1901 Singer Motorwheel Tricycle
Lot 225
1901 Singer Motorwheel Tricycle
Sold for £65,340 (US$ 87,233) inc. premium

Lot Details
1901 Singer Motorwheel Tricycle 1901 Singer Motorwheel Tricycle 1901 Singer Motorwheel Tricycle 1901 Singer Motorwheel Tricycle 1901 Singer Motorwheel Tricycle 1901 Singer Motorwheel Tricycle
1901 Singer Motorwheel Tricycle
Registration no. not registered
* Early motorised tricycle
* Extremely rare
* Not run for many years
* Eligible for the London-Brighton Run and Pioneer Run

Footnotes

  • 'Singer Motors are controlled by one lever without releasing the handles. Their strong points are simplicity, reliability, power at hills, and freedom from electrical and transmission troubles. The engine is the finest work put into any motor cycle extant.' – Singer Cycle Co Ltd.

    The Singer Motorwheel had been invented by one Edwin Perks, who took out patents to the design in 1899. Perks' invention consisted of a small four-stroke engine complete with carburettor, fuel tank, and low-tension magneto, which was housed within an eight-spoked cast-aluminium wheel suitable for attachment to any standard bicycle or tricycle.

    Perks went into partnership with one Harold Birch, and the pair began manufacturing the Perks & Birch motor wheel at premises in Coventry. A close neighbour, the Singer Cycle Company was their main customer, and in 1900 Singer acquired the rights to the P&B Motorwheel, which they proceeded to improve. Within a few years though, the motorwheel had been superseded by motorcycles of more conventional design with the engine in the bottom-bracket position, driving the rear wheel by chain or belt. Nevertheless, Perks' engine-in-wheel concept would be periodically revived over the succeeding years by the likes of Cyclemaster, BSA, and Honda.

    Out of the handful of known survivors, bicycle versions of the Singer Motorwheel are owned by the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu and the Shuttleworth Collection. Very few tricycles are known of, making this an exceptionally rare machine from motoring's pioneering age. Purchased by the vendor at a UK auction in 2009, this un-restored example had been in the immediately preceding (family) ownership for at least 60 years. Noteworthy features include Dunlop tyres, leather handlebar grips, a Brooks saddle, and auxiliary fuel and oil tanks suspended from the crossbar and protected by a leather case, an option available from 1901 that greatly increased the range. At time of purchase it was said that no attempt had been made to start the machine for many years, and no attempt to get it running has been made since then. Re-commissioning, at the very least, will be required before it returns to the road. The accompanying file contains a copy Singer instruction book and copies of various magazine articles.

    Apparently substantially original and complete, this delightful Singer Motorwheel is eligible for the London-Brighton Run and the Pioneer Run as well as many other events for Veteran cars and motorcycles. A worthy addition to any private collection.
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    Bonhams
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