About Us > Gordon's Bikes
1949 350cc Bullet
My love affair with the 350 Bullet began in 1985. At that time I owned a 1963 Crusader, my first British bike, but what I really wanted was a 350. In 1987, on a six month trip to India, I fulfilled my ambition when I bought a brand new all red 350 Deluxe from the Madras factory. I toured India and Nepal on it.
However, it wasn't until 1995 that I bought an ‘old' Bullet - a 1952 350 which I picked up in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Even though nothing was missing from the bike this was very much a restoration project. Over the next decade the bike travelled with me, spending two years in my office in Wellington, which provided a talking point for visiting business people, six months in a New Zealand factory hidden behind cabinets and several years buried under all my household possessions in a storage unit (the first of three).
Then in 2001 the Bullet was shipped to England and lived in a ramshackle garage until the engine was sent to Andy Berry for restoration. You can follow the complete restoration process in a step-by-step illustrated guide in The Bullet-In available from this website.
Meanwhile, the frame and cycle parts stayed in a camper van for one winter then were squirreled away in various cupboards London flat I rented. The fact I got these parts in and out of the flat over a whole year without the landlady noticing should gain me entry to the Magic Circle!
After painting and the start of assembly in 2004 I had a change of mind. I removed the 350 engine from its frame - they were never original matching numbers - and I replaced it with a specially built engine to create a 1953 500 Bullet (you can also see this listed under Gordon's Bikes). I advertised in Old Bike Mart for a 1949 frame and to my delight a former subscriber to The Bullet-In responded; he had one which had been first registered in June 1949. The frame, along with a collection of scavenged early English Bullet cycle parts, is currently being stove-enamelled battleship grey, a colour copied from the original rear wheel hub I'm using.
I will begin final assembly the bike once all the paintwork is completed. I aim to create a finish as close to a 1949 model as possible. I have all the parts I need apart from the exhaust system. Watch this space for updated photographs as work progresses!