After VE Day in 1945 the British population returned enthusiastically to the road. But the cost and availability of both vehicles and fuel led to the post-war scene being dominated by motorcycles, most of them ex-military machines, eagerly snapped up for everyday use in an age when a family car remained just a dream for many. The British industry, meanwhile, was exhorted to ‘export or die’, and until well into the 1950s the majority of new British bikes were sold abroad. During this period, the industry – the largest and most important in the world – continued to develop new and exciting machines, which increasingly populated Britain’s roads.
Mick Walker tells the story of the British post-war motorcycle during this golden age of the industry. Machines from the big names, AMC (AJS and Matchless), the BSA Group (BSA, Triumph, Sunbeam and Ariel), Douglas, Norton, Panther, Royal Enfield, Velocette and Vincent, are here plus a myriad of smaller firms such as Cotton, Excelsior, Francis-Barnett, James and Scott. With the help of archive photographs and advertising material this book conjures up a lost age of the British bike.