1938 FN 500cc Model M11 'Super Touring'
Registration no. EB 746 (Belgian)
Frame no. 6313
Engine no. 6102
Like BSA, La Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre ('FN' for short) began as a munitions manufacturer, turning to the production of motorcycles around 1900. Best known for its sensational four-cylinder models, the first of which appeared in 1905, the Belgian company demonstrated the same innovative spirit in the design of its singles, being among the first to adopt unitary construction of engine and gearbox, permitting the use of geared primary drive.
The machine offered here is an example of the M11, a model produced from 1937 to 1947 during which time circa 782 were completed, most prior to WW2. An advanced design for the period, the M11 featured unitary construction of the all alloy engine/gearbox, Bosch electrics, key-operated ignition and handlebar-mounted headlight dip switch. Expensive to produce, the M11 was priced at 9,500 French Francs in 1938 (approximately equivalent to £950 at that time) and was a highly prized acquisition among the occupying German forces during WW2.
Very few examples of this model have survived. There are a handful left in Europe and this particular machine is believed to be the only one in the UK. Last taxed in Belgium in 1958 by the then owner, Paul Dirix, the machine was cosmetically restored 35 years ago and has covered only 5,700 kilometres (approximately 3,500 miles) from new. Unfortunately, its owner passed away immediately after the restoration's completion.
The FN has been kept in dry storage since then and has been looked after by the previous owner's widow (now 86 years old). The engine is dry and free from oil leaks; indeed, the oil is still clear in appearance. We are advised that the machine starts and rides beautifully with no signs of leaks, coughing, spitting, backfiring, etc. Compression is very good and the de-compressor starting device works well. The tyres are 'as new' Avon Supremes (they still have the moulding bobbles on the tread) and the 6-volt battery is new. Everything is stated to be original and the only parts required are the advance/retard control cable and front brake cable. The machine is offered with some of the detached original components: cables, rubber tank pads and a rear carrier.