The last posting about the restoration of our 1961 TR5A/C was in April. At that time, we reported that our engine had been completely rebuilt by Leroy Turner in El Paso and our chroming and powder coating were complete. The only major remaining issue was sourcing a new rear fender because our original had been shortened at some point.
Here are pictures of our starter bike and what it is supposed to look like when complete (note: tank and badges shown in promotional photo were changed after start of production)...
As we reported in our previous posting, the fenders from Randy Baxter (Baxter Cycle in Marne, Iowa) and Greg Bidou (T100 Toymakers in Connecticut) didn’t work out. Our only remaining option was to lengthen our original. Fortunately, Greg Bidou had been able to measure our existing fender and tell us exactly how much had been cut. We needed to find a way to “manufacture” the last few inches of the fender and make it look as it did from the factory.
Early in June, we transported the parts for the TR5A/C from Arizona to Seattle and then delivered them to Dave Wedlake a week later. Before assembly could start, however, Dave had to figure out a solution to the fender problem. Dave knew there was no way anyone could satisfactorily replicate the raised rib on our original. His only hope was to find a “donor” fender that could be cut so the end could be welded onto ours. Fortunately, Dave has a tremendous stock of parts he has accumulated over the years and he was able to find a fender with exactly the correct dimensions. This solution would mean the destruction of a very valuable old fender but there really wasn’t another option … assuming Dave could find someone who could cut and weld the two parts together and make it look like the original fender.
A few weeks later, Dave called to say he had found just the person we needed … a young man in Portland who was very capable of doing what we needed to have done. The fender work took a while to be completed, but just recently Dave sent pictures of the completed fender. Although it still needs to be cleaned up and properly prepared for paint, the work is excellent and will appear as original after all the paint work is done.
Here is what it looks like …
Earlier this month, Dave sent me an update on the assembly of the bike. It is on the bench, assembled and awaiting paint. Dave was even able to source the very difficult to find brake switch that goes on this model.
Here are some pictures he sent us. Notice the original Dunlop Trials Universal front tire we were provided by Leroy Turner.
Recently, however, Dave reported that another problem has popped up. It seems our TR5A/C originally came with a lifting handle that supported the rear fender. We knew that part was missing and replaced by a pair of homemade brackets to support the rear fender when we bought our bike in 2008. Trying to source the correct lifting handle as described in the TR5A/C parts manual proved to be unsuccessful.
Although Greg Bidou had an original lifting handle from his own TR5A/C, understandably he wasn’t prepared to sell us such a rare part.
Dave Wedlake and I talked over the problem at length. We both suspected that the lifting handle on all of the ’61 models may the same part, but with different part numbers. The only way to confirm our suspicion was to source a lifting handle for another ‘61 and see if it matched up with the original that Greg Bidou owns.
We found parts numbers for the other ‘61s but unfortunately our regular parts supplier was out of stock or didn’t carry any of them. We were lucky to find a lifting handle for a 650 that looked correct on the British Only website. It was a bit pricey at $114, but we decided it was our only option and bought it.
We had it shipped to Greg Bidou in Connecticut to see if it matched up with his. Greg received the part and happily reported that it matched up (within manufacturing tolerances, of course) to the original he has on hand. Greg sent lifting handle to me look at and after I confirmed it was of the quality that we wanted on this restoration, I sent it on to Dave Wedlake.
Dave just reported it matches up well with the “new” fender and is likely the same part that originally came on the TR5A/C but with a different part number.
Chrono gauges were rebuilt by Garry Chitwood and turned out beautifully. So now we have all of the parts for the TR5A/C and Dave only needs to paint the tank and fenders to complete our restoration.
We knew this would be a more difficult restoration than normal. With considerable effort devoted to research, mixed in with a bit of patience, it all came together.
We should be able to pick the completed bike up in Portland this spring. After that we will photograph it and add the pictures to the photo album.
Here are the previous postings about the TR5A/C.