1913 Sunbeam 6hp V-Twin
Registration no. M 3122
Frame no. 1058
Engine no. 40694
The first Sunbeam motorcycle - a 350cc side-valve single - left the Wolverhampton premises of John Marston, hitherto a manufacturer of finest quality enamelled goods, bicycles and - latterly - cars, in 1912. Designed by Harry Stevens (later to found AJS) the 2¾hp Sunbeam was equipped with a two-speed countershaft gearbox and fully enclosed all-chain drive, proving an instant success in an era when the norm was hub gears and belt-drive. Like Marston's other products, his motorcycles soon established a reputation for sound construction and exemplary finish. Their racetrack performances did nothing to discourage sales either. Howard Davies (later to found the H.R.D. marque) finished second in the 1914 Senior TT on his and Sunbeam's first visit to the Island, and Tommy De La Hay inherited victory in the 1920 Senior after George Dance, also Sunbeam-mounted, retired while leading. Sunbeam's second model was the John Greenwood-designed 3½hp of 1913. A sidevalve single like its predecessor, the 3½hp came with a three-speed hand-change gearbox and fully enclosed oil-bath chaincases, the latter first seen on the company's bicycles. To extend its range into the sidecar-towing market, Sunbeam turned to proprietary engines from JAP, Abingdon King Dick and MAG, the first of these v-twin-engined models - with JAP power unit - appearing in the 1914 catalogue. This 770cc, 6hp model was produced for the 1914 season only, being superseded by an AKD-powered version for 1915.
M 3122 was first registered on 4th November 1913 to one Ebenezer Machin, of Congleton, Cheshire and comes with a copy of the related entry in the Register of Motor Cycles, supplied by the Cheshire County Archives. Attached to a wicker sidecar, the Sunbeam was offered for sale, following owner Peter Greens death, at Bonhams Olympia auction in December 2002 (Lot 1007) where it was purchased by Brian Verrall. Many nations used Sunbeam motorcycle combinations for military purposes during The Great War, and M 3122 is believed to have been used as a despatch rider's machine. At that time it was recorded that the Sunbeam had been restored in the late 1980s and had not run for eight years. Believed one of only three similar machines surviving, this rare Veteran Sunbeam v-twin is offered with documentation to include assorted correspondence; (copy) Sunbeam brochure extract; Pioneer Certificate; expired MoT (1991-1992); copy, old-style V5 and current Swansea V5C documents; and a quantity of photographs.
Courtesy of Bonhams and The Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club, complimentary inclusion in the 71st Pioneer Run for Veteran Motorcycles is included with this Lot. The Run takes place on the 22 March 2009.