1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809

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Lot 57
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80
Registration no. WM 550 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809

Sold for £ 20,700 (US$ 25,860) inc. premium
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80
Registration no. WM 550
Frame no. 10632
Engine no. GT/I 70809
Zenith motorcycles were manufactured from 1904 until 1950 in a variety of factories in or around London. From the early days proprietary engines were used, such as Fafnir, Precision, JAP, Bradshaw and Villiers. The driving force behind Zenith was chief engineer, and company owner, Frederick Barnes, who was responsible for the famous 'Gradua' gear. Worked by a hand-wheel or crank handle, the Gradua mechanism varied the diameter of the engine pulley while simultaneously sliding the rear wheel back and forth in the fork slots, thus maintaining correct belt tension. Its advantages showed most effectively in speed hill climbs, and in pre-WW1 days Zenith machines gained many successes as the rider could change gear during the ascent while the other competitors had to make do with a single choice of ratio. Rival riders and manufacturers thought that this was an unfair advantage so many leading clubs excluded Zeniths from their hill climbs. Zenith was quick to recognise the publicity value and took the word 'Barred' as their trademark. Despite adding a Villiers-powered economy model to the range, Zenith failed to weather the financial storms of the early 1930s. After a succession of closures and changes of ownership it re-emerged after WW2 with a solitary model: a 750cc JAP-powered sidevalve v-twin, which lasted only a few more years.

Dating from Zenith's Vintage-era heyday, this sidevalve-engined Zenith-JAP ('The six which pulls like an eighty') was purchased by the vendor in approximately 1970, at which time it was complete but in poor condition and needing restoration. Some years later, the engine and gearbox were entrusted to well-known engineer Brian Thompson to be stripped and rebuilt, after which the cycle parts were passed to Weeden Racing Restorations for refurbishment. When completed in 1991, the rebuild's cosmetic aspects alone cost £6,991.25 including VAT (see invoice on file). The Zenith saw little use over the ensuing years, covering only 298 recorded miles.

'WM 550' has not been used for at least the last ten years and will require re-commissioning before returning to the road. It should be noted that, on consignment, a patch of corrosion was noticed on the front near side of the fuel tank which, the vendor believes, will require repair and repainting. Accompanying documentation consists of the aforementioned restoration invoice, an old-style continuation logbook (issued May 1942), two old MoT certificates (most recent expired September 1994), 1928 Zenith sales catalogue, 1992 VMCC valuation, sundry other papers and an old-style V5.
Contacts
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80 Frame no. 10632 Engine no. GT/I 70809
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