c.1933 Soyer Type SAC/SA5C Racing Motorcycle (see text)
Frame no. 56969
Société Nouvelle des Motos Soyer was founded in Colombes, France in 1919. The firm used proprietary engines from various manufacturers including Aubier-Dunne, Chaise, JAP and Sturmey-Archer, the latter being made by Raleigh. In 1928 Soyer introduced new models designed by the Swiss engineer, Walter Freudenfelder, who previously had worked with the Farman aircraft company and car-maker Sigma. Built in 348cc (Type O8) and 465cc (Type O11) capacities, these advanced designs featured unitary construction of the engine/gearbox; dry sump lubrication with the oil reservoir contained within the crankcase; and overhead-cam valve gear. The latter was unusual in being of the 'face cam' type, as used successfully by Chater-Lea. These 'cammy' Soyers enjoyed considerable success in the popular city-to-city races (there were few purpose-built racetracks at that time); a pair of Type O11s finishing first equal in the Paris-Roubaix-Paris event of 1930.
In 1932 a pair of Sturmey-Archer engined, overhead-valve sports/competition models was added to the range: the 348cc SAC and 495cc SA5C, and one of the latter - ridden by Soyer's Tourcoing agent, a Monsieur Voreux - repeated Soyer's Paris-Roubaix-Paris success. Despite its technologically advanced range and headline-grabbing competition successes Soyer failed to survive the economic downturn of the early-to-mid-1930s and disappeared in 1937.
Looking like it has just finished the Paris-Roubaix-Paris, or possibly the Milan-Taranto, this magnificent Soyer racing motorcycle was purchased from Guy Dubrulle at the Beaulieu Autojumble in 2007. Competition motorcycles of this period rarely turn up in effectively 'as last raced' condition so this evocatively patinated Soyer represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire such a machine. (It should be noted that at time of cataloguing it had not been possible to determine the engine capacity).