About the author
Paul Grogan came into the world in 1954 when, amongst other things, Roger Bannister ran the first sub four-minute mile, Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister, the worlds first jet airliner - the De-Havilland Comet 1 - crashed into the Mediterranean Sea, food rationing was abolished after 14 years and the first episode of Hancock’s Half Hour was broadcast on the radio.
In the 1960’s, his average academic achievements at the local junior school resulted in his frustrated parents offering to buy him one of the new, trendy Moulton bicycles if he was successful in passing the 11+ school exam and gaining entry into the local Grammar school. Having passed the exam, the Moulton Speed M4 was duly purchased in July 1965!
A career in automotive engineering started in 1970 followed by marrying Jayne in September, 1976. Working for the local car manufacturer (Rover) meant the Moulton was regularly used as the means of getting to and from work. It even survived a ‘restoration’ involving a frame re-spray and suspension rebuild in 1978!
In the early 1980’s, it seemed like a good idea to leave England to seek fame(?) and fortune elsewhere in the world. Paul and Jayne emigrated to South Africa in 1982 only to return three years later - more the wiser but none the richer! A brief spell with Aston Martin Tickford in Coventry, then a short term in management at a minibus manufacturer in Birmingham was followed by a return to the Land Rover Company, Solihull in 1989.
The 1990’s almost came and went with little to add except for a mid-life crisis in 1994 resulting in the purchase of a shiny, new Mazda MX-5 sportscar! This in turn led to jointly forming the successful national MX-5 Owners’ Club with a like-minded enthusiast. By then, the Moulton had already been consigned to the loft as a lack of storage space at home and the new car meant it was no longer being ridden.
Into the 2000’s and a change of work direction meant volunteering for redundancy from Land Rover to start a new life trying to run his own business selling tailor-made sports car luggage sets. A casual comment from a friend in 2001 led to the Moulton being retrieved from the loft. After pumping up the tyres and going for a ride, the boyhood enthusiasm for the Moulton returned. However, the bike had suffered over the years and so joining the Moulton Bicycle Club, going to the annual September meeting to purchase new or missing parts and buying the Tony Hadland Moulton book was necessary. Tony’s book was full of information, history and some outline specifications but Paul was disappointed at the lack of information regarding his own red Speed M4 machine. After piecing together the original specification for the Speed and showing it to Michael Woolf of Moulton Preservation fame, he was met with the comment: ‘Great work! When are you going to do the other models?’
A rapid learning of the other 15 models in the full ‘classic’ range then followed resulting in the original 40 page soft-back book - The ‘classic’ Moulton - being written and self-published in 2002. The first 100 copies rapidly sold out and were followed by another print run of 150. These too sold out quickly and the book went out-of-print. But, by now the knowledge base had rapidly increased and the first book was ready for revising and updating. The hardback edition of The ‘classic’ Moulton followed in 2004 with an increase in size and a print run of 400.
The next logical step was to write about the Moulton mini machines and resulted in a follow-on book – The marvellous Moulton mini – being published in 2007. Unfortunately, by this time stocks of The ‘classic’ Moulton book were running so low that it too went out-of-print shortly after. Putting it back into print was possible but there had been such a lot learnt with the Moulton mini book. More information regarding the ‘classic’ Moultons had also been discovered. The end result was The ‘classic’ Moulton - New and expanded edition self-published in 2009.
Now the ‘home-market’ had been covered but not the Moultons sold overseas and those made abroad. A lot of relevant information had already been gathered over the preceding years but with one exception – the Australian Moulton Malvern Star. Another book was out of the question if it did not contain information on all the different models. The problem was solved in 2011 when some missing files containing the elusive information came to light at The Hall, Bradford-on-Avon. ‘Classic’ Moultons abroad was written over the winter of 2011/2012 and self-published in September 2012. Fortunately, Alex Moulton was able to see it published before sadly passing away in December 2012.
This final book now completes the story of the ‘classic’ and mini F frame Moultons regarding their specifications and model types. Paul hopes you enjoy reading his books and welcomes your comments or updates. If they inspire you to go out and purchase or to restore and take pleasure from riding a ‘classic’ piece of 20th century design and engineering, then it will all have been worth while.
May all your small wheel rides have the wind behind you as you quickly discover why all Moulton riders have that secret smile on their faces.
The original biography above was written for the old 'Classic' Moulton website and finished at this point in 2012, but the story carries on; in 2013, The ‘classic’ Moulton - New and expanded edition went 'out-of-print' once again. Printing and self-publishing books was an expensive business and, at that time, the minimum quantity for a reprint was 300 books. A serious amount of cash up front was required, so it remained 'o-o-p'.
Paul had been involved with other things during his life and the Bond Minicar, made in Preston, Lancashire had been a major part of his life since buying his first Bond back in 1969. A book about the company and its vehicles had also been an 'on and off' project since 1987 but it had never progressed too far for numerous reasons. And then in 2017 he discovered 'digital printing'. Getting this very limited, niche market Bond book into low-volume print suddenly became a reality and 'Sharp's Commercials and Bond Cars Limited' was self-published in May 2018.
With the success of getting this printed, it became obvious it wouldn't take too much effort to rework the original The ‘classic’ Moulton - New and expanded edition files and put it back into print. There was also the added bonus of being able to include some previously unseen photographs taken inside the legendary Moulton 'S' Unit at Bradford-on-Avon which had come to light after the 2009 print run.
Many evening hours spent over the summer of 2018 managed to get sufficient stocks printed and available for the annual Moulton meeting at The Hall, Bradford-on-Avon. When these almost sold out on the first day, it confirmed there was still a large demand for the book and it now remains in print for the foreseeable future.