c.1913 FN 285cc Model 285 Single
Registration no. BL 2663
Frame no. 10926
Engine no. 2223
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. FN produced both chain- and shaft-driven bicycles and soon applied the latter transmission system to its motorcycles. In 1900 the firm's first powered two-wheeler was produced by mounting a clip-on engine in a bicycle frame, and in December the following year the first production model arrived, powered by a 133cc single-cylinder engine. FN's single-cylinder models evolved gradually, growing in size firstly to 188cc and then 224cc, before arriving at 285cc in 1913 by which the atmospheric inlet valve had given way to a mechanically operated one. Variable-pulley transmission had been introduced on the belt-driven singles in 1907 but would be superseded by shaft drive in 1910, its introduction coinciding with that of the two-speed gearbox.
Equipped with Miller headlamp and Lucas acetylene generator, this FN Model 285 dates from 1913 and comes with two photographs showing it on the Pioneer Run. The accompanying old-style Swansea V5 records the date of original registration as 6th April 1922, this being shortly after the introduction of the Roads Act of 1920, which required local councils to register all vehicles at the time of licensing and to allocate a separate number to each. (Many vehicles, although in existence for several years in some cases, were only registered for the first time after the Act's passing). Other documentation on file includes three expired MoTs (most recent 2000), expired tax disc (30th June 2000) and two SORNs.
- The frame number is 42592.