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1947 Swallow Gadabout Mark II Pictures

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Thanks to Brian Slater for this picture and his story…
“It was the first motorbike I owned, bought for 5 pounds whilst I was still fifteen (and illegally riding about). You can see the L plate on the front as I later went on to pass my test (first time). No MOT in those days!

I think it was the mark II version built 1947 with 125cc Villiers engine with an internal cooling fan belt driven from the flywheel. It had a leading link front suspension with built in friction damper. This made for unreliable stopping especially during rain – very apt to lose the front wheel in an uncontrollable skid. It had a floor gear change operated from a right foot pedal. The left foot pedal visible was the rear wheel brake.

Reg No. BBR 317 (where are you now?)

The main frame was a length of folded scaffolding tube and was quite springy. Unusually the rear part of the frame ended in 2 open exhausts and served as twin silencers for the engine exhaust. They contained removable silencer internals which could be cleaned periodically (rather like a BSA Bantam). The Electrics were 6v and very dim despite the size of the front headlight.

There was no rear wheel suspension but it was equipped with very fat scooter tyres instead. It was only equipped for a single passenger with nowhere for a pillion to place his feet. The seat hinged up to access the fuel tank. The whole of the rear body section could be unclipped to allow easy engine access. The scooter was quite heavy about 60 kgs for its size. It wasn’t very economical about 50mpg and would manage about 45mph on the flat. The speedo, driven from the front wheel was a clockwork type rather than an eddy current one. the needle would flick around wildly unless you kept a steady speed.

I owned it for about 6 months and then traded up for a 125 Vespa of similar vintage (an even more scary ride in the wet weather but that’s another story)”

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  • Year: 1947
  • Decade: 1940s
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