behind some hanging curtains, but as they dug a little further and pulled covers off, they found three more motorbikes snuggled under wraps.

A combination and four other bikes were in a little garden shed stashed behind some other normal garden items and a couple of pushbikes. And in another shed they found six more.

So with 13 found they were beginning to scratch their heads as to where the other eight could be. They emptied the smaller shed and found that there was an extra bike stacked in behind one of the others.

Another was found under a tarp in the garden – it had been there for some 30 years and nobody in the family had taken any notice of it and hadn’t ever even questioned what it was.

In the cellar, which had some benches, small tools and pots of paint on shelves, they dragged out a workbench and found two autocycles tucked behind it, and completely covered in wood-shavings and dust. 

The last five bikes were harder to find, eventually discovered in the garage, that they’d already searched once. These missing ones were found pushed up against the walls of the garage, hidden under blankets and sheets of plywood, pieces of wood, old pipes and radiators and all sorts of other general garage detritus.

Mark Bryan of H&H Classic Bike Department says: “The restored bikes have been properly laid-up on blocks to protect their wheels/tyres, some engines/gearboxes drained, spark leads disconnected. Even the unrestored projects were all carefully wrapped up to protect them from any further degradation and preserve them in their original condition.”

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