Jump to content

Help with 1945 James ML

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone.


First post here. I joined the forum hoping to find some help with my 1945 James ML. I was left it by my mother who was left it by her father (I know I'll try and keep it short) who purchased it off the Vicar (don't all laugh) of Iybridge, Devon.


I was told the vicar wanted transportation and was granted the use of this motorcycle. It was repainted (by the factory?) in black with silver side pannels. However the engine must have been rather tricky to get all the green paint off as there is still a fair bit of it in the harder to get at places.


From what I was told it was a military bike converted to road spec for the vicar, however its frame number is ML12326 and it engine number is AAA28098A which reading what I can says its a later model.


The bike was first registered on 10/12/45.


It would seem to be very standard, only have a brake light fitted and a rather nice tartan seat cover.


Looking over the bike some parts say ML7 and some ML8. It has its orginal tool kit with James ML spanner and looks rather good really.


Its been in the cellar since 1978 and today is the first time its seen light since.


Just waiting for my camara to charge and I will upload some pictures.


Would anyone be willing to help answer a few of these questons?


Many thanks



Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your reply.


What parts of the bike look military? I've read though a few topics on here about the James and it seems the military ones didn't have a speedo, or the longer rear mudguard plus the footrests. Is that about the only differences?


I still find it interesting that if it did start life as a "normal" ML why its engine has been painted green then stripped.


Thanks again



Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are a couple more pictures that might help. You can see some of the green paint on the crank cases below the chain and also in the close up picture. Sorry they arnt that good. The bike is back in the cellar now and its raining out side.










Link to post
Share on other sites

It certainly has civilian mudguards (though some of James' own pictures show the military ML fitted with the longer mudguards). Non folding civilian footrests are fitted. It looks like a civilian stand aswell. You're right in saying the military bike wasn't fitted with a speedo. It is fitted with a civilian headlamp unit as the light switch on the military lamp sits much lower beneath the apeture that would have housed the ameter. The other instantly noticeable thing is it has a standard petrol cap and not a 'nipple' cap of the military bikes.


On the military side of things it has the military handlebars but is missing the lock/unlock lever as does mine. It has the all important tubular tool kit as opposed to the triangular one. I can't see the rear wheel sprocket to see whether it is solid or whether it is slotted. Interesting ly the spark plug and decompressor have been swopped over. Normally looking from above sat on the seat the spark plug is on the left.


As far as the engine is concerned military bikes had engine numbers begining with the triple A. Triple 'A' engines were fitted according to records from 03/43 until 1944. However the frame number doesn't fit into the military range of war time production.


So is it a military bike civilianised or is it a civilian bike fitted with a large number of military parts? Difficult one to answer but because of it's date of registration it would point more to an early civilian machine which was possibly made using the left over military parts. The very eary civilian models were simply military ML's, that were never delivered due to the contract being canceled, repainted for the civilian market.


Enjoy it for what it is. You'll get great pleasure showing it off. My ML always creates great interest wherever it goes. Word of warning though make sure it runs as it is something everyone asks and the sound always brings a smile to their faces, that's if you can see them through the two stroke smoke!!


I know it sounds a little contradictory but you knowing its history will help you decide what you think it is. Hope this info helps you a little.






Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks very much, fantastic information. I had no idea what the bike was so any help was going to be worthwhile.


I'll take some pictures of the rear wheel and sprocket in a bit and maybe you could cast you eye over them too. If there anything else worth looking at?


I've never heard the bike running, it was put in the cellar before I was born! I'll do my best to sort it out though and see how I get on.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...

Seems to of been quite a bit of ML chat as of late.


I've been trying to get mine to run but I'm in need of the flywheel magnets re-magnertising (spelling). Is there anyone who can be recommended for this?


I also found a small box of ML parts which include folding footrests which came with the bike when it was purchased in the '80's so things are moving forward.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 9 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...