1964 Royal Enfield Interceptor 750

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by ddavidv, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. ddavidv

    ddavidv The reason we can't have nice things

    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    5,483
    Location:
    Elizabethtown, PA
    After putting a basket case Bullet 500 back together and riding a number of British twins I decided I wanted a true antique motorcycle to fiddle with. Despite owning a couple of modern Triumphs I just wasn't keen on picking up the ubiquitous Bonneville or Tr6. While I like the old Triumphs they didn't really tug at me like a Norton Commando.
    The problem with the Norton choice (aside from the usual Norton quality concerns) was the price of entry was steep. BSAs, the other obvious offering, just didn't do it for me.

    A couple years ago I picked up an Indian made Bullet off FB Marketplace with the engine half apart. I was looking for a project and always liked the style and history of the British/India thumper. The bike was so delightfully easy and rewarding to work on I quickly became a fan. Royal Enfield was a surprisingly innovative company and you can thank them for both cush drive in the rear hub and rear swing arm suspension.

    They were not as successful in the American market as the 'big three' brands mentioned above. Brought in for a time in the 1950s rebadged as Indians RE never really found a market. RE in the 1960s found the company sold and the inevitable slide towards oblivion began. During this time, however, the company introduced the Interceptor. A 750cc twin at a time when Triumph and BSA could only boast of 650s, the Interceptor was reportedly the fastest machine of it's time.

    Though I'd been half-heartedly searching for a RE twin I really hadn't found much. An old acquaintance who dabbled in vintage bike dealing recently contacted me about one he was taking in a multi-bike trade. Photos were exchanged and when it arrived at his shop I went for a look. Yesterday it got dropped off at my place. It's a very tidy machine and I plan to do a video series about bringing it back to life.



    I'm a self-taught mechanic and have mostly worked on cars and trucks. The Bullet was my first real foray into motorcycles and the Interceptor will represent the graduate level I suppose. I don't even own any Whitworth wrenches yet!
    #1
  2. Mista Vern

    Mista Vern Knows All - Tells Some.

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    24,025
    Location:
    McMinnville, Oregon
    Subscribed!! :thumb
    #2
  3. PaulRS

    PaulRS Dutch fool

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,623
    Location:
    Holland, land of tulips and wooden shoes
    Probably the most underrated and unknown British big twin.

    You did good. :super

    Paul.
    #3
  4. Prmurat

    Prmurat Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,462
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    I had an Interceptor 2: the only British bike (had Vincent, Triumph, BSA and Matchless) I really miss; the nicest twin, beautiful and OK road handling!!
    IMG_2850.jpg
    Seen here when I tried a Commando disc in front.
    #4
    Fast Idle, zookster, hank2 and 6 others like this.
  5. viajero

    viajero Too old to be a nOOb

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    10,616
    Location:
    Idaho
    I've only ever seen one of these. Rented one in Mexico City. Didn't think too much of it then.
    #5
  6. thadf

    thadf Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Missouri
    I’ll be watching this one too!!

    You did superb with the last one, even if you personally felt disappointed with the end result.

    We were all rooting for you one way or the other!!
    #6
    Webman and Mista Vern like this.
  7. ddavidv

    ddavidv The reason we can't have nice things

    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    5,483
    Location:
    Elizabethtown, PA
    @thadf thank you for that.
    The cafe' racer was not my cup of tea to begin with and I think most of the problems were a result of the modifications. They made a good effort and hand crafting those parts in India but ultimately the whole linkage is a bit of a sloppy mess. I vastly prefer to work with stock factory parts.

