Best Kept Secret: 1961 BSA Super Rocket

It took owner John O’Regan nearly 12 years to gather all the needed pieces to rebuild his rare BSA Super Rocket.

1961 BSA Super Rocket

1961 BSA Super Rocket

Photo by Phillip Tooth

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1961 BSA Super Rocket
Claimed power: 43hp @ 5,750rpm
Top speed: 105mph (claimed)
Engine: 646cc air-cooled OHV parallel twin, 70mm x 84mm bore and stroke, 8.3:1 compression ratio  (7.25:1 stock)
Weight (dry): 430lb (762mm)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 4.8 gal (18ltr)/45-55mpg (est.)
Price then/now: $850 (approx.)/$4,000-$12,000

John O’Regan will never forget the weekend in 1990 when his daughter was born. It was also the weekend he bought three motorcycles.

“My daughter Aoife arrived on the Friday,” John explains. “I realized that my wife, Bernice, would need our car to get about and so I had to find a motorcycle to ride to work. I put the word out and a friend told me about an MZ for sale, so I thought, if it is cheap enough that will do!” On Saturday John traveled from his home in Cork, Ireland, to Limerick, Ireland, to look at the MZ. It was a bargain, with just 76 miles on the clock. The owner threw in a second one for spares, and he only wanted IR£100 (about $170 U.S.) for the lot. John snapped them up. Then on Sunday he was told about a BSA A10. “It was a 1961 Super Rocket that had been left in the garage of a house that was being auctioned on Monday, so if I wanted it I had to get there right away,” John recalls.

What he saw didn’t exactly set his pulse racing. There was a rolling chassis with a Taylor Dow front brake, a ratty seat, the original oil tank, a fiberglass fuel tank, one fender, a headlight, and the remains of the engine and gearbox. The asking price was IR£130 (about $220 U.S.) “We settled on IR£120 [$200]. It was all I had left after buying the MZs,” he laughs. “That was quite a weekend — I got a daughter and three motorcycles!”

Order the September/October 2014 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about the 1961 BSA Super Rocket. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email.