1923 Dunelt 499cc Frame no. S62 Engine no. M1236
Lot 332
1923 Dunelt 499cc
Registration no. SV 6803 Frame no. S62 Engine no. M1236
Sold for £4,830 (US$ 8,006) inc. premium
Lot Details
1923 Dunelt 499cc
Registration no. SV 6803
Frame no. S62
Engine no. M1236
Seeking a way to keep its factories fully occupied after The Great War, specialist steel maker Dunford & Elliott of Sheffield diversified into motorcycle manufacture, launching the ‘Dunelt’ in November 1919. The first Dunelt was unusual in being powered by a 499cc two-stroke single at a time when 350cc was considered the maximum capacity for such an engine, and even more so by virtue of its stepped piston, which was of larger diameter at the bottom than the top. On its way up, the piston drew 770cc of charge into the crankcase and on its way down forced it via the transfer ports into the 499cc cylinder, thereby achieving a measure of supercharging. The result was a relatively slow-revving engine (thanks to the weighty piston and enormous flywheel) that possessed phenomenal low-speed torque. Such characteristics endeared the Dunelt to sidecarists and by the middle of the decade the firm was offering sidecar outfits adapted for a variety of commercial and municipal uses including a fire engine and milk truck. In competitions Dunelt sidecars won numerous awards in the Scottish Six Days Trial and in 1925 one finished a creditable 6th in the Isle of Man Sidecar TT. A 249cc Model K version was added to the range towards the end of 1925 and proved equally successful, setting a new ‘Double-Twelve Hour’ (24-hour) class record at Brooklands in 1928. The original 499cc two-stroke model had been dropped by this time and for the next couple of years Dunelt’s new offerings would be powered by proprietary four-stroke engines supplied by Sturmey-Archer. Models using Rudge Python, Villiers and JAP engines followed but trading conditions were tough for relatively small manufacturers throughout the early 1930s and production of Dunelt motorcycles ceased at the end of 1935.

This rare Dunelt was purchased at a UK auction in June 2004, at which time it was described as ‘restored about twenty years ago and believed to have taken part in the Banbury Run. Presented in splendid condition.’ A chain-cum-belt model benefiting from a nicely patinated older restoration, ‘SV 6803’ has not been run since its acquisition by the Hockenheim Museum. The machine is offered with an expired tax disc (1998) and old-style Swansea V5 registration document.
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