French Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Musee Luneville

Map shows the proposed location of the museum in Ménil-Flin

Sarolea by Dreer Francis

Many photographs of the collection included here are by Dreer Francis of BigBlock Agency, France.

Collection de Maurice Chapleur

The pre-1915 section of the museum is considered one of the most important of its type in the world

It is official, confirmed Jean-Baptiste Chapleur who for months has moved heaven and earth to save the unique collection assemble by his grandfather Maurice Chapleur; the Chapleur collection is finally saved under conditions more than reasonable. A very attractive deal for the town hall of Amneville which should take some 2 million Euros from the sale between the collection, € 1.5 M, and the land, € 0.5 M. A fine profit which it hardly deserves given its past actions.

It is a return to the fold - or almost - for the famous collection of which Alexandre Michel, CEO of the transport company Transalliance has bought for the same amount of 1.5 M € offered by the first buyer. The 206 listed pieces of the Chapleur collection will be first exposed to the public at the Chennevrières motor race circuit managed by the company Passeport-Prévention subsidiary Transalliance. It is expected to move to the former premises of the Menil-Flin seminary, 18 kilometers from its original location at Château de Lunéville.

So good news and immense relief to see this beautiful part of the French motorcycle heritage remain whole and accessible to the public. However, vigilance is necessary because the collection is not sold to a national museum that guarantees its conservation, but to a private organization that can discard all or part of the collection at any time.

Original article at


L'association des Amis de la collection de Maurice Chapleur est née de la volonté de valoriser la plus incroyable collection de motos et de vélos d'avant 1914 constituée par un homme tout au long de sa vie. ? Ne voulant pas voir ce patrimoine unique accaparé par les spéculateurs, nous avons décidé de nous unir pour trouver une solution pérenne et offrir un écrin à la moto française au même titre que la Collection Schlumpf pour l'automobile à Mulhouse ? Nous sommes tous des passionnés. Chacun d'entre nous peut, à son niveau, mobiliser, informer, militer pour que les plus belles motos du patrimoine européen retrouvent leur place au sein d'un musée vivant de la moto. ? Nos buts sont uniquement patrimoniaux, dans le respect et la liberté des générations à venir à disposer d'un patrimoine qui leur permettra de comprendre l'histoire de nos ancêtres...

Tout de même on ne peut s'empêcher de penser au laboureur, parlant à ses enfants, de la fable de Jean de Lafontaine . "Gardez vous, leur dit-il, de vendre l'héritage que vous ont laissé vos parents, un trésor est caché dedans"

Of the 230 motorcycles in the collection some sixty of them date from before 1914. It is the most important collection known in the world of these two- and three-wheeled pioneers. The Chapleur collection also contains many items related to the practice and maintenance of such vehicles.

Housed for many years at the Musée d'Amnéville les Thermes, the collection of motorcycles and bicycles was assembled and restored throughout its existence by Maurice Chapleur (1912-2005).

The Friends of Maurice Chapleur Collection association was created to support and maintain the collection of motor cycles and bicycles built prior to the Great War, the life's work of a truly remarkable motorcyclist.

In order to prevent this unique heritage being sold to speculators, the group united to find a lasting solution and offer a showcase for the French motorcycle in a manner similar to the magnificent Schlumpf Collection in nearby Mulhouse

We are passionate

Each member can, in their own manner, mobilize, inform, and campaign so that the most beautiful motorcycles of European heritage find their place in a living museum of the motorcycle.

Their goal is to offer future generations to a heritage which will further the appreciation of the history of our ancestors.

    "Gardez vous, leur dit-il, de vendre l'héritage que vous ont laissé vos parents, un trésor est caché dedans"

The Collection

Motorcycles to 1914

  • Alcyon 1905 - 1300cc Competition Buchet V-twin

    Alcyon 1906 2½hp Battery ignition, automatic intake valve, belt drive, Zurcher engine, front suspension with intermediate spring

    Alcyon 1914 4hp - V-twin, 2 controlled valves, magneto ignition, 2 speeds, kick start, Zurcher engine, clutch, patented Alcyon front fork.

    Anzani 1908 - Moto de Stayer, 1600cc Anzani engine, V-twin, belt transmission, single speed. