angel sanchez motorcycle workshop

Angel Sánchez, an authentic guy

We are in the workshop / house / museum / warehouse of Angel Sánchez Palazuelos, probably one of the most authentic vintage motorcycle collectors in Madrid, the term meaning a visceral passion without sweeteners or last minute fashions for two-wheelers.

Angel is a pure Madrid pro who has been installed in Villaviciosa de Odón since the distance of 1943. There his father opened a bicycle repair business with a nearby workshop, his name was DEMETRIO SANCHEZ and in Madrid capital he had another small rental premises also of bicycles. This is how the shortage of motor vehicles was defined in those difficult postwar years.

Angel himself tells us that every day, rain or shine, they had to do the route between Madrid and Villaviciosa by pedal power through those bumpy roads of the Spain of hunger. Subsequently, the two-wheel fleet began to be motorized with the primitive Guzzi, Cucciolo, Iresa and other fortune mopeds. Then came the Vespa, a real luxury from 1953 and then the national industry boom, with Montesa, Derbi, Bultaco, Ossa and Sanglas, to name the most prominent brands.

Angel tells us that it was in the mid-sixties when he began to personally assess and try to recover for the asphalt and contemplation many of those motorcycles despised and abandoned in workshops and haystacks:


“The first vintage bike I bought was a Universal, a boxer twin made in Switzerland. I acquired it in Madrid from a man who did not want to continue struggling with the shortage of parts and spare parts and I brought it here to the workshop in a trailer. "

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angel sanchez motorcycle workshop
Angel Sánchez, at the entrance of his lifelong workshop (Photo: Gonzalo Bárcena)

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angel sanchez motorcycle workshop
This Universal has been with him for a long time (Photo: Gonzalo Bárcena)


“My father did not understand at the time why he had bought that strange machine. I put a battery on it and it started the first time. It was black and it was pretty bad, I painted it in a metallic shade and it has worked like a Swiss watch to this day. It never gave a problem and that had the forks of the change welded. "

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Each machine with its history

The space where Angel Sánchez details his beginnings in the world of collecting is a small warehouse of no more than 60 square meters where all kinds of machines overlap in a random way. Vespinos of the first series together with the mentioned Universal bicilíndrica, a pair of Montesas Cota 49, the original Cucciolo of Angel himself, Royal Enfield, BSA, Triumph, Derbi Antorcha, BMW R-27, MV Agusta, Velocette ...

Motorcycles that Angel has bought in El Rastro, in unknown workshops, exchanged for others in impossible exchanges or the product of some poisoned gift from friends, and that he himself has subsequently returned to mechanical life without noise or extra chromaticism. They are there for your contemplation and enjoyment, not to pontificate dogmatically on the history of this or that brand or on the chronological authenticity of this or that piece. They can take to the streets, start their engines and go for a ride listening to old and different mechanical sounds, aromas of other smoke.

angel sanchez villaviciosa workshop
Motorcycles stored haphazardly denote an unconditional love for old machines (Photo: Gonzalo Bárcena)

Among all the machines it stands out for its unmistakable packaging and the characteristic khaki color a Harley Davidson:

[your_quote]“I bought that from Paco Roldán; It is a 7/15 from 1936. It was completely disassembled with all the pieces in several wooden drawers and Paco in turn had bought it from an individual who had it at a gas station on Imperial Street, in Madrid. I put it together meticulously and got the color after a lot of testing and layering and even freehand added the golden fillet ”.[/ su_quote]

angel sanchez motorcycle workshop
Its proportions do not allow this Harley to go unnoticed (Photo: Gonzalo Bárcena)
angel sanchez villaviciosa workshop
The motorcycles are guarded by photos printed by the City Council (Photo: Gonzalo Bárcena)

The slim black silhouette of a Royal Enfield now rests silently beside him; the machine that Angel has used in countless rallies on the asphalt of the province of Madrid:

[your_quote]“It is a single cylinder from 1936, I bought it from a man here in Villaviciosa and originally it had a 350 cc engine with side valves and the suspension cut to couple two telescopic shock absorbers from a Sanglas. I changed the engine; I put a 500 cc on it. with overhead valves and I put back the original rigid suspension ”.[/ su_quote]


At the back of the room there is a Cucciolo to which Angel has a special devotion:

[your_quote]“It is the first motorcycle my father bought me; I previously had an Iresa, which was a bicycle with a small motor. I had the Cucciolo abandoned since the late XNUMXs and I have completely rebuilt it a couple of years ago ”.[/ su_quote]

angel sanchez motorcycle workshop
This Cucciolo had to wait his turn: Only after more than 50 years was it restored (Photo: Gonzalo Bárcena)

On one side you can see a Montesa Brío 90, the “sporty” model derived from the Brío 80, more versatile:

[your_quote]“I bought it at El Rastro, in Madrid at the beginning of the seventies, a gypsy in the Gasometer area sold it for 2000 pesetas, without papers of course.

I asked him if it worked and he said yes and he ripped it off right there with the first kick. I loaded it into the car and brought it to the workshop and my father scoffed at me again. Here it could no longer start because the plate had come loose and the key had broken; I did the repair and after that there was no problem again ”.[/ su_quote]

The unmistakable world of fat

Angel Sánchez has been a regular at the Rallies that were organized around Madrid since the seventies to give air to those polished machines that slept eternal sleep in their owners' garages.

The El Escorial Rally, the Barajas Rally and even he himself organized, for seven editions, from 1984 to 1991, the Villaviciosa de Odón Antique Motorcycle Rally. There is currently a project in the town hall itself to create a Museum with their machines, although Ángel is skeptical in these turbulent political times and budget uncertainties. He would rather have his legacy managed by his son - also a mechanic - and a fan of the classics.

angel sanchez villaviciosa workshop
The Royal-Enfield of Angel Sánchez, companion of battles (Photo: Gonzalo Bárcena)
angel sanchez villaviciosa workshop
The instrument panel, with everything necessary to treat elderly patients (Photo: Gonzalo Bárcena)

The last machine that has passed through the hands of Angel is a BSA B-23 and there she looks proud looking at the street. Then he talks about children's motorcycles; Cota 25, Malanca, Vespino from the first series and immediately afterwards we went to the neighboring room that houses the current motorcycle workshop run by his son, a mechanical workspace to attend the needs of the town's kids with their mopeds, scooters and Japanese sports 125 cc.

Old souvenirs and trophies hang on the walls; crankcase covers, tiny Derbi engines, vintage bicycles, logos, carburetors, yellowed photographs, posters, billboards, in short the inherent decoration to the world of grease and its derivatives. There are also, of course, other technical instruments: tools, workbenches, blackened screws and all the iconographic elements of these luster workshops that we have been visiting to "The Escudería".

Next to the shop window, and facing the public that strolls through the streets of the Madrid town, nothing less than a Triumph T-100, a gift from a friend, dominates… because Angel Sánchez Palazuelos should not be without friends. A man loved and admired in the locality, awarded in September 2013 with the title of “Adoptive Son of Villaviciosa de Odón” and who at 81 years of age is living peacefully in retirement dedicated to his hobby. Without bragging ... and with authenticity.


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Written by Eddie Nail

EDI CLAVO - Drummer and composer in the Spanish rock group GABINETE CALIGARI. Graduated in Art History (UCM) and collaborator in written press (El País, ABC, Diario 16) as well as in specialized musical magazines (Rock de Luxe, Route 66, Rolling Stone) and motor ... Read More

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