Malcolm Newell's FFs
Here below is a fairly definitive list of machines built by Malcolm Newell. (words mostly by Paul Blezard) This was not easy to comply bearing in mind that most of the machines had the same trade number plate on them when being used by Malcolm, probably no chassis plate and certainly no "official" Malcom-applied serial number. This list is quite old now. Can anyone fill in more detail?
Malcolm also paid the bills with some work on customs and choppers. On one of my visits to the cottage there was a trike with a wacky open sidecar. Any others? None I can think of, unless there was another Suzuki Quasar. Are the numbers right? Not far off. Malcolm definitely made in excess of 20 road-going machines after 1980-ish when he ceased working on the original Quasars with John Malfoy at Romarsh in Calne. Not bad going, especially when you consider that most of them were built between '80 and '88. Plus he also put Mark Crowson's original Reliant Quasar together in '85 from 'spares'!! There was also the 'conventional' VT250 Honda to which Malcolm added his own patent leg-protecting bodywork and ridden by his kids Gavin and Michaela on the road and pranged by at least one of them!
Malcolm Newell died tragically early, aged only 53, in 1994. He is buried in his own garden at Field Cottage, just yards from his FF workshop. Paul Blezard (PNB) wrote a three-part tribute in the August, September and October '94 issues of Motorcycle Sport.
See also the definitive Quasar Directory
Yamaha LC350 YPVS THS *Two machines built: Chris Baker's and Bruce Reed's. Chris Baker's is the one that I took down to the Bol and back in '86 and wrote about at length in Dec 86 SuperBike. Lobbed it at Paul Ricard when the rear tyre deflated and the arm of the twin head steer lifted the front wheel off the deck. No harm done. Lobbed again in Tours when the instructor at the advanced riding course I attended locked the front wheel and foolishly put his hand out, breaking his wrist. Still no harm done to the bike. Also pranged by Chris when his sleeping bag got tangled up in the rear wheel. STILL no harm to the bike! Very peaky though - always felt as if the YPVS wasn't working properly. Also only did 30mph despite the improved aerodynamics - a bit heavy for an LC, but very comfortable at speed. Bruce Reed rode his to Le Mans one year - 86? I'm back in touch with Bruce (Jan 05) so must find out what happened to his Phasar.
Yamaha SR500 THS Did this ever actually get on the road legally? And if so what happened to it? Ian Kew, for whom it was built , wrote about it in Motorcycle Sport (MCS) and will no doubt be along shortly to tell us more. In 2004 Ian sold his Silver Wing and bought Keith Duckworth's Voyager which he's much happier with than he ever was with the SR Phasar.
Guzzi V50 Phasar This is a pic of Monty Billington sitting in his Tait hub centre-steered machine, which is still alive and living in East Yorkshire. Note the long carb intakes, the panniers and the Flying Banana in the background. I have some nice riding pix with what was then JB's VT500 taken by Murray at the V-twin rally in Shaftesbury, '86. Fast forward to the Noughties and Monty's V50 underwent some fairly radical rear end re-design in the hands of Royce Creasey. I saw it in Monty's garage in the summer of 2003. The seating position seemed much more cramped than I remembered it being in its original form.
See Monty's own website for more info on this and other FFs, including the VT500 which he bought off JB and owned for many years. (In 2005 Monty became the proud and happy owner of the ComforTmax created by Andrew Gibbens and Royce Creasey - see more about it under 'Royce Creasey's creations' www.btinternet.com/~a1.microwave/page21.html PNB Jan 05
Gold Wing Phasar *5 Tim Brown's Grey one was the best because he spent the most time on it. As seen at the FF stand at the BMF in 1987 and written about in MCS by Yrs Trly. He sold it on before he was tragically killed, and the buyer recently popped up with an informative post on the FF discussion group. No doubt someone will add that info some time soon. Then there was Andy Tribble's 'Steaming Mango' GW Phasar- as featured in MCS when Andy wrote his own highly entertaining story about it, illustrated with my pix. He bought it from Andy Rabagliati, but whom did he sell it to? Richard Baughen in Coventry had a red one which I once rode and photographed, and one of my pix of it appeared in a one-off Honda-only German magazine. Then there was the one that the short Scottish chap bought. He was actually at the birth of Royce and Ingrid's first offspring, along with his brother - that might have been the first Gold Wing Phasar. Last seen by me languishing in a shed in Edinburgh in 1985. One of the problems with the WIng Phasars was that although the seat height was low, you needed longer-than average legs to get your feet on the ground because they had to bow around the horizontal cylinders, rather than go behind them as on the standard Wings. Not sure if there was a 5th Wing. Anyone know different? Was there perhaps another one that went to Scotland? PNB Jan 05
VT500 Phasar, aka 'The White Shark' Pictured here on the inside of Monty Billington's V50 Guzzi FF going around a roundabout during the 1986 V-twin rally. This photo was snapped by Neil Murray, who wrote an article about the V-twin rally for SuperBike. This photo subsequently illustrated some words by me for the original London Biker newspaper which I never got paid for! The Shark was built by Malcolm for Julian Bond in a weekend and taken to the IoM TT in 1986 and trail ridden by Julian up to Creg Ny Baa with me on the standard VF500, during which the rear sub-frame broke! Featured in both SuperBike (Nov 86) and, in my FFs at the TT saga, in MCS (Dec 86) . We have lots more pix of this machine. The Shark was undoubtedly one of the most effective 'quick and dirty' FF conversions anyone has ever done, although the subtle mods to the back end seemed to me to give it a slightly disconcerting feel in some situations. Tragically, it was broken for spares in the early Noughties after Monty Billington failed to find a buyer for it in FF form. See his website for more info. www.btinternet.com/~a1.microwave/page21.html PNB Jan 05
