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The Spring Sale / From the estate of the late Bill Grove, 1921 Wooler 348cc Model B Frame no. B290 Engine no. 290

Lot 508
From the estate of the late Bill Grove, 1921 Wooler 348cc Model B
Registration no. BD 5253 Frame no. B290 Engine no. 290
23 April 2022, 10:00 BST
Stafford, Staffordshire County Showground

Sold for £40,250 inc. premium

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From the estate of the late Bill Grove
1921 Wooler 348cc Model B
Registration no. BD 5253
Frame no. B290
Engine no. 290

• Owned by the VMCC's Wooler marque specialist, Bill Grove
• An older restoration
• Last used at the 2015 Beamish Run (Durham)

A byword for engineering eccentricity, Wooler displayed its first motorcycle at the 1911 Olympia Show where it was hailed by the press as 'The greatest novelty in the Show'. The machine was the work of John Wooler, who would go on to design a succession of bizarre motorcycles over the course of the next 40 years. Wooler's first design was powered by a 230cc two-stroke engine that featured a double-acting piston in an enclosed cylinder. This highly unusual power unit was carried in a frame that employed plunger springing for both wheels, while another unique feature was the tapering, missile-shaped fuel tank, protruding in front of the steering head, which gave the machine a distinctly futuristic appearance, at least by the standards of 1911. A winged spanner was chosen as the company's emblem: referring to the fact that supposedly only two sizes of fastening had been used throughout the machine.

No Woolers were produced during WWI and when production recommenced in 1919 it was with a horizontally-opposed twin-cylinder four-stroke boasting inlet-over-exhaust valve gear: the Model B. The two-stroke's frame and cycle parts were carried over, as was the protuberant fuel tank, though this was now of a more angular, coffin-like shape. A predominantly yellow colour scheme was adopted, giving rise to the famous 'Flying Banana' nickname.

This rare Wooler belonged to the VMCC's marque specialist Trevor William 'Bill' Grove of Northamptonshire. The Wooler was purchased in 1993 from Bill's employer Mr E A Timson shortly before the Regent in this sale (Lot 509), both machines being 'basket cases' when acquired. Unfortunately Bill fell ill after the 2015 Beamish Run and the Wooler and Regent were put into storage where they have remained ever since. Both are older restorations presented in 'as last used' condition (the Wooler carries a tax disc that expired in August 2015).

Sadly, Bill passed away in 2020, hence the reason for sale. Following a period of inactivity and storage, the machine will require re-commissioning at the very least, or possibly more extensive restoration, before returning to the road and thus is sold strictly as viewed.

In 1996 Timson's presented Bill with a Certificate of Achievement for the Wooler's restoration (copy available but original being retained). Additional paperwork includes V5/V5C documents; a VMCC machine examiner's report; and a printed copy of Bill's illustrated restoration diary. The machine also comes with a quantity of mainly Wooler engine spares and some other original parts (including the remains of the fuel tank).
Offered without key

Footnotes

All lots are sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding

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