One of the oldest British motorcycle manufacturers, the Birmingham Small Arms Company began building bikes with proprietary power as early as 1903 and by 1909 were using their own engines, starting with a 3.5 horsepower belt-driven single. BSA went on to become one of the most successful of all British manufacturers, both on and off the track, building a diverse range of bikes through the 1920s and 1930s that kept the company alive during the Depression. Based on a DKW design, the Bantam was a lightweight 125cc motorcycle initially launched in October 1948, the original D1 model featuring telescopic forks, a rigid rear end, direct electrics and was only available in a Mist Green colour scheme. The two-stroke single-cylinder engine employed unit construction and the barrel was of cast iron, plus an alloy head. Ignition was initially by a Lucas battery-powered coil but later models used a Wipac magneto. The original “fish tail” exhaust system was superseded by a conventional silencer while the frame was completely redesigned to accommodate plunger rear suspension (optional from 1950) followed by swing-arm technology. Well-made, reliable and offering excellent fuel economy, the Bantam sold in large numbers into the 1960s, the original D1 spawning numerous off-shoots such as the 150cc D3 Major, 175cc D5 Super and the off-road Bushman popular in markets like Australia and Africa.