1927 James 3½hp Model 12 Sports Twin  Frame no. P.1062 Engine no. 1947

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Lot 508
1927 James 3½hp Model 12 Sports Twin
Registration no. SV 7546 Frame no. P.1062 Engine no. 1947

£ 8,000 - 10,000
US$ 10,000 - 13,000
Amended
1927 James 3½hp Model 12 Sports Twin
Registration no. SV 7546
Frame no. P.1062
Engine no. 1947
Like so many famous and not so famous motorcycle firms, that founded by Harry James in 1880 started out as a bicycle manufacturer. Based initially at Sparkbrook and then Greet in Birmingham, the James Cycle Company built its first motorcycle, a Minerva-powered machine, in 1902. The first model to be powered by James’s own engine followed in 1908; this was the ‘safety’ James, a radical design featuring wheels carried on stub axles, scooter-fashion. More orthodox designs followed, with two-stroke, sidevalve, overhead-valve, single-cylinder and twin-cylinder models featuring in the range before the end of the 1920s. For 1914, James offered a revised single-cylinder model in three-speed and two-speed versions, both of which featured fully enclosed, all chain drive. The firm’s first v-twin, the 500cc (3½hp) ‘No.7’, arrived that same year. Priced at 60 guineas, James’s top-of-the-range offerings were quality products that incorporated some interesting ideas, one of the more practical being the ‘spring drive’ shock absorber built into the rear wheel hub. ‘We confidently claim that this refinement affords all the sweetness of “belt drive” with none of the attendant foibles,’ declared its maker. After WWI, James continued to offer a range that consisted of both singles and twins, the 3½hp (496cc) Model 12 Sports Twin being a new introduction for 1923.

Dating from 1927, the Model 12 offered here features mechanically pumped lubrication, a three-speed countershaft gearbox, friction-damped front forks, front and rear internal expanding hub brakes, an aluminium silencer and James’s famous, all-metal clutch. Finished in two-tone brown with red and gold coachlining, the fuel tank holds 1.75 gallons with a 0.5 gallon oil reservoir. James was justifiably proud of its Sports Twin, claiming speed with extreme flexibility, even torque, perfect safety and silence as the outstanding merits of a motorcycle that achieved such consistent and phenomenal success in the popular reliability trials of the day. Offered with Swansea V5C.

Saleroom notices

  • The estimate for this lot is £9,000 - 11,000. The correct engine number is: T1947 and not as previously stated in the catalogue.
1927 James 3½hp Model 12 Sports Twin  Frame no. P.1062 Engine no. 1947
1927 James 3½hp Model 12 Sports Twin  Frame no. P.1062 Engine no. 1947
1927 James 3½hp Model 12 Sports Twin  Frame no. P.1062 Engine no. 1947
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