Leaning Trike Malcolm's last project, with Chris Baker. Two leaning wheels at the front, with a modified Formula3 racing car body behind, slug-style. Never actually made it onto the road as a legal vehicle. We're not sure if it ever even ran under its own steam - does anyone know different? Malcolm told me he was very impressed with its handling when he was towed in it around the local back-roads! Roy Gardiner's nearly-built nArrow tilter is a clear descendant of this machine. PNB Jan 05
Sports Quasar (better known as 'The Slug') This is a picture of Malcolm sat in his amazing GPZ1100-powered creation on the track leading to Field Cottage. There are some pix of it under construction on Tony Foale's website, taken when I took Tony to meet Malcolm in the mid-80s. The Slug's first owner was Glyn Sparkes who rode it around East Anglia for quite a while in the late 1980s. It currently belongs to Tudor Thomas and is alive and well and living near Wisbech. Tudor has ridden it to several FF gatherings including, memorably, the Malcolm Newell Memorial run of 2000. There was at least one other Slug built with a Z13 engine but it was never completed and was last put on public display in a sorry state at Chris Baker's during the MMM 2000 run. PNB Jan 05
Sports Quasar Avon Prototype This was just a plywood mock-up, but it looked bloody good and very convincing when originally displayed on the Avon stand at a Motorcycle show in the late 70s, surrounded by sexy dolly birds. In contrast, I have a photo of it sitting forlornly outside the Field Cottage workshop, where it lay for many years.
Z13 Cibie SEV This machine was tested by MCW at over 160mph in its original, shorter wheelbase form. It was also shown at first NEC show in 1981, near the Booleroo stand. Looking as you see it here, it featured on the cover of MCS with Chris Baker riding it and there was an article about it by Royce within. Chris sold it to one of JB's fellow Cambridge University bike club alumni, Bob Milsom and Malcolm modified it to carry a passenger. Then Bob took it to Australia and pranged it rather heavily; Bob sold it on before his sad demise and in 2005 Mark Crowson bought and repatriated it to Blighty, still in smashed-up condition and with many of the standard Kawasaki parts missing. Getting back on the road will be a major project (as if Mark didn't have enough to get on with already!) PNB
Quasar MkIIs V50 This machine originally had a roof, but with a standard V50 wheelbase it looked awful. It was built for for John 'One Eye' Golden and left languishing in the front garden of his house near Sunderland for many years. It was rescued and transformed by Eddie McDonnell and now lives near Manchester in this much more, Banana-like form. It looks much more like Monty's Phasar too, and the two Guzzi V50 FFs can be seen together on a CD that Monty has available via his website.
Quasar MkII GS850 (shaft) I think this is the one owned by Alan Eaves; it is much wider than most Quasars.
See Mark Crowson's website for more details. (Click on 'The Quasar Project', left).
Quasar MkII GS1000 (chain) This was originally blue, and it lived, half-finished, at Field Cottage for many years. There is also a Suzuki GS-engined Phasar which Mark Crowson spent a large part of 2004 restoring. See his website for pictures and more info.
Quasar MkI.5 Reliant/Guzzi/HCS I only know of two of these machines. Mark Verden's 'battleship' which featured on the Top Gear prog, with Yrs Trly squeezed in the back after Mark cut the roof off but left the rails. Sadly, it languished in Mark's front garden in Bristol for many years until it became more of an outdoor sculpture than a vehicle. In this condition it featured in the first ever Top Gear magazine before being sold, we believe, to Ed Kaczmarczyk, aka 'Mad Ed the Welsh'. The other Quasar with a Reliant-Guzzi power train is Mark Crowson's 'Quicka Quasar' which is now up and running and which I rode at Nick Roche's funeral in December 2003, alongside Mark riding Nick's own Quasar.
(For pictures of this event, see Mike Howell's motobykz website by clicking on 'The Quasar' at left.) PNB Jan 05
Quasar MkII VF750 This machine originally belonged to Chris Baker. It was featured in SuperBike Nov 86 with Yrs Trly aboard. It was also ridden by Chris to the 86 Cologne motorcycle Show with Ingrid Oesten in the back and integral panniers fitted and then solo down to Monaco and back. It was also present at the Top Gear TV shoot at Wroughton in April 1988. It had a blowing exhaust problem for many years. It now belongs to Malcolm's son Gavin (Bear) and has been worked on by both John Bruce and Royce Creasey. It's potentially a very nice machine and it would be great to see it back on the road. See The Quasar Project for pix of it at the Top Gear shoot. PNB Jan 05
Quasar MkII Z13 Known simply as 'The Thirteen'. This machine was featured in Bike magazine's October '84 issue alongside Neil 'Doc' Vass's original Reliant Quasar across a two page spread. There was also a small pic of Yours Truly riding it on the cover and a much bigger one in my July 2000 Classic Bike article on the Quasar. This bike was also thrashed around Goodwood by Royce Creasey in 1984. It now belongs to Tudor Thomas who bought it with the centre of the roof cut out by its previous owner. At the time of writing it is still off the road but it wouldn't take much to get it roadworthy again. It's a very rideable machine - one of the most user-friendly of all the Quasars in fact, but a bit cramped for people of normal stature because the outer cylinders are where you'd like to put your feet. Two midgets could just about squeeze into it. See Mark Crowson't website for more: www.quasarworld.com.