Opperman rode for the Malvern Star cycle company, whose proprietor, Bruce Small, was BSA’s Australian agent. BSA therefore sponsored Opperman in the years before WW2 to break place-to-place and other distance records in Great Britain. He broke the Land’s End-John o’ Groats record in 1934 in 2d 9h 1m; and then the 1,000-mile record in 3d 1h 52m. He also took London-York in 9h 23m; and the 12-hour record after 243 miles.
In 1935 he set the 24-hour record with 461.75 miles and broke London-Bath-London with 10h 14m 42s; Land’s End-London with 14h 9m; and shared the tandem record for London-Bath-London with Ernie Milliken, in 8h 55m 34s. He broke London-Portsmouth-London in 1937 with 6h 33m 30s. In each case, rather than wearing the cycling clothes he wore everywhere else for racing, he had to wear a black jacket and black tights that reached to his shoes. They were required by the Road Records Association to make riders ‘inconspicuous.’
In the 1930s, Hubert Opperman was big news in cycling racing in Great Britain. To commemorate his record-breaking feats on BSA bicycles, BSA brought out a special top-of-the-range BSA bicycle which they named the ‘Oppy.’
Not to be outdone, in 1936, Sun Cycle Co – one of BSA’s main competitors at this time – reciprocated with their own top-of-the-range model, which they named the ‘Special Aussie.’ However, the following year Sun updated their model range and, as a result, the ‘Special’ Aussie was renamed the ‘Aussie.’
The original 1936 ‘Special Aussie’ was actually only in production for 3 months before being upgraded, so few were produced. The example featured here is a very rare survivor of this historic model.
1936 Sun Special Aussie
Frame No CW 2109
This Special Aussie is in original unrestored condition, with its transfers and much of the paintwork intact. As per the catalogue spec, the front forks are chrome-plated, Resilion ‘A’ brake is fitted to the rear, and it’s a fixed gear machine. The weight is 25lbs.
1936 SUN CATALOGUE
1937 SUN CATALOGUE