Stuart Allen – Kind Following Operate

Dpersonal a tiny street in what’s referred to as The Quiet Nook of Connecticut is the 1760s farmhouse and storage of Stuart Allen. Stuart is a particular sort of biker/builder. His assortment accommodates one-offs, manufacturing facility racers, and privateer specials, bikes you’re not more likely to see wherever else. These aren’t fairly boy customs. They’re racers, made solely to go quick with out breaking. Throughout the storage are motors that may run extensive open for an hour or two, frames and {hardware} thick sufficient to outlive the pounding. These are bikes purpose-built, brutally environment friendly and delightful in their very own particular means.

Stuart Allen leaning on 1950 Avonaire dustbin fairing. “I went to artwork college however I don’t let it get in the way in which”. [Andy Romanoff]

I’ve identified Stuart since 1975 once we met in New York whereas engaged on a film referred to as Wolfen. I used to be there to show somebody in New York learn how to maintain a then brand-new invention referred to as the Louma Crane alive and present them learn how to use it. The Louma carried a film digital camera on the finish of an extended slender arm and panned and tilted it remotely. It mixed refined mechanics, servo motor electronics and video techniques in model new methods and film crews have been simply coming to grips with all the brand new issues they must be taught to make it work. Naturally one other biker could be the precise man to be taught this factor and maintain it collectively.

“It is a 1955 Daytona CB34. The rarest of the uncommon. BSA solely made 10 of those to be raced on the seaside in 55. Afterwards they got to privateers who raced them till the motors have been blown up past fixing.” [Andy Romanoff]

Over the subsequent few months, we labored collectively on the film and I confirmed him the whole lot I knew in regards to the crane and we shared our love of bikes. And when it was over, I headed again to LA, however we stayed buddies perpetually.

“That’s a DB34 motor in-built 1949/50. That’s the primary years they constructed the Goldstars.” [Andy Romanoff]

After we first met Stuart was driving a 1969 BMW R60/2, and he nonetheless has it, however through the years he’s collected extra bikes, primarily BSA singles however all of them racers of 1 type or one other. Once I requested him how he bought into this he advised me that he began out constructing vehicles however when he moved to town he bought into bikes “as a result of I may maintain them in my loft and I didn’t must crawl beneath them.” And why race bikes?  “I like race bikes as a result of they solely have one objective, they’re good examples of type following operate. Race bikes aren’t about present, they’re about go.” Lots of his bikes are privateer racing machines, bikes constructed on a funds by guys with extra ardour than cash, “A variety of these bikes have been constructed and rebuilt within the backs of pickup vehicles between races. They weren’t alleged to be fairly, solely to go quick.”

“That’s a Ducati 250 Mach One, roughly 1963-64. They didn’t actually have a 12 months as a result of they have been manufacturing facility racers. You simply ordered one and hoped you bought it, however they have been sooner of their day than 650 Triumphs. They solely had one velocity … extensive open. They have been the equal of a 7R AJS or a Manx Norton. You would order one however you didn’t get one.” [Andy Romanoff]

So virtually fifty years have passed by since we first met and once we see one another it’s normally in LA or NY. Each time we discuss although, I hear about this legendary storage with all his bikes in it. This summer season my lengthy struggling not-biker spouse Darcy and deliberate to go to Cape Cod then head right down to New York; taking a look at a map I noticed we may get to Stuart’s Connecticut place on the way in which. The one drawback –  our schedule meant we had simply an hour to see the bikes and go to.

“A 1958 manufacturing facility flat tracker DB32R with a inflexible body. Solely 2 hundred have been made to qualify for homologation as a manufacturing bike beneath the AMA guidelines for flat monitor racing.” [Andy Romanoff]

After we bought there, I grabbed my digital camera and shot photos whereas we talked. Stuart is an opinionated man together with his opinions backed up by a lifetime of information. He’s pithy too and I’ve quoted him lots right here to present you among the taste. Strolling by the storage with him as he tells you the what and why of those bikes is a particular deal with.

Stuart Allen with two of his infants. The bike on the precise is a BSA manufacturing facility bike, the one the left is the Trackmaster racer. [Andy Romanoff]

The specter of rain meant leaving a lot of the bikes inside and the hour time restrict meant a lot of the assortment remained unseen for now.  So listed here are the primary few glimpses of a spot crammed with great equipment and the man who retains all of it alive.

BSA made stunning tanks for his or her Gold Stars, constructed from 1938-63. Theses wait for his or her flip to roll down the street once more. [Andy Romanoff]
“That’s a 1970 excessive piped T100C trophy on the bench. Triumph made two 500s, they made the Daytona which was a twin carb that no one of their proper thoughts would need as a result of no one needs two Amals of any type, after which they made the Trophy.” [Andy Romanoff]
Sonicweld/Trackmaster inflexible body chassis carrying a DBD34 Gold Star motor with an Amal Monobloc modified by Stuart. Try the added float bowl window on the precise. Additionally, the hand fashioned Fishtail exhaust. “That’s an Amal Monobloc that I modified the shit out of. I reduce away the float bowl and put a glass window in it. Monoblocs are traditionally left facet float bowls. I discovered a uncommon 689 with the float on the precise facet so I may have it protruding within the breeze the place I may see all the center and ensure it was working correctly. I did all that as a result of all of the Amal distant floats have been notoriously dodgy.” [Andy Romanoff]
A BSA entrance wheel with an 8inch single sided brake. SA – “Folks used to drill a thousand holes within the goddamned issues to chill them.” “Now most individuals will say “that brake is totally improper” as a result of flat trackers don’t have entrance brakes. Properly yeah in the event you’re California-centric that’s true, flat trackers there didn’t have brakes, however in the event you ran Daytona which was on the sand, that they had brakes, and Loudon and different locations ran brakes.” [Andy Romanoff]
“These are house constructed folding pegs like those racers made within the day as a result of those BSA shipped have been fastened in place in a horrible location and the AMA stated go forward and make your personal to cease folks from getting impaled.” [Andy Romanoff]
“That’s a Matchbox distant float feeding a 1 1/2 GP racing carburetor on a DB head. It’s the largest carburetor anybody makes. It’s only a gap within the earth that you simply pour fuel into. It has just one velocity actually, extensive open.” [Andy Romanoff]
“I fabbed this case from Aluminum scrap and an Aluminum pie pan, it’s typical of the day. Everybody made their very own at house as a result of it was such a fucking trouble to get into the first while you wished to alter sprockets or the clutch packed up. It’s a dry major lubed solely by blowby from the engine breather.” [Andy Romanoff]
A Sonicweld body with an adjuster to rapidly set the wheelbase for the size of the monitor. SA – “Everybody had their very own principle; everybody constructed their very own frames. Dick Mann constructed an uneven body for the shorter tracks. My buddy in England purchased it and put it on his bench, and stated “It was fully wacked, it was prefer it had been bent within the center.” However he was speaking to Dick Mann earlier than he died and Mann stated “Yeah, I made that body” so he made frames that simply steered to the left for the shorter tracks; some folks constructed a unique body for each monitor, and all this was out of their very own pockets, there was no manufacturing facility assist.” [Andy Romanoff]




Vintagent Contributor Andy Romanoff began out as a biker/photographer, then had an extended profession in Hollywood, together with years working with Panavision. He’s a member of The Academy, and is now again to his biker/photographer roots. Observe these hyperlinks for his Bike Photos on the market and his Bike Gallery.