1966 BSA Spitfire

Sale price: $7400 ≈ €6225 ≈ £5625 ≈ ₿0.58 btc

Last update: date
Item location: Sussex, Wisconsin, US United States
Seller's notes: Please see the detailed ad for 100+ photos, 3 videos, and extensive details. This Spitfire is in very presentable shape for original and is well sorted mechanically. It is a get-on-and-go bike with extensive recent maintenance and sorting.
Sale type: Fixed price listing

Brand: BSA
Model: Spitfire
Year: 1966
Condition: Used
Color: Red
Mileage: 13000
Engine: 650
ID56957
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Description

1966 BSA Spitfire: Walk-Around

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1966 BSA Spitfire: Kickstart

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1966 BSA Spitfire: Riding

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Intro:

This is a 1966 BSA Spitfire MKII motorcycle that is non-restored, engine and frame numbers matching with clear title, and road worthy with much significant maintenance recently performed. Please view the three different videos, 100+ photos, and extensive information below to get a clear idea of the condition of this Spitfire. For out of state and out of country buyers, I do not mind working with you to have the Spitfire shipped.


There are three different video clips to help show the condition of this Spitfire. The walk around video has some commentary mentioning some of the maintenance performed and also showing the cosmetics. The kickstart clip shows the starting procedure and how easy the bike starts. The riding clip shows the Spitfire riding around a bit and showing that it is a dependable and roadworthy rider (please ignore the poor microphone quality on the riding clip).


Photos:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmRhtJLx


100+ photos are hosted in the Flickr album showing many details of this Spitfire. There are also some photos showing when the maintenance was performed. The photos in front of the cornfield showing the condition are from October 2020.


Intro:

The 1966 BSA Spitfire is a special motorcycle! This was BSA's top performer of the era and would be comparable to the Bonneville although being much less common in the USA. From the factory the Spitfire came with the dual carb 650CC parallel twin with 10.5:1 compression, high edge alloy rims, fiberglass fuel tank, and other details. The 1966 model year came with Amal GP carburetors which most riders removed due to them not being great for street riding. This ‘66 has instead Amal Concentrics (932 mm) that would be found on later years and makes the bike much more useable for street riding. The engine and frame number are matching which is A65S13158 (the “S” designation is for Spitfire) which is also on the clear, non-rebuilt, title.


Cosmetics:

This Spitfire is very presentable cosmetically. She is a beauty in design and condition. There is just something special about nice condition non-restored vintage machines. There is some minor and expected patina throughout but nothing that would be construed as distracting or ugly in the presentation of Spitfire. The rear fender has a crack, which would be the biggest cosmetic defect, but I am including a factory, not aftermarket, chrome Spitfire fender which I intended to install this winter if I was keeping the bike. The “new” fender can be seen in the photos and cleaned up real nice. One impressive part of this Spitfire is its fuel tank with the factory finish still present! It of course shows a few minor nicks and marks but still looks great. The bodywork I shined up with rubbing compound, then polish, then waxed it. The tank has a great reflection and glossiness to it. The deep dark red looks excellent. The side covers are in decent shape. The chrome throughout is quite presentable. The factory alloy high edge rims look sporting and will clean up nice. I did not do any polishing on them. The motor cleans up very nicely and is bright. The primary cover and timing side cover shine up nicely as does the rocker cover. The primary cover from what I understand is a year newer cover which was put on for the benefit of having the inspection cover. The frame is presentable and shows some typical patina. I am not 100% sure but it is possible the paint on the frame is original as well.


For me personally, I'd rather have a super clean original non-restored example as something is original only once and it is impressive for something of this vintage to still be this presentable. Hopefully you can tell from the photos and videos how nice this Spitfire really looks.


Mechanical and Riding:

Extensive recent maintenance has been performed this year (summer 2020)! I personally did the work. I had in mind wanting the Spitfire to ride and perform as best as it could and to be a dependable rider.


