Here at Bridge Classic Cars, we like to give you all an incite into what goes on behind closed doors. We often show you the main workshops and restorations, as well as a sneak peak into the production process for live draws with Charlotte, but we rarely take a look at our hanger itself. Our hanger is an unsung hero with an interesting past…
Up at RAF Bentwaters, we’ve got our own hanger. Originally a military base, Bentwaters run as an active American airbase from 1942 until 1993. Now home to multiple businesses and a museum, Bentwaters is a functioning business park with a very visible history. It is home Europe’s longest air strip and feels like a step back in time with many old fighter jets and military vehicles dotted around the base.
You may have also heard of RAF Bentwaters thanks to a mysterious UFO sighting in 1980 which has made the location popular with tourists and alien enthusiasts. The sighting took place in the surrounding forest and is known as the Rendlesham Forest incident which has gone down in history as the UK’s most famous UFO sighting and is known worldwide.
With the base commanding its place in British history, what better spot to store and film classic cars. We offer storage solutions for clients who need a secure and dry location to store their beloved motors. We offer Carcoons, plug-in batteries and regular cleaning.
We also store our own cars in here as they wait to come in for restorations or have been completed and need photographing and storing before finding their new home. We host our live draws from the Hanger but we also use Bentwaters as the regular backdrop to our photoshoots and videos. You might recognise the familiar pine-clad backdrop and clear open roads.
You may also notice a certain rare Francis Barnett which we currently have up for sale. This bike was originally Craigs so we’ve had it safely tucked away at the hanger for a few months however he’s decided to part ways with it and let someone else enjoy the timeless beauty of this bike.
In 2019, we shot with influencer, model and Motorbike lover, Deimante, aka @tombot_a_bit on our beautiful 1961 Francis Barnett Work Bike.
Deimante has a love for all things motorbike and works alongside motorbike brands and is often seen modelling and riding stunning motors.
It was a sunny and pleasant day out at Bentwaters, the perfect scene for a retro motorbike.
You find out more about purchasing this bike here.
Here’s a little side by side comparison between how our Francis Barnett looked before and after restoration.
So the time has come for us to finally reveal our completed 1961 Francis Barnett 250cc Trials.
It has been almost 2 years since the bike arrived with us and as we quickly discovered it had more of a history than we first realised. being an original Francis Barnett factory trials made it rare but then to find it was a 250cc model made this a extremely special project.
The bike is now restored to as close to factory specification as we are able to get it.
If you know more about the history of our bike or any of our fantastic projects you see on our website we would love to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org
She runs! Our beautiful Francis Barnet is up and running after a full ‘nut and bolt’ restoration. Check out the video below to hear her purr!
Our Francis Barnet restoration is really starting to take shape now. Final assembly has taken place. Now it just needs to be run-in and tested before this fabulous 60s trial bike is ready for the road and warmer weather.
The restoration on our Francis Barnett trials bike continues. Parts have either been restored to as new condition or have been replaced with period correct parts. The final stage of this bike’s restoration is final assembly so we hope to have the lovely classic Francis Barnett back on the road soon.
Slight problem with the exhaust. The silencer needs a modification to allow it to pass the rear shock. The mod requires a scallop section to be cut out and a replaced a with a concave plate. It’s the only way to fit the exhaust giving the correct clearance to shock, frame and rear guard.
Our bike is currently with Steve at JAL Restorations being fully restored. Since our last post we have made huge leap forward in the restoration projects. Here we have the latest images from the build.
Working alongside JAL restorations on this project, the forks have now bee stripped and new seals and washers have replaced the old worn ones.
We’ve fitted a new chrome plate on the slider extension.
The fork condition is generally good. Some minor marks on the stanchion but not in the seal area. We have linished and then polished the alloy sliders. They have come up really well but there are a few marks that are too deep to remove which is unfortunate.
Thank you, as always to our good friends at Pamela David Enamels for the incredible work they have done on re-manufacturing our Francis Barnett tank badges.
