I bought it in 1972. If I had been able to wave the magic wand and get the bike I wanted, it would have been a Triumph Bonneville. Two of my buddies had Bonnevilles, and I loved BSAs, British bikes, but I just happened to be slightly fixated on Triumph. And so, when a classmate said, "I've got this bike, $350, it's a BSA," I said, "Oh, well, it's not a Triumph Bonneville, but it's a BSA." I have to admit, I wanted a bike with a 2-gallon tank. That's a 4-gallon tank, and skinny little chrome fenders, and not such large side covers, just because I thought that looked sportier.

This didn’t look sporty, because it wasn’t the color it is now, for one thing. It was red, but it was more of a deep, faded-out burgundy. It took awhile for it to grow on me. And then every time we went out for a ride, my buddies on their Triumphs were stopped on the side of the road trying to keep the things running. After I bought the thing, for 10 years I didn’t do anything but put gas in it, and oil and tires when it needed them. It was the most reliable thing going—then some mice ate the wiring and that complicated things a little bit. But I got it because I wanted a British motorcycle, the price was right, and I flat-out loved it.

They don’t make ‘em like this anymore. Owner Clay Devening shows off his 1962 BSA A65.Zach Bowman
Bike: 1962 BSA A65
Rider: Clay Devening
Age: 69
Home: Lexington, Virginia
Occupation: Retired Dentist

I put about 10,000 miles on it in the years right after I bought it, and then eventually it just sat in our carport for 10 years. It was really sad-looking. I hated that faded burgundy so much that I took all the body parts off and painted it green. It looked like somebody had splattered spinach on it. When you just take a spray can to it, it never comes out looking like you thought it was going to look. About a year and a half ago, I took it over to Mechanicsville, Virginia, to Ron Grim at G6 MotoSports; he’s exclusive to British bikes and vintage Harleys, and for the first time ever, a mechanic got into the engine. I had the head done, and man, did it sound good. I rode it back from Richmond that day and spent the next 500 miles just breaking it in.

Clay Devening, 69, purchased this ‘62 BSA A65 in 1972. He logged 10,000 miles on it during his first few years of ownership. G6 MotoSports out of Mechanicsville, Virginia gave the engine a good tune-up, making this British built machine run and sound like new. Although its 56 years old, the styling of this BSA motorcycle is timeless.Zach Bowman

I gave a minute’s thought to selling it when we moved up here, and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Other than my family, it is the most continuous part of my life. You know, I jump on and ride it, and it feels just like when I first bought it. I am a much better rider now than I was then. I was lucky that I didn’t hurt myself those first few years. But riding is what it’s for. It’s got a low center of gravity and just drops into curves like nobody’s business. It sticks to the road with just nothing between me and the wind. I don’t know, it’s just kind of like feeling youthful again. I’m not over the hill yet, but you know.