Classic Spagthorpe:
Dalmatian

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  • Even less is known of this model, except that it was in production before World War II. Sir Alec Spagthorpe met his death while operating a Dalmatian, though the tragic accident was due in no part to the machine in question.

    I recently took my latest acquisition, a beautifully restored late model Spagthorpe Dalmatian, in to a local mechanic to have the starter mechanism looked at; although the bike was amazingly functional when I bought it, I frequently have a difficult time starting it. After extensive reference to a couple of dogeared manuals, the mechanic, with a somewhat bemused expression, explained to me that it was not my imagination that the bike wouldn’t start if anyone was looking at it—the bike’s magneto was in fact of the (fortunately) rare Lucas-Heisenberg type.

    It is now known that Werner Heisenberg worked with the Nazi government on the creation of nuclear weapons not out of sympathy with their aims but in order to delay and perhaps sabotage the program, a goal he apparently accomplished. What is less well known is that during the same time he also worked as a consultant to BMW, where he designed, among other things, the abovementioned magneto. Unfortunately his similar intent was not discerned by the British industrial spies who made off with the design, which turned up later in a couple of Spagthorpe models of that period. Spagthorpe engineers soon discovered the drawbacks of the purloined German mechanisms and ceased using them, unlike BMW, which continues to incorporate some of Heisenberg’s inventions in their machines to this day.

    Keith says there’s a little known model created by Spagthorpe and Hurley-Pugh in collaboration, called a Spugh.…

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