c.1915 Motosacoche V-Twin Combination MAG Engine
Lot 2
c.1915 Motosacoche 996cc Motorcycle Combination Frame no. 3023 Engine no. 2C9A 60995
Sold for £17,825 (US$ 29,819) inc. premium
Lot Details
c.1915 Motosacoche 996cc Motorcycle Combination
Frame no. 3023
Engine no. 2C9A 60995
Founded in Acacias, Geneva, in 1901, Motosacoche took its name from Henri and Armand Dufaux's self-contained cyclemotor power unit, literally 'une moto sa coche' or 'engine in a bag'. The 211cc motor was soon being manufactured in substantial numbers and the brothers set up a subsidiary firm to market it in the UK. This led to collaboration with Royal Enfield, who supplied the cycle parts necessary to market a complete machine and used a Motosacoche v-twin engine when they recommenced motorcycle manufacture in 1910. The Motosacoche and Royal Enfield ranges were effectively identical for the next few years, but after WWI the Swiss marque's presence in the UK market would be limited to supplying its 'MAG' proprietary engines to other manufacturers.

It was not only the UK motorcycle industry that favoured these well-made Swiss power plants, which were widely used throughout Continental Europe, the French and Italian markets being served by subsidiary factories in Lyon and Milan respectively. Motosacoche's characteristic inlet-over-exhaust engines were replaced by (mainly) sidevalve types towards the end of the 1920s, while for sports and competition use the firm offered a range of overhead-valve and overhead-camshaft units. These were designed by, among others, Dougal Marchant and Bert Le Vack, who was killed while testing a new model in 1931. Motosacoche and its MAG-using customers enjoyed considerable success in competitions throughout the 1930s, attracting the cream of Continental riders as well as Britain's Walter Handley, Charlie Dodson and Arthur Simcock. Post-WW2, Motosacoche was but a shadow of its former self, producing only a very limited range of models, and ceased motorcycle production in 1957.

This early Motosacoche motorcycle combination has been partially restored – some parts being repainted and the sidecar body re-covered and re-trimmed – while the finish to the fuel tank is believed original. Reading 'Cycles Bianchi – Motosacoche – Eduard Gex – Genève', the original supplier's plaque is fixed to the front mudguard. The machine was purchased for the Collection in 2006.