MG Sidecar Rig

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by eldomike, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. eldomike

    eldomike Who Cares

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    982
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    Picking this up next week...shitty phone pics from the seller but was wondering if anybody could ID the Car? Seller didn't know....

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Threewheelbonnie

    Threewheelbonnie Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,032
    Location:
    Yorkshire UK
    Heddingham?

    Andy
    #2
  3. AceRph

    AceRph Affluenza Free! Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2003
    Oddometer:
    24,707
    Location:
    Where the stupidest people on earth run things
    I like that rig.
    #3
  4. eldomike

    eldomike Who Cares

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    Aug 6, 2009
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    982
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    Southern Illinois
    Did a search on Heddingham...believe Andy is correct...thanks...I'll post better pictures of it when I get it home...
    #4
  5. eldomike

    eldomike Who Cares

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    Aug 6, 2009
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    982
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    Southern Illinois
    BTW, looks like the leading link forks may be of the same manufacturer...
    #5
  6. vernon dent

    vernon dent Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    707
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    apparently halfway to motorcycle hell
    Mike,
    look @ the one i posted in sidecar pics. that was a deal.
    #6
  7. eldomike

    eldomike Who Cares

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    Wow that was a steal :eek1
    #7
  8. vernon dent

    vernon dent Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    707
    Location:
    apparently halfway to motorcycle hell
    it was only about 400 miles away too.
    plus the guy had harpers do the cylinders about 10 years ago. owned it for over 30 years!
    #8
  9. chris a

    chris a Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    107
    Location:
    Southern France
    You lucky boy EldoMike...those chairs are superb if a bit heavy.
    #9
  10. tallnbig68

    tallnbig68 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    north west corner of Lake Ontario
    History lesson. When I was contemplating an update to my the 1981 Honda Goldwing
    with Velorex chair, was duly impressed by Unit Sidecars. Unit was the name
    of the leading link fork, the sidecar (only one at the time) was Hedingham.

    The person in charge was Keith Wash, a retired electrical engineer who had
    packed it in and moved to Hedingham, in Essex. Castle Hedingham,
    nr Halstead, look it up on Google Maps. There's also a preserved steam
    railway at Castle Hedinham. All of the settlements btw are within
    spitting distance of each other. Different names, different locations.
    Normal in the UK...

    Keith operated his company out of a small workshop across the road from where he
    and Anne lived. Keith's own rig was a basic SS chair with a Moto-Guzzi tug and
    it was set up to go quite fast, ie it could easily pull 100mph on the track.
    He also constructed leading link forks. The forks were the main business,
    he had one or two others helping him. Their market was the UK, for the most part.

    He had never sold an export chair! Down at the local one evening
    I guess in 1985 when I was there on vacation, we were doodling on serviettes
    while getting quite drunk on the local dark draft,
    Keith had a few changes in mind for his original SS. Basically raise the
    boot as in the photo of the red one seen in the photo and change the windscreen so it
    rolled forward so all ingress and egress from the machine would be easier.
    Told him it should be
    called an XL, for extra large. Next thing I knew we were assembling a frame for
    an export model to come to me in Canada. The actual glass fibre moulding
    was done by another company off site.

    The chair was duly shipped to Canada, by overseas vessel, where i
    had to carefully explain to the idiot at Canada Customs what it
    was and he could not understand why I did not buy one made in Canada!
    Told him they were only manufactured in Quebec, and he then told me so,
    buy from them. At this point in time Quebec was trying to leave Canada,
    so it would not have been in my personal interest to go there,
    even today if they even made a motion to leave, I'd pack their
    bags and out of Canada, with them.

    The sidecar rig was as seen in the photos, right hand mount and fitting
    similar to Velorex. As my bike was not in the UK, I could not have the
    fittings installed at the shop. Keith welded the fittings to the bike
    and the chair was then mounted. I might add the frame is called
    a surround frame as the chair sits down inside the frame for protection.
    Velorex, Champion and H-D chairs are a platform frame, whereby
    the chair body sits on top of the frame.
    The cost then was about C$2100.00 plus duty and taxes of
    about another $500.00. I had also ordered a set of
    leading link forks which arrived in a box, under
    separate cover with zillions of large denomination
    cancelled stamps
    This was some years ago and international postage
    methods were not up to snuff especially from the UK.

    Came home from the importers with this huge box on a trailer behind a friend's old GM pick me up. The box with the chair inside was too big for the box on the truck, and it weighed, a lot!!

