c.1917 New Imperial Light Tourist Frame no. A5717

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Lot 318
c.1917 New Imperial Light Tourist
Frame no. A5717

Sold for US$ 11,270 inc. premium
c.1917 New Imperial Light Tourist
Frame no. A5717
English motorcycle history, like America's, is chockablock with innovative firms that for one reason or another failed to survive. New Imperial, based in Birmingham, is one such company. Its history is akin to many others of the time – producing bicycle parts first, then complete bicycles and finally motorcycles. That last transition was a little wobbly, literally and figuratively, as Imperial's first motorized two-wheeler was a flawed front-wheel-drive design that placed the engine high on the handlebars. It failed to sell.

That debacle was overcome and by 1914 New Imperial's Light Tourist model was among Britain's best motorcycles. Powered by a 300cc J.A.P. single in a lightweight yet durable frame, the bike was a match for many heavier 500cc machines. The company's prowess was further demonstrated with six class wins at the prestigious Isle of Man TT races prior to WWII. Sadly, New Imperial didn't get to see peacetime. Already in financial straits during the Depression, the company was sold off in 1938 to an outfit that made metal parts for the R.A.F.'s fighters and bombers. As such it was a prime target for the German Luftwaffe and the factory was destroyed in a 1940 bombing raid.

Though its front numberplate has been lettered with a 1912 date, the Hobday collection's example dates from at least two years later when the Light Tourist was introduced. The confusion apparently coming from 1912 being New Imperial's first year of motorcycle production.

Footnotes

  • Please note that the title for this motorcycle is in transit

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the title for this motorcycle is in transit. Please note that the engine number for this motorcycle is A3098.
Contacts
c.1917 New Imperial Light Tourist Frame no. A5717
c.1917 New Imperial Light Tourist Frame no. A5717
c.1917 New Imperial Light Tourist Frame no. A5717
c.1917 New Imperial Light Tourist Frame no. A5717
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