Feature Vehicle of the Month



1966 BSA 650 Twin Lightning

Owners: Howard and Kendra Gilkes, Florida Region members

BSA Birmingham Small Arms

(Racers referred to them as Balls, Steel, Attitude)


After closing the deal by telephone the night before, Howard and Kendra Gilkes drove down to Okeechobee, FL rented a U-Haul trailer, arranged for trailer lights wiring, transferred title, spent the night and hauled the 1966, 650 Twin BSA Lightning motorcycle back to Orlando. That was on 11/27/01, fifty (50) years after Howard last rode his 500cc BSA Single. In 1951 Howard was riding his BSA in Daytona Beach when a taxi cab ran a stop sign and slammed into his right leg and motorcycle. Eventually both his leg and motorcycle would be put back together, but an olive green 1938 Chrysler Royal would start his next fifty (50) years of four-wheel transportation.


In 2004, fifty (50) BSAs were invited to race on the Daytona International Speedway to commemorate BSAs winning the first five places in the1954 200 Mile National Motorcycle Championship. The commemorative race was sanctioned by the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA). It included 3 laps around the entire track including the dog leg. Howard and the late John Bowman arranged to be in that fifty; one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. I didn’t win the race; but I also didn’t die trying.


In 1903, the first BSA motorcycle was made using a belt-driven 233cc Minerva engine producing 3.5 horsepower mounted on a strengthened and sprung bicycle frame.


During the 1973 production year, Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited went out of business.


Statistics for the 650 Twin Lightning:


Manufacturer BSA

Carburetion Twin Amal 932

Wheel Base 55 inches

Top Speed 105 mph

Dry Weight 354 pounds

Seat Height 33” inches

Power Output 38 BHP at 5,600 rpm

Speedometer Maximum125 mph

Tachometer Maximum 10,000 rpm

Brakes Cable drum, front and rear

Tyres 3.25 x 19”





Next Club Meeting...


The Florida Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7 P.M. at the Kress Memorial Church of Seventh-Day Adventists, 746 Formosa Av, Winter Park, Florida 32789. Located 2 blocks south of Fairbanks Avenue.






Next Club Activity


Florida Region Garage Tour, Winter Park & DeLand, FL

June 14, 2015 (Sunday)