Classic bikes ready to go

Although there is no Classic Motor Show to spur them on this year, members of the Shetland Classic Motorcycle Club have not been idle over the winter months and many bikes are now well fettled and ready to go.

The club’s programme of sum­mer runs is under way and Sunday saw several members heading for the Spiggie beach where, in conjunction with members of the Shetland Classic Car Club, they participate annually in the Voar Redd Up.

Several “new” machines have appeared out of the woodwork and one, which hasn’t felt the road under her for 50-odd years, is Geordie Jacobson’s 1936 500cc Ivory Calthorpe. Though not a large volume producer, Calthorpe made good quality machines from 1911 to 1939 but, like so many of the small companies, did not survive the Second World War Geordie inherited the bike over 20 years ago from his late uncle Tammie Jacobson from Staneydale. Before that she had passed through the hands of his uncle Peter Jacobson from Sandsound so you could say that she is a real family concern. Deciding, eventually, that it was time that work on this now rare machine was progressed, Geordie enlisted the services of local member Gordon Stark to do the job.

As the name suggests, the Ivory model was finished in a distinctive cream colour and this has been retained in Gordon’s usual excellent and true to original restoration. Many parts were either worn out or missing and, where neither second hand nor replica replace­ments could be sourced, there was no alternative but to make them from scratch.

One non-original detail which Geordie made sure was retained was the upswept exhausts which were popular in the 1930s. Those that came with the bike had been hand bent out of copper pipe by the late West Side plumber Willie Cumming. The new ones in stainless steel were produced, again locally, on a state of the art computerised pipe bending machine by Ian Coutts.

Work was far enough advanced for an appearance at the show in June last year but the machine is now well and truly up and running and ready to take to the road after a very long hibernation. As can be seen from the photograph, the bike shows that local enthusiasts can achieve a quality of workmanship and finish of a very professional standard.

Shetland Classic Motorcycle Club welcomes anyone with a bike old or new to join them on their runs. People can get further details from the club’s website at or call Joe Gray on (01595) 693266.


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