1935 Calthorpe 500cc Ivory Major
Registration no. RV 6501
Frame no. M3 1279
Engine no. M3 1349
Manufactured by the Minstrel & Rea Cycle Company, of Birmingham, the first Calthorpe motorcycle appeared in 1909 powered by a 3.5hp White & Poppe engine. The following year there were no fewer than six Calthorpe models displayed at the Motor Cycle Show at Olympia, some of which featured an free engine clutch and two-speed gear. Precision-engined models, including a 5/6hp v-twin, joined the line-up a few years later together with an overhead-valve Tourist Trophy model. By 1919 the range had shrunk to just two lightweight models: a 293cc JAP and a Peco-powered two-stroke. In 1928 the first of the famous Ivory Calthorpes appeared, so called because of its distinctive finish to fuel tank and mudguards. By 1930 the Ivory had gained a new 350cc overhead-valve inclined engine with twin-port cylinder head. Two new Ivories were added for 1932: a 250cc two-stroke with Villiers-based engine - the Ivory Minor - and a 494cc version of the ohv model. The Minor lasted for little more than a season before the Calthorpe range was reduced to just the 494cc Ivory Major. The Minor was revived in 1934, but this time with a 250cc four-stroke engine, while the 350 returned for 1935 as the Ivory Junior. South London dealers Pride & Clarke held exclusive sales rights to the range for 1937 but Calthorpe would not survive for much longer, going into receivership in 1938. The brand was revived briefly post-war by DMW, though production machines used the latters name only.
This rare 500cc Ivory Calthorpe was purchased by the vendors father in March 1973, having had four owners previously, and placed in garage storage from circa 1976. Restoration commenced in 2002 but was slowed by the owners illness, and had not been completed when he died in May 2006. We are advised that nearly every part has been restored, with only the exhausts (which are supplied) remaining to be fitted and sundry other minor tasks carried out. The machine is offered with old-style logbook and sold strictly as viewed.