Cotton-JAP 250cc Racing Motorcycle
Engine no. BOR/R 39597/*
Gloucester-based Cotton established its reputation with a string of racing successes in the 1920s thanks to an innovative frame patented by its founder, Frank Willoughby Cotton. Cotton's design featured four straight tubes running from the steering head to the rear wheel spindle, augmented by further straight stays supporting the gearbox and engine. The result was a stiff, lightweight chassis far in advance of the bicycle-derived diamond-type frame used by the majority of manufacturers. Like other small independent firms Cotton relied on proprietary engines but such was the advantage conferred by its frame that the Cotton had little trouble seeing off similarly powered rivals. The legendary Stanley Woods made his Isle of Man TT debut on a Cotton in 1922, going on to win the Junior event at record speed the following year. Countless wins and placings were achieved in international events throughout the 1920s, Cotton's finest TT achievement occurring in 1926 when its entries finished 1, 2, 3 in the 250 Lightweight race. Powered by JAP and Blackburne proprietary engines, Cotton's racers continued to be competitive into the 1930s but eventually had to give best to companies possessing greater resources such as Norton, Velocette, Excelsior and New Imperial, all of which were able to develop their own power units.
This well presented Cotton-JAP had already been restored and was in running condition at the time of its purchase in Austria in 2006. Noteworthy features include the rare and desirable bronze cylinder head, twin-float Bowden carburettor and four-speed Burman gearbox with foot change. Kept on display at the Hockenheim Museum since acquisition, the machine is offered with sundry restoration notes (in German) and assorted photocopies of Cotton-related literature.
- We have been advised that a previous owner of this machine was Wilf Green, an importer of MZs into the UK.