Does anybody recognise this bike?
The engine is a Royal Enfield 500 twin from the early fifties, it has no number stamped. The frame looks like a Norton but is in fact a one off in the style of a featherbed. The build of the frame is a work of art, beautifully executed with a lot of very nice attention to detail. Forks are Enfield with a one off top yoke. Wheels are also Enfield and the gearbox is an Albion stamped HCR 454 which I would guess stands for 'high close ratio'. I believe the machine is from the early fifties and was built at a time when pukka race bikes were hard to get and featherbed frames were not available on the open market.
The bike has a dealer sticker on the frame top rail 'Tony Cooper Motorcycles' of Dudley, this dates from the seventies. Apparently TCM bought the bike from the James Brothers at the Old Railway Station in Baschurch, Shropshire. I had a lead that it might have been built by a guy called Geoff Rawlings in Filton, Bristol from someone who possibly remembered it as a child. The other lead was from a guy I met at the VMCC Wroughton Sprint a few years ago when I took the bike along, he recognised it as a machine he had worked on and it had belonged to a friend of his but he had no further history.
I would love to know more of the Enfield's history, for it must surely have an interesting past. My story with it begins nearly ten years ago when I bought it at auction in the West Country, unloved by other bidders and hammered down to my solitary speculative hand in the air. It sat at the back of the garage for a while whilst I pondered what to do with it, time went by, we moved house and then I realised I wasn't going to easily find the time to sort it out. I got in touch with Paul Henshaw of Performance Classics who agreed to rebuild the motor for me. I had run it but just for a few seconds but was nervous of running it longer as it had been using Castrol R and was left standing for a lengthy time, there was a chance that serious use could result in mechanical disaster from blocked up oilways.
|Close ratio Albion gearbox.
|Classic fifties race bike lines.
|Nice detailing on the one-off frame.
|BTH TT magneto fitted.
|Cut out primary cover and home made
Hopefully the Enfield will be out and about on the streets soon, probably only on special occasions as with no kickstart it's certainly not going to be a daily runner. If you do recognise it and know any more of its story please comment or get in touch via email.
|As built the bike was fitted with a pair of pre-monobloc Amal
carbs with a remote floar chamber. It now has a pair of
concentrics fitted. Once I have it running sweetly with the
concentrics I'll try to go back to the original set-up.
|Riders-eye view of the Royal Enfield 500 Twin racer.
|Tail view of the 500 Twin racer. With the end
caps off the megaphones the sound is