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Vintage Revival Montlhéry 2022 – Part Three: Motorcycles

Welcome to Part Three of our report on Vintage Revival Montlhéry, held on 7 and 8 May.

In Part One we looked at the voiturettes and in Part Two the cyclecars. Now we’ll look at the motorcycles: Montlhéry was absolutely full of them, of all types, sizes and ages…


1914 NSU Senior TT

This 494cc V-twin Inlet-over-Exhaust TT racer was based upon the NSU 3 1/2 HP model. NSU had considerable success on the Isle of Man between 1911 and 1914.


1928 Koehler-Escoffier Mandoline 500cc

Koehler-Escoffier were makers of high-quality motorcycles, founded in 1912 by engineer Marcel Koehler and ex-Magnat-Debon mechanic Jules Escoffier.

They were renowned for their Mandoline engine, a 500cc pushrod V-twin, seen here.

Marcel Koehler was a co-founder in 1939 of Facel, which he ran until the arrival in 1945 of Jean Daninos, who would go on to create the Facel-Véga car.


1901 Lamaudière et Labre

1929 Gnome et Rhône D4

The French aircraft engine maker diversified from 1920 into the bicycle and motorcycle business, prodcuing some successful and stylish products. They first built the ABC motorcycle with an enlarged engine until 1924, and then designed their own machines, producing single-cylinder and flat-twin bikes until WWII. This is a 500cc D4 single-cylinder.


1930 Majestic 350 Type AB

The Majestic was a monocoque motorcycle introduced in 1929 and designed by Georges Roy, who wanted to create a motorbike with  the “spirit of a car”.  In 1930, Roy entered into a arrangement with Établissements Delachanal, manufacturers of the Dollar motorbike, to build the Majestic. Possibly too far ahead of its time, the Majestic ceased manufacture in 1933 after around 100 had been made.


1911 Triumph 4-stroke

Triumph was founded in 1886 in Covetry by Siegfried Bettmann to make bicycles. The first motorcycles were made in 1902 with Belgian Minerva engines, and 1905 saw the first entirely in-house designed motorcycle. Triumph made 2- and 4-stroke machines before WWI, and this is a 4-stroke.

The side-valve 4-stroke engine.


1934 Motosacoche 720A 850cc with sidecar

Between 1899 and 1901 the Geneva-based Henri and Armand Dufaux invented an engine in the shape of a bag, “sacoche” in French, that could be installed in the frame of any bicycle. During the First World War, Motosacoche equipped the first Swiss military companies with its motorcycles and sidecars. M.A.G. (Motosacoche Acacias Genève) engines were used by motorcycle manufacturers throughout Europe, including Matchless, Monet & Goyon, New Map, and Royal Enfield.

Motosacoche made their own motorcycles from around the end of World War I and had many racing successes. The company declined during the 1930s and fewer motorbikes were made after the war, production ending in 1956.

The badge of the Swiss sidecar manufacturer Haller


ca. 1919 400cc ABC flat-twin

ABC motorcycles was established in 1914 by Ronald Charteris in London and in 1918 made a motorcycle with a 400cc fat-twin engine mounted with its cylinders across the frame, several years before BMW adapted the design. Bradshaw challenged BMW’s use of his patented design in 1926. The company stopped producing motorcycles after 1923 because of competition from cheaper manufacturers.

1921 Chater-Lea Super-Sport 350cc

Chater-Lea was founded by William Chater Lea [sic] in 1890 to make bicycle frames and components. It made cars between 1907 and 1922 and motorcycles from 1903 to 1935.

ca. 1902 Zédel Terrot

Terrot made motorcycles in Dijon from 1902, initially with 2 bhp engines supplied by Zédel in Switzerland. Later Terrot used engines from proprietary engine suppliers including the Swiss manufacturers M.A.G. and English makers Chater-Lea and JAP. The example here is very early, with a Zédel engine.

A close-up view of the engine, with the Zédel Terrot script partially visible.


1927 AJS K10 500cc

A. J. Stevens & Co. Ltd was a Wolverhampton-based car and motorcycle manufacturer in operation from 1909 to 1931.  Side-valve bikes before WWI were replaced by push-rod overhead-valve machines after the war. By 1927 AJS realised that push-rod designs were becoming dated in racing, so they introduced two new chain-driven overhead-camshaft racing models, the 349 cc K7 and the 498 cc K10 that we see here.


1935 Bianchi Type W 500cc

F.I.V. Edoardo Bianchi S.p.A., commonly known as Bianchi, is the world’s oldest bicycle manufacturing company in existence, having pioneered the use of equal-sized wheels with pneumatic rubber tyres. The company was founded in Itay in 1885 and in addition to bicycles it produced motorcycles from 1897 to 1967 and motor cars from 1900 to 1939.

Bianchi built a motorised bicycle in 1897, and in 1910 built a 498cc single-cyclinder machine that was very successful and established the Bianchi motorcycle name.


Look out on this website for Part Four: the Big Stuff: racing, sports and record-breaking cars from many eras.

See you soon!

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