1903 Kerry 308cc Lightweight
Registration no. D 66
Frame no. 19
Engine no. 1423-S
The East London Rubber Company chose the 'Kerry' name for motorcycles manufactured on its behalf by the Belgian Sarolea concern, using re-branded Kelecom and FN engines, from 1902 to 1906 before merging its motorcycle interests with those of Abingdon-Ecco (formerly Coxeter & Sons) in 1907. Production of 'Kerry-Abingdon' machines commenced soon after at Abingdon's Birmingham works using their own engines. The firm also produced proprietary engines, adopting the initials 'AKD' after Abingdon Tools merged with King Dick Spanners in 1925.
The first Kerrys had an atmospheric inlet valve, mechanical exhaust valve, battery/coil ignition and FN-Longuemare carburettor. The 70x80mm bore/stroke engine was rated at 2¼hp and mounted inclined forwards in a loop frame. Other noteworthy features included mudguards and brakes both front and rear, and a valve lifter. Workmanship and finish were described as first class throughout, with the machine priced at 38 guineas. By 1904 Kerry was advertising a nominally 400cc engine plus a 500cc version for racing. The engine in the standard motorcycle was now vertical while a clutch, chain drive, two-speed transmission and a sidecar were announced as extra cost options for the 1905 season.
This 1903 machine carries the registration number 'D 66' signifying that it is the 66th motor vehicle registered in Kent. The accompanying old-style logbook (issued 1949) erroneously records the date of original registration as 1st January 1921, 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 like 'D 66', were only registered for the first time after the Act's passing).
One of only a half-dozen surviving Kerry motorcycles, this 110-year old Veteran was owned by Alf Botterill from 1952 until his recent death and is offered for sale by his family. It was left to him by his close friend and fellow motorcycle enthusiast, Derek Garrett. Sadly, Derek was killed in a motorcycle accident in his mid-twenties and Alf promised his friend that he would take care of the Kerry and keep it running.
Alf Botterill was a regular entrant to the Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club's Pioneer Run until 1994 when the physical demands of riding the Kerry, particularly uphill, became too much for him. With all his rides there was always a huge sense of satisfaction mixed with relief on reaching Madeira Drive in one piece. Alf's most successful ride saw him win the trophy for finishing closest to the target time. In the 1960s and '70s he also rode the Kerry in the Sittingbourne Rally through the Kent countryside.
Restored in the 1950s/1960s, 'D 66' comes with a wonderful file of Pioneer Run programmes, results sheets and copies of period photographs depicting Alf and the Kerry, as well as its Sunbeam MCC Pioneer Certificate, Sittingbourne Rally entry list, SORN paperwork, VMCC correspondence, expired MoT (1970) and Swansea V5C document.
Now that Alf's promise to his friend has been discharged, his family is keen to ensure that the Kerry is returned to use so that the engine's wonderful throbbing sound will be heard again.
- The Frame no. is 507. The Engine no. is 19