Can-Am Oddballs

Can-Am are infamous for producing various models of bikes that never showed up in any of the official records – such as 125 models in later years when supposedly no such bike was produced – or for specification combinations that differ from official models.

Below are couple of examples – fact or fiction who knows, but the bikes exist!

Desert Racer?

Colin Wilson, an ex-Bombardier employee recently sent me this picture which appears to be a factory prototype desert racer or long range enduro machine.

It is believed the picture dates from around 1978, due mainly to the grey frame which was only in 1978. It may be a preproduction product as there were no Qualifier type bikes in the 1978 model year, and this may have been a possible introduction for a very limited bike similar to the 1976 175O/R model.

From a technical perspective while this does appear to have a 61 mm long stroke motor with premix it does not have an exhaust consistent with that motor, in fact the exhaust appears to be the optional exhaust for the old TNT 250.Which again would indicate this was perhaps a early product presentation, often these were not technically correct in every detail.

The larger 77 Qualifier tank does suggest a design for longer range off road events , which may have include desert events as well as use as an enduro model .

Colin believes the photo was taken in Valcourt, and was just in a box of material that he had acquired someplace in his travels. To my knowledge this bike was never produced.

Fun Machine

One bike that often shows up for sale, yet never appears in any Can-Am brochures or manuals is the Fun Machine.  The main reason is that the bike is a true parts bin special.

When Can-Am stopped producing the TnT in 1977, it had a surplus of parts for the bike, including large amount of 125 engines. To help finance the whole bike programme, a number of 125 bikes were assembled using the surplus parts and sold to selected dealers as the Fun Machine.

I know very little about these bikes, so if you have one can you drop me an email and tell me about it?

 

 

 

 

Fluff Brown Can-Am

To anyone involved in classic motorcycles the name Fluff Brown is synonymous with the AJS Stormer motorcycle. But Fluff also has a history with Can-Am.

One of only 5 ever made, the Fluff Brown Can-Am is a truly unique bike. When the British military decommissioned their Can-Am’s, Fluff bought several and adapted them for enduro use. Using aftermarket plastics, an AJS Stormer front end, deep flanged alloy rims and an early  KTM alloy tank, Fluff created a rather special bike. I personaly own this bike and have now tracked down the were-abouts of the other 4, of which one has been scrapped leaving only 4 complete bikes.

The original importer of Can-Am’s in the UK was Andover Norton, which were the remnants of the Norton Villiers (owners of AJS) marquee after being plunged into bankruptcy.  Fluff Brown (the man behind the AJS Stormer) purchased the rights to manufacture the Stormer and in September 1974 moved the business to Andover. In 1979, they signed a deal to imported Can-Am’s.

AJS Motorcycles Ltd. is now headed by Nick Brown (eldest son of Fluff) and since 2002 have distributed a range of 124 cc to 300 cc Chinese produced bikes, along with still supplying spare parts to the AJS Stormer range of bikes.

Thanks to a chance email from David Rice, I have now tracked down the fate of all 5 bikes, of which now only 4 still exist, with David breaking one for parts before he realised what it was! Of the 4 bike, its believed only mine has the AJS front end.

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