This Spitfire was in nice condition when I took ownership. As far as I know, it has always been kept in this sort of condition. The prior owner had it for a couple years, stored it inside, but did not really use it. The owner prior to him had it for 17'ish years and kept it in good running condition. That owner purchased it from the well known Baxter Cycle in Iowa around the year 2000. I do not know the history of the bike prior to that.


When I acquired the bike it was rideable and ran pretty well but needed some sorting of a few things. I could tell that the fuel mixture was off and it had incorrect jet sizes in it. I spent many hours getting the carbs very well sorted and in spec through numerous test rides. I rebuilt the carbs, put in new Amal “stay up” floats which are supposed to be better for ethanol, cleaned the filters, new gaskets, rubber “o”s for the mixture screws, thoroughly cleaned the carbs, and installed new 190 main jets and 107 pilots, while also adjusting the needle setting, balancing the carbs, and adjusting the idle. I drain the float bowls every time after riding the bike. The bike now starts very easily in one to two kicks, idles great by itself when cold or warm, and rides great throughout the RPM range and throttle positions. It pulls pretty nice towards the top end while having excellent midrange power and is quite fun. It is a pleasure to cruise at 3,500-4,000 RPM and sounds so good doing so. I put the velocity stacks on as the 1966 year Spitfire came from the factory with velocity stacks. If the new owner would rather have a nice set of air cleaners on I can put air cleaners on instead. New spark plugs were installed and a picture of the old ones is included showing that they were clean. The mufflers I believe to be actual factory original units due to the date code stamping of ‘66 on them, being straight through (apparently Spitfire mufflers are different than Lightning), and the fact that much of the rest of the bike is quite original. A Boyer electronic ignition is present. I got the timing in spec and also adjusted the valves prior to do the carb work. When adjusting the valves I also polished the rocker cover. I of course changed the oil. The gearbox oil was also changed. The gearbox shifts excellently! Neutral is easy to find. The clutch works as it should. No funny business or attention needed with the gearbox. A solidstate rectifier is present. I did put a voltmeter to check the charging system and the bike is charging properly. The headlight works as does the ammeter and ignition with key. The battery was new in 2020. New fuel line was put on.


Suspension wise the bike feels great. The front forks eventually started to leak at the seals so I took them apart, thoroughly cleaned them, installed new seals, and fresh oil. See the photos showing the work being performed. The bushings were still great so I kept the originals in. The front suspension now is great and feels proper. The steering damper works. The bearings for the fork/steering seems great. The bike goes straight down the road and there is no evidence of accidents, bent forks, or anything. The frame does not show any evidence of repair or damage and may be still the original factory applied paint. The rear suspension feels great. Both front and rear tires are new as well as the tubes. The front brakes have good shoe life left as I did inspect, clean, and adjust that when I had the front wheel off. The rear brake works great. I installed new fork gaiters and new proper original style gaiter clips (and believe to have them oriented in the correct position).


Very important to these bikes, I cleaned and sealed the factory fiberglass fuel tank with Caswell epoxy tank sealer. This is some serious stuff. The inside of the tank is now very well coated inside with a thick epoxy layer which helps preserve the tank. There were absolutely no issues or leaks from the tank prior. The petcocks look to be actual original 1966 petcocks. One seeped fuel just a bit so I took both apart and refurbished them.


When I got the bike the speedometer was working fine. It is believed that the 13,000 miles is accurate and various aspects of its condition supports it. When reinstalling the rear wheel after putting on the new tire, for some reason the speedometer drive unit did not work properly and damaged the speedometer cable. I replaced both the speedo cable and speedo drive.


If the list format for maintenance works better for you, see the below for what was performed by me in summer 2020:

-Oil changed

-Gear oil changed

-New battery

-New front and rear tires and inner tubes

-New speedometer cable and speedo drive (the speedometer was working fine when I got the bike but for some reason when putting the rear axle back together after changing the tires the speedo drive had an issue)

-Valve clearances adjusted (polished the rocker cover too)

-Timing adjusted (strobed)

-Carburetors cleaned throughout, rebuilt, and adjusted to get the bike running excellent throughout the RPM range and throttle positions (new Amal “stay up” ethanol friendly floats, float heights adjusted, jets changed to factory spec 190 mains 107 pilot, needle setting adjusted, carbs balanced, idle adjusted).

