Looking For A Famous James

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by renogeorge, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!!

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    Why here and what the hell is a Famous James??? Well Famous James is an English 2 stroke motorcycle which used the Villiers motor. It was originally used for military use and later (40's and 50's) sold in the US for civilian use. So it is a Thumper as that term is used here. I posted here, trying to find one for an old riding buddy. It's kind of a a bucket list deal and I would really appreciate any leads you guys might have.

    Thanks!!!
    #1
  2. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!!

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    Come on! I'll bet someone has seen or heard of these....
    #2
  3. CPTCO

    CPTCO Been here awhile

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    #3
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  4. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Jockey

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    There was one that came up on CL in the Denver area a few years ago. No idea of it's status. I seem to remember it wasn't too expensive.

    I didn't recognize it by it's name but when I googled Famous James I recognized the bike. I wonder if there's another name for it.
    #4
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  5. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!!

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    Thanks for the replies. There were several brands using the same Villiers motor-DOT, Cotton, etc.

    I'll check the CL leads. Ideally I'd like to find a reasonably complete unrestored bike to restore. But sometimes you don't get exactly what you are looking for
    #5
  6. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Jockey

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    It might have been one of the other variants now that I heard that.
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  7. Bultaco206

    Bultaco206 Back-to-back motos suck

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    Check your PMs. I sent you info on a guy in the Bay Area that can help you.
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  8. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!!

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    There are a bunch of them. As I understand it, the Villiers 2 stroke motor design was part of WW2 war reparations package from Germany. Check out the hand shift......
    #8
  9. Bar None

    Bar None Old School Dude

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    Back when I was a kid in the 1950's a friend of mine's father had two Famous James that we use to ride around the vinegar plant where they lived. That was my first riding on a real motorcycle as before that I had built a mini bike out of conduit and a Briggs from plans in a Popular Science magazine.
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  10. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!!

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    Cool!
    #10
  11. Limey-1

    Limey-1 Adventurer

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    Way back...I had a 197cc James Captain in UK..compared to today's bikes it was a nasty little bike...profile forks and pogo shocks in the rear...but coming from a 1952 125cc BSA Bantam it seemed like magic at the time...
    #11
  12. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!!

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    Yep. Had a Bantam and Triumph Cub before moving to 350 BSA and finally T100 Triumph. Good times...
    #12
  13. oldairhd

    oldairhd Septugenarian

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    Search right here on ADV Old's Cool 2 smokers found this:
    IMG_0066.JPG
    Possibly some good contacts over on this thread.
    #13
  14. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!!

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    Thanks!! I never thought to look there for REALLY Old's Cool stuff.
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  15. XDragRacer

    XDragRacer Long timer

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    Last saw one ("Famous James"), late 1940s; recall decal of crossed British flags on front fender (Or was it steering head? Tank, maybe?). Considerably more sophisticated than my own motorbike at the time, a "Safticycle," Briggs & Stratton 1-1/2 HP engine, auto-clutch driving a V-belt in turn driving a jackshaft attached to final drive chain sprocket; step-through frame. NOT a scooter; had larger-diameter-than-a-Cushman's spoked wheels . . . has anyone seen a Safticycle recently? :lol2
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  16. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!!

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    This is a newer model with foot shift and telescoping forks. I am looking for one with a hand shift and girder front end....picky, picky...
    #16
  17. spokester

    spokester Long timer

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    In my world thumpers are four stroke singles. Two strokes are ring-dings.
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  18. hondabtr

    hondabtr Gimme back my bullets

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    How cool to bring up James. This was always my favorite James ( a speedway version)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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  19. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!!

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    I just wish I could find one......

    #19
  20. hondabtr

    hondabtr Gimme back my bullets

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    Might have to start shopping England. I seem to recall a bunch over there when I was researching the speedway James
    #20