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1940 BSA WM20

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IMG_7132.jpg
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1940 BSA WM20

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At the onset of the Second World War, the Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) was already Britain’s largest motorcycle manufacturer with a history of military supply, including sidecar and weapon-mounted varieties.

Surprisingly, WM20 was initially considered a failure by the War Office in 1936 due to low ground clearance and unnecessary engine wear: the piston and cylinder had to be replaced every 6,000 miles! As the war progressed, the WM20 evolved into one of the most numerous and long-serving motorcycles in military history. They were considered fondly for their low-compression motors that provided plenty of low-end torque.

In 1940, the original factory in Small Heath, Birmingham was bombed by the Luftwaffe. Production was then scattered across numerous locations. As metal materials were scarce, unneeded components like the front and rear number plates began to disappear from the production process. Towards the end of the war, even the rubber control bits became replaced by canvas.

Our model came to us as a very incomplete “roller” from which point we finished the restoration.

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