Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1933 Excelsior 250cc Mechanical Marvel Racing Motorcycle Frame no. TT22 Engine no. BTD 104

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Lot 714
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1933 Excelsior 250cc Mechanical Marvel Racing Motorcycle
Registration no. not registered Frame no. TT22 Engine no. BTD 104

Sold for £ 27,600 (US$ 33,201) inc. premium
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection
1933 Excelsior 250cc Mechanical Marvel Racing Motorcycle
Registration no. not registered
Frame no. TT22
Engine no. BTD 104
• Arguably the most famous of British Lightweight-class racing motorcycles
• Built by Norman Webb using only genuine factory parts
• Ready for immediate display in any motorcycle collection

Excelsior's new-for-1933 works racing machines entered in that year's Lightweight Isle of Man TT were soon dubbed 'Mechanical Marvel' by the motorcycling press on account of the complexity of their four-valves-per-cylinder radial valve gear. Top riders contracted to race the new machines on their Mountain Circuit debut included Walter Handley, Sid Gleave and Sid Crabtree, and as a private entry C S Barrow. The riders setting the pace by the end of lap five were Gleave and Handley - 1st and 2nd - with Crabtree 5th. Reports say that Dodson had passed Handley by the end of lap six and sadly Handley retired at Sulby with engine trouble on lap seven, leaving Gleave to win from Dodson with Crabtree 5th. That the Marvel won the seven-lap race at its first attempt was a massive achievement for both Excelsior and Burney & Blackburne, who designed and built the engine.

All the Excelsior Mechanical Marvels were stripped at the end of the 1933 season and rebuilt with new improved frames; indeed, the changes were quite extensive because it was believed the handling would benefit from the modifications. The 1933 TT Marvels effectively ceased to exist after this winter rebuild and so for the 1934 season Excelsior ran new machines with rebuilt 1933 engines.

Following the 1934 season all the Marvels were quickly sold by the factory; indeed, Sorenson's Swedish GP winner became a feature of a motorcycle dealer's window display, while another resided for many years in French junk yard. The other machines continued to be raced and circulated through the hands of notable riders such as Dennis Parkinson, Francis Beart, Eric Fernihough, Robin Edwards and Ivan Wicksteed, and as late as 1949 Ronnie Mead entered his modified example in the Isle of Man TT.

Once again arch Excelsior enthusiast Norman Webb hatched a plan to locate, acquire and restore all the Mechanical Marvels, but he also thought it would be very nice if he could display a machine to the correct 1933 specification in his collection. The machine offered for sale is that motorcycle. It is not a re-creation but the restoration and re-assembly of parts from the dismantled 1933 factory bikes. It would be very hard for anybody alive today to question this motorcycle's authenticity, as it comprises original parts and not ones that have been remanufactured to create a replica. Indeed, this is a stunning machine that will require re-commissioning before use but is ready for immediate display in any motorcycle collection.

Saleroom notices

  • Since the sale catalogue went to press we have been advised that this motorcycle's frame is not its original Marvel frame albeit one that is very similar. The frame possibly started life with a racing JAP engine installed. Please click the link to view the walkaround video of Lot 714: click here
Contacts
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1933 Excelsior 250cc Mechanical Marvel Racing Motorcycle Frame no. TT22 Engine no. BTD 104
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1933 Excelsior 250cc Mechanical Marvel Racing Motorcycle Frame no. TT22 Engine no. BTD 104
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1933 Excelsior 250cc Mechanical Marvel Racing Motorcycle Frame no. TT22 Engine no. BTD 104
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1933 Excelsior 250cc Mechanical Marvel Racing Motorcycle Frame no. TT22 Engine no. BTD 104
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1933 Excelsior 250cc Mechanical Marvel Racing Motorcycle Frame no. TT22 Engine no. BTD 104
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1933 Excelsior 250cc Mechanical Marvel Racing Motorcycle Frame no. TT22 Engine no. BTD 104
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1933 Excelsior 250cc Mechanical Marvel Racing Motorcycle Frame no. TT22 Engine no. BTD 104
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1933 Excelsior 250cc Mechanical Marvel Racing Motorcycle Frame no. TT22 Engine no. BTD 104
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1933 Excelsior 250cc Mechanical Marvel Racing Motorcycle Frame no. TT22 Engine no. BTD 104
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1933 Excelsior 250cc Mechanical Marvel Racing Motorcycle Frame no. TT22 Engine no. BTD 104
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1933 Excelsior 250cc Mechanical Marvel Racing Motorcycle Frame no. TT22 Engine no. BTD 104
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1933 Excelsior 250cc Mechanical Marvel Racing Motorcycle Frame no. TT22 Engine no. BTD 104
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