    Bottom line, the chair was installed, by me, ditto the forks. i sold an number of other forks assemblies through Keith and then realized the provincial and federal governments, particularly the latter wanted any goods sold in Canada
    to be labelled in the language of Canada and of Quebec. Sidecars had to have the various items stamped on the frame, French first followed by English. Even now all federal employees who deal with the public must speak French, even if there is not a French speaking person within 1000 miles. And of course all federal structures are labelled in English and French. I also was to have full insurance in case something went wrong after selling the product and had to supply a booklet/instructions in French and English for all new purchasers. Difficult for a small so-called cottage operations.
    The final straw was somebody who purchased a set of forks for his 1986 Goldwing and was quite annoyed that i did not
    do installs of same even though it was noted that it was sales only. The rig did get the forks installed in my garage,
    however because the rig had the then linked brakes now common to most touring machines, I had to disconnect
    the link to the leading forks. The owner was not too happy. One or two friends who knew of these things helped me, but
    was glad to see the last of that rig! It also made me realize that somebody who has a fully equipped machine shop and the expertise to operate same wasn't going to sell sidecars.
    One has to remember sidecars are not a common item in Canada; heck around here even trikes are few and far between. Solo crotch rockets are the norm and the riders like to aim their machines everywhere with little or no real protection to their person. I can't recall when I last saw a motorcyclist wearing full letahers, always jeans and aleather jacket.

    So back to the chair. I believe only one or two other right hand mount sidecars were ever sold to North America.
    I operated my chair on my 1981 Honda Goldwing. The chair was very heavy, just by dint pf the construction.
    Enroute to Americade in 1989, the sidecar wheel bearing disintegrated. Was in Rome NY with others on sidecars, they
    waited until i found a small machine shop that could punch out the old bearing and install a new bearing which I had to drive some sixty miles to purchase. It delayed our arrival by some hours, we already had accommodation. I had bought the chair because it was neat, no wife, no children, no animals. Still none of those three annoyances for me even now at age 65. My lover Max had died in 1981, and for some years prior we road BMW's with Steib sidecars all over the place, and always in full leather. We had done the UK and Europe in 1978 and had much fun, together.
    Yes am still quite queer and if that's not your lifestyle, that is your decision, not mine.

    Americade was something else. On the way home the other two people riding with their wives in their chairs avoided a rather nasty drop in the pavement on the New York State Thruway, I didn't. The drop snapped both the rear mounting
    bracket where it attached to the motorcycle frame and broke the frame on the chair. I figured the drop was easily two feet, and of course no warning signs. It's amazing what one can do with bungee cords, duct tape and strong rope when forced into a situation. A half hour repair job sufficed until i got home to Canada, all on the same day. My friends purchased many items; I purchased very few, they did not declare said items, I did and had to pay $269.00 in duty and taxes. Many many items are still not available in Canada for machines that the Americans can always readily procure.
    Beside what industry is going to label goods for a small country that demands said goods be labelled only in French and English, no other language allowed including Spanish.

    My world had changed by the time I go home from Americade. Health and welfare problems were happening;
    i was short financially for various reasons. My school board employer was looking at major amalgamations and I too had left on an extended vacation under a nasty cloud of sexual messes.. Being gay and in a school setting was not a good idea although had never had problems for the past 22 years. Got out with a small pension. Spent many a day looking at the sidecar and the damage from, mounts and related. Advertised in the USCA magazine and sold the chair for C$4000.00 to a chap in Beacon Hill NY, a restaurant owner as I recall. He came in his long bed pickup. We loaded the frame and the chair, the mounting brackets and the leading link forks. He paid me cash and was home by late that same evening.

    Often wondered what happened to serial number XL - 1? The serial number should be somewhere on the sidecar frame.

    The Goldwing sat in my garage most of the summer, it needed restoration back to a solo and I was not in the mood. Between job-hunting and finding I was not suitable for many things due to this sexual dismissal chip in my CV found writing a monthly journal and selling said columns on railway transportation to be my best choice. Basic wages but still an income. That little activity continued until some five years ago when Lupus and cancer intruded on my life..

    Some after thoughts...the Hedingham XL was a physically heavy chair! The GL1100 Goldwing could just pull the machine in fourth gear, fifth gear was useless. And too I am a physically huge person, 6'8" tall and weighing about 400 pounds. If you lift the tail gate lid, u can easily drop in six cases of beer and stil lhave room to spare.

    As noted elsewhere am thinking of returning to motorcycling with a sidecar but given the overall physically smaller machines of these days, and now in retrospect realizing virtually all of my once motorcycling friends are either dead, left the hobby or moved away. As a number of them said to me, you're queer, we don't want you around our family or property.. The Goldwing with over 500,000 on the clock was sold to a friend of mine two years ago. i should but I don't miss it. Too many health and emotional problems of late..

    Keith Wash is no longer manufacturing and selling sidecars or leading link forks. The industry has changed,
    and here in North America sidecars are not common. There is nothing quite like operating a sidecar rig in the snow and doing spin out doughnuts on freshly covered in snow streets. The Ural set up is just way too small, i dwarf the poor machines, and they aren't meant for heavy duty operations.

