So I go to see this '52 Pan that's advertised in a classic bike magazine, about two hours drive away, and the bloke selling it is obviously gutted to have to let it go. I had to borrow his tools to get the bash plate off to check the (matching) belly numbers, and his wife brought out tea and biscuits to strengthen our resolve for the negotiations ahead.
While I fiddled about with the spanners we talked about life and motorcycles. We raved about KH250s – the hooligan bike of our youth – and how easy it was to pass the motorcycle test back in the day. He told me about the various 60s Camaros, Chevelles and Mustangs he'd owned, many of them picked up for under a grand in the eighties. He admitted he's unable to start the Pan any more due to an accident, so I kicked it over following the instructions he had written on a couple of sheets of paper (on the seat); I'm not familiar with Linkerts or manual advance/retard controls, so it was all fun. The bike fired up in a cloud of black smoke then settled down and idled well.
I made him an offer and it took him a long, long time (and a discussion with his missus) to finally accept. He made me assure him the bike would be ridden regularly. I hated having to knock him down, especially as he obviously cherished the bike and needed the dough, but also because he's a genuinely nice bloke; passionate about H-Ds. The whole experience was civilised and pleasant... unlike some of the many two-wheeled purchases I've made over the years.
I'll have it home soon.