ALL CLASS: The restored 1962 BSA Bantam D1's value has appreciated significantly.
ALL CLASS: The restored 1962 BSA Bantam D1's value has appreciated significantly. Mackenzie Colahan

Brand new bike 40 years in the making

MONTO computer technician Peter Williams is revved up after completing a painstaking restoration of his beloved classic motorcycle, a project almost four decades in the making.

Over the past three years, and with the help of his bike mechanic brother, Mr Williams rebuilt his 1962 BSA Bantam D1 from the ground up.

He acquired the bike from a Calliope farmer as an 18-year-old. It set him back the $28 airhorns off his car - a bargain.

A recent appraisal from his insurance company valued the finished product at $15,000. Not a bad investment.

"It's an intriguing bike,” Mr Williams said.

"When I bought it, it had been leaning up against a shed in Calliope for 10 years. It was in terrible condition.

"I always had the dream of returning it to its former glory.

"I was too broke at the time to fix it and then I met my wife and had kids, so it went back in the shed until 2015.”

Last month, after 39 years off the road, the old Bantam took just five kicks to start.

No expense was spared on the build. It's certified as a concourse restoration, meaning it's in showroom condition.

Almost gathering dust for almost 40 years, Peter Williams and beloved bike are back on the road.
Almost gathering dust for almost 40 years, Peter Williams and beloved bike are back on the road. Mackenzie Colahan

The job included restoring all the original chrome work and a complete rebuild of the motor, plus new wiring, paint, wheels and lights - using genuine parts wherever possible.

For a time during the mid 1900s, the discontinued English manufacturer made some of the most sought after motorcycles in the world.

Production ceased in the 1970s, which has seen their value as collectors items steadily increase.

Mr Williams credited social media for the explosion of interest in restoring vintage bikes.

He founded BSA Bantams Australia, an online hub of motorcycle enthusiasts.

The community of like-minded individuals has grown to more than 400 members who help each other with parts and share tips and tricks to assist with restoration.

But he said one thing will never change. The bike is not for sale.

"I'm never, ever going to sell it,” Mr Williams said.

"If my kids don't show an interest it will go to a museum.

"I hope I can encourage someone else to do it.

"The most satisfying part is riding it. The work was enjoyable at time but for the most part it was frustrating.”


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