    I might feel better with a sidecar rig but as with many things,
    perhaps my time in that hobby has passed by as well.

    tallnbig68
    (Bryce Lee)
    #10
  11. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,074
    Location:
    The Bluegrass
    eldomike,
    You did good on your purchase. If for some reason you decide it's not your cup o tea, I'd like to head the clique for the next owner.

    An EML Guzzi or what you have would suit me very well , I think.

    Kenneth
    #11
  12. eldomike

    eldomike Who Cares

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    982
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    I'll find out tomorrow how good it was....I'll probably move it as I have a rig I'm attached to already(see my signature)....though I doubt the one I have is as good as the one I'm picking up....

    #12
  13. Steve In Ireland

    Steve In Ireland Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    233
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    >Keith Wash is no longer manufacturing and selling sidecars or leading link forks.

    True, but the forks and sidecars are still being made by the new owners of the company and going strong. See http://www.hedinghamsidecars.com/
    #13
  14. maquette

    maquette Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2004
    Oddometer:
    222
    Location:
    Oriental, NC
    Mike,

    I like the one you already have and the one you are picking up as well. It's unusual enough that I'd be tempted to hang on to it. Looking forward to more pics and more info on it.

    Tom
    #14
  15. eldomike

    eldomike Who Cares

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    982
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    Wish I could hang on to it but unlike some people, I can't keep every rig I find :D

    I'm home with the bike...will take some pics tomorrow...the car is solid but the bike is pretty rough, hasn't run in years...may be selling the front end and car seperate....don't know yet...


    #15
  16. bill_powell

    bill_powell Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Dover, TN
    Is that a Mille GT? That outfit looks very much like one I saw in an ad for sale about five years ago. Same color, same fairing, same car. It was a few hundred miles away, but I seriously considered buying it, when I happened to spot a 1000SP for sale not 40 miles away from me. No chair, but the close proximity made the sale. And it didn't hurt that the SP was a beauty.

    That Hedingham SS had caught me, however, and I tried for quite a while to find one. I looked everywhere seems like. (it was simply too expensive for me to import one)

    In the end, I settled on my Hannigan Classic. But the Mille GT rig I had originally been interested in was the primary inspiration for my eventual ride.

    A photo taken not long (a year perhaps?) after spotting the ad which started it all:

    [​IMG]

    Life is funny. :rofl
    #16
  17. eldomike

    eldomike Who Cares

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    982
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    Could be...your rig looks great...
    #17
  18. Sparrowhawkdesign

    Sparrowhawkdesign Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Oddometer:
    132
    We still sell these at DMC. We build our own links when things are slow but the Units are a good choice at a reasonable price. B
    #18
  19. gairinthepark

    gairinthepark n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I was doing a bit of searching, trying to find my old rides. One in particular was a 1989 Moto Guzzi Mille GT with a color-matched Hedingham SS sidecar. After seeing this post, I believe that this is my old rig. I bought it in 1989 from South Suburban BMW in South Chicago Heights, IL, who I am sure that somehow Ed Johnson (one of the founders of the USCA and an owner of a K100/Hedingham rig talked the owner into bringing this combination together, knowing that they had a willing buyer, me. At the time, I was working with Ed and USCA, helping to setup the first instances of a sidecar operating training course. In later years, I was treasurer, and eventually President of the USCA. I eventually traded the rig in on a BMW K75RT and soon after that, dropped out completely from motorcycling. An old sidecar racer by the name of Willy Kenney bought the sidecar, and may have added the fiberglass handlebar-mount fairing. (I was running it with just a windshield.) Willy passed away some years ago, and I wondered where the rig ended up.
    #19
  20. triumphsidehack

    triumphsidehack Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    78
    Location:
    Nowhere Indiana ,on the outskirts of Darmstadt
    Hey gairinthepark............

    yes , that sure was your rig , and it has lead me down the path of hacking for many years and many miles and many smiles. After I had seen your sweet little rig at a USCA gathering many years back, I knew I would have to have a Hedingham ss put on my K75C BMW. Lowell Neff did the install and added his LL forks and modified the rear wheel to add a 15" car tire. Man was that a great set up. kick myself many times for letting that get away, But the wife said it was way to small for her and the dog, so after many miles of fun we up graded to a Hedingham XL, and it has work out to be a great investment , we are now going on the 100K mark. After having the XL on three different bikes.We have now settle on a Triumph Rocket 3 as our tug, and it still looks great and handles outstanding. So thanks to you and your sweet little Mille GT we have had may years of enjoyment and great fun hacking our way around the United states.

    Many Thanks
    Sharon, Dave, Gracie
    #20