I’ve been slowly splashing Super Clean on the 1970 Bonneville to see how much off its decrepitude is mouse pee and how much is it simply being an “old”. It seems to be a mix of both.
Sadly, “a mix” means things look better than they initially appeared but probably not good enough to use as-is. At the top of this post is the Arkansas inspection sticker from 1982 on the front fork. The fork itself (including the fender, sadly) is from a 1971 or 1972 machine–I don’t know if the inspection was on the machine the fork originally came from, or if this bike had this fork for at least that long.
From the triple-tree back the bike seems to be fairly original. This seat cover is the right one for a 1970, and looks to be in usable condition, though the Triumph transfer on the back has long since disappeared. I don’t know if the goldish cast to the trim strip is correct, or the sign of a replacement piece. (I’ve mostly seen plain chrome in photos of other 1970 bikes, but I have seen some with the same appearance as mine.)
I haven’t really touched the engine, just the upper bit of the frame, and even that only in a cursory fashion. The exhaust is incorrect, and probably why the center stand was missing. The engine number, however, is correct and indicates a May of 1970 build–I have no idea if that makes this a “late 1970” or not (the engine serial number is in the low 50,000s).
Both coils are the original coils, it looks like, from the date stamped on both. I’ve had lots of coils fail over the years; however, in theory, if the magic oil stays inside, they should last indefinitely.
The broken needle on the speedo is a disappointment, but I’ll see if I can find one, assuming the gauge works. Instrument rebuilds are expensive and while these need their cases repainted, they otherwise look ok.
I wonder if the miles shown, 63,000, is right. That’s a fair number of innings on an old air-cooled Brit bike engine, which means I should probably see if I can get this running before tearing the bike down. My friend thought the bike was fine mechanically and has turned it over monthly for the last 30 years, but it probably would be better to confirm that before chucking it back into a nicely painted frame, eh?