1938 OEC 497cc Commander
Registration no. EUW 560
Frame no. 388849
Engine no. 388849
Best remembered for its curious 'duplex' form of steering gear and Claude Temple's record-breaking exploits on the mighty OEC-Temple-Anzani, the Osborn Engineering Company commenced motorcycle manufacture in 1914. The Gosport-based firm began by making motorcycles under contract to engine manufacturer Blackburne before marketing machines under its own name from 1920. OEC also made its own engines under the 'Atlanta' name but mainly relied on proprietary power units from JAP. As well as the patented duplex steering, introduced in 1927, the firm offered rear springing from 1929. An option at first, this looked like a 'plunger' arrangement but in fact used a pivoted fork. By the late 1930s the rear springing was standard and the duplex steering optional. JAP and Matchless engines were used towards the middle of the decade, then AJS engines from early 1937 onwards.
This rare OEC comes with correspondence from the immediately preceding owner, Martin Shelley (the VMCC's OEC marque specialist), stating that the machine is believed to have been mothballed during the war years and that from 1950 onwards it formed part of the Comerford's museum collection at the firm's Thames Ditton showrooms. The OEC was sold when the collection was dispersed in 1999 following John Comerford's death, passing directly to Mr Shelley, who states that he covered 'a fair mileage on the bike including a memorable tour of northern France in 2004'. The current vendor bought the machine from Mr Shelley in 2007 but has covered only a few miles on it due to his poor health. Recent work has included re-plating some of the chromed parts, repainting the fuel tank and rear mudguard, and removing the cylinder head to inspect the piston and bore, which were found to be satisfactory. Described as in generally good condition and riding well, the machine is offered with old-style logbook, reproduction AJS parts list (BMS), some expired tax discs and MoTs, current road fund licence/MoT (Northern Ireland) and old/current Swansea V5/V5C documents. A blanked-off nearside exhaust port is the only notified deviation from factory specification.
- There is no old style log book.