c.1915 Rover 500cc
Registration no. AH 2176
Frame no. 42741 (see text)
Engine no. 6704
John Starley formed the Rover Cycle Company Limited in June 1896 at the New Meteor Works in Coventry. Having had considerable success manufacturing 'safety' bicycles, he decided in 1899 to import some Peugeot motorcycles from France for development. John Starley died in 1901 aged 46 and was succeeded as Managing Director by Harry Smith, who continued motorcycle development and launched the company's first model, the 'Rover Imperial', in 1902. Prior to WWI, Rover produced their own 500cc sidevalve engine with 85mm bore and 88mm stroke. They were prolific manufacturers during The Great War, supplying both the British and Russian Armies. Eventually the company concentrated its efforts on car manufacture, motorcycle production ceasing in 1924 by which time over 10,000 had been produced.
The circa 1915 500cc Rover offered here comes from the collection of the late Brian Barber of Wiltshire, who was well known nationally for the numerous concours restorations he produced over a period of some 50 years. The Rover was purchased as a 'barn find' in the late 1970s and painstakingly restored to its present concours standard over the next few years using original and replacement parts, many of which were made by Brian, who had extensive workshop facilities.
A previous concours winner at the Bristol Classic MotorCycle Show, the machine comes with a large history file including parts lists, etc. The machine has no other documentation; however, there is correspondence on file between Brian and the DVLA regarding the registration currently displayed. It should also be noted that the frame number stamping is very faint.