Established in 1971 Pamela David Enamels are a family-run business who specialise in the complete restoration and manufacture of one-off glass enamelled badges to original specifications using traditional glass enamels. Over many years their experience has developed which enables them to carry out every step of the involved process in-house. With satisfied clients all around the world their records show that three people from two generations of the family have restored over 15,000 badges and manufactured over 10,000 new badges as one-offs or small quantity batches. These new badges are usually to replace missing emblems which are no longer manufactured but can also be to clients’ own designs.
Our Francis Barnett trials bike restoration is progressing well, the paint and parts for restoration are all away being worked on.
The engine however has problems. The big end is shot and likewise the small end. Piston two is in a bad way, it has been fitted omitting the top ring (its a three ring piston) as the top ring groove has seen a ring break up at some point and the lower piston skirt is also damaged. The bore looks ok so we are thinking that the cylinder is a replacement. But here’s the problem, the pistons for this engine are very hard to find. So two is a connecting rod/big end kit.
Still going through the other parts of the engine which looks to have a few but less significant problems.
In summary, the frame has been broken in to its 4 pieces, 5 if you include the swing arm, 2 rather large chassis dings have been filled with braze and taken back, number board mounts have been reinstated to the left subframe diagonal, brake pedal has been straightened up and the toe pad brazed back on (it was holding on by its finger nails). The brake pivot post straightened and re-drilled for the brake lever retaining bolt, someone had welded a washer in place to keep the lever on the pivot. New rear guard mounting brackets have been fitted and the left foot rest straightened up. The right hand foot rest doesn’t belong to this bike so we are trying to source the correct item currently. We have also reinstated a deflector bar that has been lost at some point.
The new badges are currently being re-manufactured by the guys at Pamela David Enamels. The initial template has now been drawn up to replicate the existing design.
We have now approved the designs and the manufacturing process can now begin.
Pamela David Enamels: “Established in 1971 our family-run business has been the only one to specialise in the complete restoration and manufacture of one-off glass enamelled badges to original specifications using traditional glass enamels. Over our many years of unique experience we have developed working techniques which enable us to carry out every step of the involved process in-house. With satisfied clients all around the world our records show that three people from two generations of the family have restored over 15,000 badges and manufactured over 10,000 new badges as one-offs or small quantity batches. These new badges are usually to replace missing emblems which are no longer manufactured but can also be to clients’ own designs. Unfortunately we do not restore or manufacture plastic, painted or white metal badges.”
The tank is now straightened up and ready for dull chrome. The bottom had to come out which is just as well as it was full of all sorts.
You wheels are currently with the wheel builder and will hopefully be rebuilt with galvanised spokes.
At present the bike is completely stripped and the identification is being worked on. Parts and their existence are now being researched, things like the headlamp, front number plate brackets, rear number plate and centre stand. A lot of these parts will need to be re-produced.
JAL Restorations are currently working on the bike for us and Steve from JAL has managed to find an of a trials 85. The lights are not standard but you can see the headlamp brackets, rear plate and centre stand.
Work will soon start on the restoration of our amazing 1961 Francis Barnett 250cc trials bike. This very rare bike will be brought back to life and restored to original, concours conditon within the coming months.
Our original 1961 Francis Barnett badges are now in the hands of our good friends at Pamela David Enamels to be reproduced.
Pamela David Enamels was established in 1971 as family-run business. It has been the only one to specialise in the complete restoration and manufacture of one-off glass enamelled badges to original specifications using traditional glass enamels. Over our many years of unique experience they have developed working techniques which enable them to carry out every step of the involved process in-house. With satisfied clients all around the world their records show that three people from two generations of the family have restored over 15,000 badges and manufactured over 10,000 new badges as one-offs or small quantity batches. These new badges are usually to replace missing emblems which are no longer manufactured but can also be to clients’ own designs.
Up in the highlands of Scotland this week for a very unusual trip. Ordinarily we travel up and down the country to collect some fantastic classic cars but this long trip was for a collection of classic motorcycles.
After a mammoth 17hr trip home here we welcome our latest additions, 4 classic motorcycles. From left to right; a 1983 Kawasaki Z200-A6, 1966 Velocette Vogue, 1961 Ariel Leader and a 1961 Francis Barnett Trials 85.