Aston Clinton success for the Dunkley Whippet 60
The Dunkley Whippet 60 was purchased off of eBay a few years ago. I’d seen mention of one in a Champion spark plug catalogue back in the early seventies and if for no other reason than it was the same name as me (the ‘Dunkley’ not Chris) I had to have one. The previous owner had spent far more on it than was healthy but had done a fine job restoring it to its former beauty but he never managed to get it run. 60 presumably stood for the average number of kicks to get it going!
It shares the same engine as the Mercette (both built by Dunkley of Birmingham the renowned pram manufacturers) and thus the same reliability! It must have the most uncomfortable seat known to mankind which, combined with its two speed crash gearbox, means the only thing going for it (when it goes) is the roarty sound the little engine occasionally makes.
We spent two seasons trying to get the thing to run long enough to get somewhere but eventually we felt it may be able to make to the Aston Clinton Classic Car Show and back without mishap so come the day we blasted forth. Trevor led the way in his MG followed by the Whippet with Jane bringing up the rear in the pickup with scaffold board and tow rope…just in case!
We were determined this was going to be a first for the Dunkley Whippet (not breaking down over the torturous two mile course) and soon bike and rider were threading their way through a eclectic collection of housing estates, over canal bridges and down leafy avenues before speeding recklessly down the outside of the queuing public at Aston Clinton narrowly missing a very large six-wheel drive American WWII army lorry covered in shovels and netting and nipping smartly into the exhibitors’ entrance.
Nestled between a Square Four, Vincent Comet and something with an exhaust pipe bigger than itself, it failed to steal the show but caused much amusement and disbelief, especially when, as soon as it was left alone, it fell off its stand without any help. After a pleasant stroll round the show and auto-jumble (amongst which we found a bizarre model of Auschwitz complete with smoke billowing out of the chimneys!) the time came to adjourn to a more local hostelry. Back at the bike park, quite unexpectantly, the Whippet roared into life first kick, much to amazement of the gathered populace who, last year, witnessed 245 kicks and eighteen spark plugs before ignition occurred. Bows were taken and waves acknowledged and the return journey commenced.
So confident were the team this year that the return ride took in a low pass past Halton Airfield, a trip round the Hunter gate-guard and the long downhill run into Wendover, involving no less than two mini-roundabouts. With the throttle backed off the revvy four-stroke blatted oil out of everywhere. Gunning away from the Clock Tower this marvel of fifties engineering crap finally swept under the archway into the Red Lion car park to the mirth and merriment of the locals.
Parked in the afternoon sun next to Trev’s gleaming red MGB Roadster the bike looked very pleased with itself. Stopping only to pick up the front numberplate, a triumphant rider, Davida helmet in hand, strolled proudly through the speechless smokers to get a well deserved pint or two of Jennings best. Now all that remains to be done is get it taxed and tested!