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British Motorcycles

Vauxhall Motorcycles

Vauxhall produced a motorcycle between 1921 and 1922.

  • The company was searching to build something after the end of the First World War. They looked to Major Halford of Ricardo and Co for a prestige design that would better other designs of the era. He did just that and a pilot batch of six was laid down. Only two, however, were completed.
  • The design was very advanced for its day. It had a four-cylinder air-cooled engine set along the frame and drove a car-type three-speed gearbox with shaft final-drive to a worm rear-axle. The 945cc engine had an equal bore and stroke, fully enclosed ohv, timing gear to camshaft, ignition at the front, and wet-sump lubrication.
  • The engine unit fitted into a duplex cradle frame with leading link forks in the American style. There were cast-alloy foot-boards on either side; the silencer on the left and on the right a toolbox. A saddle tank, with Vauxhall flutes, was fitted and had the gear lever working in a gate at its rear, behind a housing for the speedometer and electric switch. The design was really something special as the machine was smooth, quiet, flexible and very nippy. The post-war years were hard and the motorcycle would have been expensive to construct, so it never went into production. One machine has survived.

1922 Vauxhall 945 cc Four

En 1922 la Vauxhall le encargó a la consultora Ricardo Engineering que les construyera un coche de 3 litros para Grand Prix y una motocicleta de lujo. Harry Ricardo construyó el coche y delegó a su jefe de ingenieros Frank Halford la construcción de la motocicleta. Halford había diseñado motores de aviación y había piloteado una Triumph Ricardo de cuatro válvulas en el TT Senior de 1922, por lo que no sorprendió que el diseño del motor Vauxhall tuviera un gran parecido con un motor de aviación de cuatro cilindros en línea, solo que montado al revés, es decir con los cilindros hacia arriba.

El motor formaba un conjunto con la caja de cambios de tres velocidades a mano y tenía transmisión final a cardan. Esta caja tenía la palanca de cambios que corría en una ranura en el centro del depósito de combustible a diferencia de casi todas las de la competencia cuyas palancas de cambio estaban al lado del tanque. Uno de los grandes estribos contenía la caja de herramientas y el otro ocultaba al silenciador. El mantenimiento del motor había sido cuidadosamente pensado, ya que cada cilindro individual podía ser quitado sin molestar al resto del motor. Asimismo, la caja de cambios y embrague podrían ser retirados in situ una vez que se había quitado la columna del sillín del cuadro. Esto era posible porque en esos días muchos de los cuadros eran abulonados en vez de ser soldados.

El motor de cuatro cilindros refrigerado por aire utilizaba igual diámetro y carrera para alcanzar una cilindrada de 945cc, con lubricación por cárter húmedo y válvulas en cabeza completamente cerradas; entregaba 30 BHP, que estaba muy por encima de lo que el motor de un coche mediano de 1500 cc podía lograr en aquel entonces. Una horquilla delantera “Leading-link” se colocó en un cuadro doble cuna con un tanque de nafta tipo montura - todo muy avanzado para su época. Hubieran sido muy caras de fabricar y vender y las señales económicas no eran particularmente positivas en ese momento, ni siquiera para una motocicleta sofisticada capaz de viajar sin problemas a 80 MPH. Era una moto de lujo, construida para el mercado del sidecar, ya que tenía enormes anclajes en el cuadro. Se encargó un lote inicial de seis prototipos, aunque sólo dos fueron terminados. La Vauxhall Cuatro no entró en producción y los prototipos quedaron en los depósitos de la fábrica hasta que se reconstruyó una de ellas a principios de los años 50.

