1903 Werner 344cc Frame no. 9838 Engine no. 6258

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Lot 365
1903 Werner 344cc
Frame no. 9838 Engine no. 6258

Sold for £ 14,950 (US$ 18,917) inc. premium
1903 Werner 344cc
Frame no. 9838
Engine no. 6258
The 1901 Werner is generally acknowledged as the first powered two-wheeler to carry its engine in the frame where the bicycle’s bottom bracket and pedalling gear had been located, and thus is credited as the progenitor of the modern motorcycle. In actual fact, Gottlieb Daimler’s Einspur prototype of 1884 had mounted its engine in the same position, as had various other manufacturers prior to Werner. The latter though, was the only firm with the foresight to patent the idea.

Paris-based Russian émigrés Michel and Eugene Werner had built their first motorcycle in 1896 by the simple expedient of mounting a single-cylinder petrol engine, designed by Hippolyte Labitte, in front of the steering head of a bicycle, directly above the front wheel, which it drive via a belt. One of the first practical motorcycles, the Werner Motocyclette proved an immediate success and the brothers abandoned their cinematograph business to set up a factory to build it. Harry J Lawson acquired the British rights to the design and in 1900 Werner sold a staggering 1,000 machines. The Werner, however, was not without its shortcomings, not the least of which was the dreaded ‘sideslip’, a consequence of the design’s high centre of gravity, whereupon the hot tube ignition would cause the fallen machine to catch fire. It is not difficult to imagine what an immense step forward the 1901 design must have seemed.

Previously owned in the Netherlands, this French-registered 1903 Werner comes with a ‘Rapport d’Estimation’ dated 25th September 2002 which states that it had been restored with strict adherence to originality and was superb general condition. Also on file is an invoice (dated 27th September 2006) for various engine works, while the vendor advises us that the original cast-iron piston has been replaced with an aluminum one, the combustion chamber repaired, and the wiring renewed (in 2008) using correct-for-the-period cabling. The machine is offered with Pioneer Certificate and French Carte Grise.
1903 Werner 344cc Frame no. 9838 Engine no. 6258
1903 Werner 344cc Frame no. 9838 Engine no. 6258
1903 Werner 344cc Frame no. 9838 Engine no. 6258
1903 Werner 344cc Frame no. 9838 Engine no. 6258
1903 Werner 344cc Frame no. 9838 Engine no. 6258
1903 Werner 344cc Frame no. 9838 Engine no. 6258
1903 Werner 344cc Frame no. 9838 Engine no. 6258
1903 Werner 344cc Frame no. 9838 Engine no. 6258
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