1939 Excelsior 500cc Manxman
Registration no. FXP 692
Frame no. MVH249
Although it had proved fast enough to win the 1933 Lightweight TT in Syd Gleave's hands, Excelsior's complex twin-cam, radial four-valve Mechanical Marvel proved something of a disappointment thereafter, and at the end of the 1934 season the Tyseley firm opted for a simpler design - the Manxman. Like the Marvel, the Manxman's Ike Hatch-designed engine was built by Blackburne, though increasing friction with its engine supplier forced Excelsior to take over production early in 1936, with further developments masterminded by Melbournian, Alan Bruce, the company's Technical Manager.
A single-overhead-camshaft, two-valve design, the Manxman was built in 250, 350 and 500cc capacities, the latter being the least numerous. Sports roadster and racing versions were offered, though the '500' was only ever marketed as the former. Although it never won a TT, the Manxman enjoyed considerable success in international racing and the Manx Grand Prix, Denis Parkinson winning the MGP Lightweight race three times on the trot between 1936 and 1938.
Notable Manxman developments included the switch to a shorter-stroke 250 engine in 1937 and the adoption (also applied to the 350) of an aluminium-alloy cylinder head with right-hand exhaust port. Ask any Excelsior enthusiast and they will tell you that in terms of performance, component quality, ease-of-maintenance and rider pleasure, the Manxman is a better road machine than the Velocette KSS or Norton International.
Sadly, unlike its rivals, the Manxman did not resume production after WW2 and today is one of the most sought after of all post-Vintage thoroughbred motorcycles.
Restored during the 1960s, this rare 500cc Manxman had been in the immediately preceding owner's hands for some 30 years when it was offered for sale at auction in 2010 and purchased there by the current vendor. The vendor believes that the machine has been raced and advises us that the engine has been changed (it is un-numbered). Kept in storage as part of the owner's extensive private collection, 'FXP 692' has not been used since acquisition and will require re-commissioning and the customary safety checks before it returns to the road. The machine is offered with old-style continuation logbook, V5C registration document and a quantity of photocopied Excelsior-related literature
- There is no Engine number visible