1911 Royal Enfield V-twin 2¾hp Model 160  Frame no. 1198 Engine no. 2C IV 27345 (see text)

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Lot 135
1911 Royal Enfield V-twin 2¾hp Model 160
Registration no. DA 659 Frame no. 1198 Engine no. 2C IV 27345 (see text)

Sold for £ 15,525 (US$ 20,290) inc. premium
1911 Royal Enfield V-twin 2¾hp Model 160
Registration no. DA 659
Frame no. 1198
Engine no. 2C IV 27345 (see text)
The origins of the Royal Enfield marque can be traced back to a small light engineering firm - George Townsend & Company - founded in Redditch, Worcestershire, in mid-Victorian times. The firm moved into bicycle manufacture and by the turn of the Century had been reorganised as the Enfield Cycle Company, makers of the ‘Royal Enfield’. The Redditch company built its first powered vehicles - De Dion-engined tricycles and quadricycles - in the closing years of the 19th Century, and its first motorcycles around 1900. By 1904 the firm was concentrating on car production, resuming motorcycle manufacture in 1910 with a 2¼hp V-twin Motosacoche-powered lightweight. A 2¾hp version with two-speed gear and all-chain drive followed. The famous JAP V-twin-engined 6hp sidecar outfit joined the range for 1912, and the firm continued the V-twin theme with a new 3hp solo for 1913, the latter being powered by Enfield’s own 425cc inlet-over-exhaust engine, which was raced successfully in 350cc form.

This rare Motosacoche-powered Royal Enfield V-twin veteran was owned by Robert Alfred Samson from the 1950s until his comparatively recent death, following which it was sold by auction at Bonhams Stafford sale in April 2008 and acquired for the Ward Brothers’ Collection. Robert Samson’s name is the only one recorded in the accompanying continuation buff logbook issued in March 1958.

In times past Bob Samson and his Enfield twin were regular participants in veteran events, taking part in the Sunbeam MCC Pioneer Run in 1958, ’59 and ’60; the VMCC Banbury Run and the VMCC’s 4th TT Rally in 1959; the 1960 Easter Parade in Battersea Park; and the VMCC’s 6th Midland Region Motorcycle Cavalcade in 1961. Nicknamed ‘Slim Jim’, the Enfield was last used circa 1962, (a tax disc dated February 1963 is still attached), and the machine only came to light again following its owner’s death in November 2007. Restored in the 1950s but now requiring full restoration again after 40-plus years out of use, this machine nevertheless represents an exciting opportunity to acquire a useable veteran V-twin of considerable charm. This rare veteran comes with Sunbeam MCC ‘Pioneer’ Certificate number ‘370’ (issued 1958) recording the date of manufacture as 1911, though we are advised that certain of its features suggest a date of 1910. Further accompanying documentation includes various 1950s/60s photographs; 1959 TT Rally programme; Motorcycle Cavalcade and Easter Parade programmes; and Swansea V5C registration document. It should be noted that the engine currently fitted is not the original, although the latter - number ‘2C III 16418’ - is included in the sale.

Saleroom notices

  • This machine was first registered in Wolverhampton in May 1911. The Pioneer Certificate was also re-numbered 464 in the early 1960s.
1911 Royal Enfield V-twin 2¾hp Model 160  Frame no. 1198 Engine no. 2C IV 27345 (see text)
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