1922 Humber 4½hp Motorcycle Combination
Registration no. SV 8026
Frame no. M1366
Engine no. 4484
A firm with its roots in the Victorian bicycle industry, Humber began experimenting with powered transport in the closing years of the 19th Century, introducing its first successful motorcycle - a built-under-license P&M - in 1902 and the first all-Humber design in 1908. A 500cc sidevalve, this new 3½hp model carried its engine in the conventional position and featured belt drive to a two-speed rear hub. V-twin and flat-twin models followed, Humber's first post-WWI offering being a 4½hp version of the latter. Markedly over-square with bore/stroke dimensions of 75x68mm for a capacity of 600cc, the 4½hp engine drove via a three-speed countershaft gearbox equipped with kick-starter. All-chain drive was an advanced feature and this heavyweight machine, renowned for its quietness and flexibility, became known as 'The Silent Humber'. Touring and sports versions were available (both featuring quickly detachable wheels) and a range of suitable sidecars offered.
One of only a tiny handful surviving, this 'Silent Humber' was sold new to Dr Reginald Richmond of Seascale, Cumbria and is believed to have passed to the lady vendor's father, the late Albert V Hitch, in the early 1990s, possibly acquired directly from Dr Richmond or his family. The vendor's family recalls that it had been purchased as a solo, the wicker sidecar subsequently being commissioned from a blind craftsman in Wales. The machine was first registered 'AO 8156' (a Cumberland mark), which was transferred in 1999 when the current age-related number was assigned.
Its late owner came from a family of motorcycle enthusiasts and built his first bike from parts at the age of 15. He restored many over the years, including two P&Ms, and took part in the Beamish Rally for 19 years, entering a different vehicle on each occasion; the Humber would have been one of them. He also entered it in many local shows and rallies, driving it there with his wife in the sidecar. They were photographed by the local newspaper at a rally in the grounds of the Bishop's Palace in Bishop Auckland, and he took it to the Railway Carnival in Darlington twice.
Highly original and possessing a wonderful patina of age, this rare Vintage Humber is offered with old-style continuation logbook (issued 1963), DVLA correspondence, copy brochure and old/current Swansea V5/V5C documents. It should be noted that all of these registration documents incorrectly record the frame number. Although the machine appears generally sound, it is not known when it last ran and thus careful re-commissioning and the customary safety checks are advised before returning it to the road. We are advised that the engine is free, there is a spark, and all gears select. The (detached) acetylene headlight and generator are included in the sale.