Today in Motorcycle History

C. A. Vandervell and Co

CAV of Warple Way, Acton Vale, London, electrical engineers.


CAV made accumulators, carriage lamps and switchboards, pioneering the lead-acid battery, and also sold CAV-Ruthardt magnetos for motorcycles and cars. Joseph Lucas Ltd. bought the company in 1926, after which the company made components for the automotive industry, and for aircraft during World War Two. The company had merged with Bosch in 1931, but that arrangement ceased when war was declared - oddly enough, Lucas continued to market Bosch products. Bosch finally bought back the company in 1954. The company's name changed to Lucas CAV in 1978, subsequently closed, and Bosch built a plant in Cardiff in 1991.


  • Also sold CAV-Ruthardt magnetos for motorcycles and cars.
  • 1913 April. Advert for 'Motor Car Lighting'.
  • 1916 C. A. Vandervell Ltd. was formed in 1916 with a share capital of £350,000 to take over a business carried on by Mr. C. A. Vandervell at Acton. The products of the company included batteries, magnetos, dynamos, starters, lamps, horns and other motor goods. Mr. Vandervell was one of the pioneers in the manufacture of batteries and dynamos for motor vehicles, having started manufacture of these items well before the time when Lucas first began the manufacture of electrical goods, and he had made particular progress in the development of electrical equipment for the heavier commercial types of vehicles.

    1920 Issued a catalogue of magnetos and advertised a dynamo for car lighting.
    1920 October. Exhibited at the Commercial Motor Exhibition at Olympia with electrical lighting equipment for commercial vehicles.

    By 1922, the supply of electrical equipment for commercial vehicles was largely in the hands of C. A. Vandervell Ltd.

    1944 Advert for fuel injection equipment.

    1961 Manufacturers of bushings and bearings for cars, aircraft and ships.

    1963 Motor Show exhibitor. Injection equipment and other.

    1968 New factory at Sudbury.

Source: Graces Guide

camplen at
Dear Sirs,
Your company was recommended to me as a possible source for a magneto cover. I have a 1921 Sirrah motorcycle with I believe is a CAV magneto. The cover is broken. Below is a photo. If you can supply me a cover please let me know.
Jason Len
California, USA

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