59 years in the current ownership
1910 Rex 5hp De Luxe
Registration no. BF 4062
Frame no. 20776
Engine no. 1750
An innovative marque from the time of its inception in 1899 as a motor manufacturer, Rex demonstrated its first motorcycle in 1900 while continuing to make automobiles and tri-cars. The Coventry firm was soon active in all types of motorcycle competition, including the inaugural 1907 Isle of Man TT where Billy Heaton's sprung-fork Rex finished second in the twin-cylinder class. Prior to that Rex had exploited the valuable publicity that accrued from the popular long-distance events of the day, in particular the famous Lands End to John O'Groats journey between the most southerly and northerly parts of mainland Britain. Brothers Billy and Harold Williamson were in charge of Rex at this time, as managing and sales directors respectively, and it was the latter who in 1904 established a new record for this 880-mile marathon, which in those days involved travel over rough, un-surfaced and often treacherous roads. Riding a 3¼hp (approximately 380cc) Rex, Williamson took 48 hours 36 minutes, which included lengthy stops to repair punctures, beating the existing mark by 2½ hours.
Rex continued manufacturing its own power units until the early 1920s, after which proprietary engines became the norm. By this time neighbours Coventry Acme had been taken over and in the next few years the ranges were rationalised, the 'Rex-Acme' name being adopted in 1921. Despite many racetrack successes, both in the Isle of Man and at Brooklands, the firm became a casualty of the Depression and, although there was a brief revival, was gone for good by 1933.
Dating from the firm's Edwardian heyday, this 5hp Rex was purchased by the current vendor from a Raynes Park taxi driver in 1953 and kept in storage until its restoration commenced upon his retirement in 2004. Completed in 2007, the machine has since completed its sole Pioneer Run, two Banbury Runs, 'Rose of the Shires', etc and has required no further work other than routine maintenance.
W O Bentley changed to a Rex in 1910 and at the behest of the Bentley Foundation this example spent time on display at their headquarters near Banbury surrounded by the great man's cars, aero engines, etc. In September 1910 W O rode in the inaugural Kop Hill Climb near Princes Risborough, winning his class and a gold medal, and this Rex commemorated his achievement in fine style in 2010.
Described as in generally excellent condition, the machine is offered with sundry bills, Pioneer Certificate, current MoT/tax and Swansea V5 document. A ROC two-speed hub gear and alloy pistons are the only notified deviations from factory specification.
- Please note the the Roc two speed hub is not a deviation from factory specification but a factory fitted item.