Vauxhall Four

    Motor: 4 cilindros en línea refrigerado por aire, carter húmedo, 67mm x 67 mm; 945cc; 22.4kW (30 BHP) @ 3,500 rpm. Válvulas a la cabeza totalmente cerradas, cilindros y tapa de hierro fundido; cárter de aluminio.
    Encendido por magneto
    Sistema eléctrico 6 V
    Transmisión: por cárdan a la rueda trasera; embrague multidisco de 6” en baño de aceite; caja de velocidades de tres marchas con palanca en una ranura en el medio del tanque de combustible.
    Cuadro doble cuna, horquilla delantera doble con suspensión a resortes; trasero rígido;
    Frenos a tambor de 17.8 cm (7”)
    Tanque de combustible: 20.5 l (4½ gal)
    Neumáticos: 700 x 80 en ruedas rápidamente desmontables.

    Distancia entre ejes 147cm (58”); largo 229 cm (90”); alto 99 cm (39”)
    Peso: 193 kg (425 lb).
    Performance: Velocidad máxima 132 kph (82 mph); 38.5 kph (24 mph) @ 1000 rpm; Consumo de combustible 4 l/100km (70 mpg) @ 80 kph (50 mph).
    Producción: 2 unidades

1922 Vauxhall 945 cc Four


by Sergio Scalerandi

In 1922 the Vauxhall commissioned the consulting firm Ricardo Engineering to build a 3-liter Grand Prix car and a luxury motorcycle. Harry Ricardo built the car and delegated to his chief engineer Frank Halford the construction of the motorcycle. Halford had designed aviation engines and piloted a four-valve Triumph Ricardo on the 1922 TT Senior, so it was no surprise that the Vauxhall engine design bore a striking resemblance to a four-cylinder in-line aviation engine, only that mounted upside down, ie with the cylinders facing upwards.

The engine formed a set with the three-speed gearbox at hand and had final transmission to cardan. This box had the shift lever that ran in a slot in the center of the fuel tank unlike almost all of the competition whose gear levers were next to the tank. One of the large stirrups contained the toolbox and the other hid the silencer. The maintenance of the engine had been carefully thought out, since each individual cylinder could be removed without disturbing the rest of the engine. Also, the gearbox and clutch could be removed in situ once the seat column had been removed from the frame. This was possible because in those days many of the frames were bolted instead of welded.

The four-cylinder air-cooled engine used the same bore and stroke to achieve a displacement of 945cc, with lubrication by wet sump and fully enclosed overhead valves, delivered 30 BHP - well above the output of of a medium-sized 1500 cc car engine of the time.

A leading-link front fork was placed in a double cradle frame with a saddle-style naphtha tank - all very advanced for 1922. They would have been very expensive to manufacture and sell and the economic signals were not particularly positive, not even for a sophisticated motorcycle capable of traveling smoothly at 80 MPH.

It was a luxury motorcycle built for the sidecar market, with huge mounts in the frame. An initial batch of six prototypes was commissioned, although only two were completed. The Vauxhall Four did not enter production and the prototypes remained in the warehouses of the factory until one of them was reconstructed in the early 1950s.

Vauxhall Four Specification

    Engine: 4 cylinders in air-cooled line, wet sump, 67mm x 67mm; 945cc; 22.4kW (30 BHP) @ 3,500 rpm.
    Fully closed head valves, cylinders and cast iron lid; aluminum crankcase Ignited by magneto
    6 V electrical system
    Transmission: by cardan to the rear wheel; 6 "multi-disc clutch in oil bath; Three-speed gearbox with lever in a slot in the middle of the fuel tank.
    Double cradle frame, double front fork with springs suspension; rigid back; 17.8 cm (7 ") drum brakes
    Fuel tank: 20.5 l (4½ gal)
    Tyres: 700 x 80 wheels quickly removable.
    Wheelbase 147cm (58 "); length 229 cm (90 "); high 99 cm (39 ")
    Weight: 193 kg (425 lb).
    Performance: Maximum speed 132 kph (82 mph); 38.5 kph (24 mph) @ 1000 rpm; Fuel consumption 4 l / 100km (70 mpg) @ 80 kph (50 mph).
    Production: 2 units

Sources Grace's Guide


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