    I'm really pretty excited about this bike. From the reports I've read it has a power band and performance that really suits my style. It's a good looking roadster and has a family DNA by the engine design. I did some endoscopy work on it today and the news is mostly good with some mild concern in one cylinder.
    #7
    zookster, Webman, thadf and 1 other person like this.
  8. Webman

    Webman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    Oddometer:
    867
    Location:
    Arizona
    Excellent project, thanks for bringing us along on this journey!
    #8
  9. Ozarkroadrunner

    Ozarkroadrunner Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2014
    Oddometer:
    168
    Location:
    Georgia and Arkansas
    I lusted after an Interceptor when I was a youngster. We didn't have any Brit dealers in the area and I was in High School before I had my first encounter with a actual RE. In my case it was one of the 500cc singles imported as Indians. A year later I made a trip to Kansas City and found a twin, also wearing Indian badges. Good luck with your project!
    #9
  10. Cycle Goon

    Cycle Goon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2016
    Oddometer:
    866
    See, in the very very small sampling size of Interceptors I've seen come up for sale, they were more than a comparable Commando. They make Nortons seem as common as Sportsters which is saying something. Great looking bike
    #10
  11. MrBob

    MrBob Cisgendered Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    22,925
    Location:
    Tallahassee and Boulder.
    Get the damn thing streetable and just ride it. I did note what appears to be differences in exhaust blueing though.
    #11
  12. ddavidv

    ddavidv The reason we can't have nice things

    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    5,483
    Location:
    Elizabethtown, PA
    Yes, I noticed that too.
    Not gonna restore it. It's really a 'survivor' except for the puzzling repaint...which I don't hate.
    #12
    Webman and Mista Vern like this.
  13. Eatmore Mudd

    Eatmore Mudd Mischief on wheels.

    Joined:
    May 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,809
    Location:
    Wet side of WA.
    The Interceptor twin engine was the only production Brit twins that were dynamically balanced. That makes them smoother than the rest. Interceptor was also the first mass production bike to turn a 14 second 1/4 mile. They were the quickest mass production bike for a long time.
    #13
    Webman, MrBob, aptbldr and 1 other person like this.
  14. cogitate

    cogitate What Marcellus Wallace Looks Like

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,509
    Location:
    North of the Border, CA
    very nice, dude! Watched the video, too. :clap
    #14
  15. LJ3

    LJ3 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    133
    Jeremy at Baxter Cycle is the go to guy for RE Twins. Email him, send him pics, give him a call before you do anything with the bike. He will likely have whatever parts you need.
    I have a matched pair of left/right Amal monoblocks with the correct number stamping for a 64-65 interceptor sitting on a shelf.
    #15
    Webman, Eatmore Mudd and Mista Vern like this.
  16. ddavidv

    ddavidv The reason we can't have nice things

    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    5,483
    Location:
    Elizabethtown, PA
    Assessment completed. Not sure what to do about the magneto.
    #16
    foxtrapper and Mista Vern like this.
  17. MrBob

    MrBob Cisgendered Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    22,925
    Location:
    Tallahassee and Boulder.
    I guess you'll be looking for a gasket set before long. I'm all for preserving whenever possible, but as a rule of thumb I make any ignition system upgrades that are available. I have no nostalgia for points systems.
    In 1964 the Brit bike industry was turning out some beautiful bikes, this one being an example. Ten years later the industry was in tatters and being swept away by a Japanese tsunami. I bought a new 1974 Norton Interstate. It was a beautiful bike with a long list of manufacturing defects.
    #17
    RustyStuff, Webman and Mista Vern like this.
  18. Center-stand

    Center-stand Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,951
    ..

    Mix a small amount of half acetone and half auto trans fluid and put in each cylinder to penetrate and soften any rust seen or hidden.

    If you crank the motor over with spark plugs out the acetone will evaporate out fairly quickly and not have adverse affect on the crankcase oil.

    ..
    #18
  19. Webman

    Webman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    Oddometer:
    867
    Location:
    Arizona
    That's a cool trick, never heard that one before.
    #19
  20. MrBob

    MrBob Cisgendered Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    22,925
    Location:
    Tallahassee and Boulder.
    This technique is typically used on frozen engines, and the rust won't be hidden because the head will need to come off if only to prevent loosened rust flakes from causing havoc. The debate is between using this mixture or Kroil and some tests show the mixture works better.
    #20
    Webman and Mista Vern like this.