-New fuel lines

-Forks rebuilt with new seals and new oil (disassembled, cleaned, bushings were perfectly fine)

-Original fiberglass fuel tank sealed with Caswell epoxy sealer. The fuel tank was in excellent condition inside and out when I first got it, and NON-leaking, but it was highly recommended to use the high quality Caswell sealer to further protect the longevity of the fuel tank.

-Original petcocks refurbished

-New fork gaiters and original style clamps

-Front and rear brakes adjusted (front shoes inspected)

-New spark plugs


After owning a few vintage British bikes, I have found that having to do just about all of the above is pretty typical as quite often maintenance is not recorded, is deferred, and a big thing is many people do not actually ride their bikes thus do not notice issues. Parts are not necessarily too expensive but it all adds up and would add up way more is the amount of labor involved so my word of advice is to take that into consideration when looking into vintage Brit bikes with unknown service history and not being regularly ridden. This summer I took the BSA out on many 1 to 3 hour rides out on the country roads, often multiple times a week. It is such a pleasure to ride and now is well sorted.


Conclusion:

Some people will say a Spitfire is just a Lighting with a couple different parts. I do not understand this logic as the devil is in the details. Using some of those people's logic would be like saying a Bonneville TT is just a Bonneville, a GTO is just a LeMans, a Z06 Corvette is just a Corvette, etc. The Spitfire was the top road going BSA model of the year and represents an important spot in vintage performance British motorcycles. This example is special being it is the more demanded first year model, numbers matching with title, is non-restored while still being extremely presentable, and is ready to ride.


There are not tons of these Spitfires around and they are a bit more difficult to value than say a Bonneville. Nicely restored ones show $12,000 and higher on Mecum. Finding one in this nice of non-restored condition is quite special. I have tried to set the value to what seems fair for its condition but will listen to your offers as well.


I have no problem having the motorcycle shipped and will also deal with out of country buyers. Please see my 100% feedback rating.


Please feel free to contact me with any questions.


262.391.1069


This Spitfire is located in Sussex, WI 53089. If potential buyers wanted to view the Spitfire in person, the nearest large airport is Mitchell International in Milwaukee, WI (MKE) which is about 40 minutes away. Pending buyer's distance I could potentially deliver up to a certain distance for a fee.

This is a serious and actual auction/listing so please treat it as such. Putting in an offer is committing to a contract to purchase this vehicle and the following terms. I have attempted to describe this vehicle very fairly but it is the buyer's responsibility to determine their opinion of the vehicle's condition prior to submitting a bid or offer. It is recommended possible buyers inspect the vehicle in person prior to putting in an offer but extensive details and pictures have been provided as I understand in person inspection is not always possible. If a professional pre-purchase inspection is wanted, it must be completed prior to committing to buying through putting in or accepting an offer. The auction winner must deposit a non-refundable $500 down payment within 48 hours of auction close via Paypal. Remaining funds must be received no later than two weeks from auction end. Negative feedback will be given to non-paying buyers and a case via Ebay will be opened. Vehicle must be picked up from Sussex, WI no later than two weeks from auction end. $15 per day fee for extended storage. Vehicle will not leave nor title mailed until all funds have been received/verified. PayPal, cash, cashier's check, and wire transfer work as the method of payment for the remaining funds. Once auction is over, the vehicle will be kept in appropriate general care by the owner. Buyer is responsible for insurance once auction has ended. No warranty is expressed or implied. Vehicle is sold as is. Transportation of the vehicle is the buyer's responsibility. If special circumstances are needed for anything, including time, please contact me. Thank you for reading through this whole vehicle description and honoring the procedures that make this a great buying and selling experience!


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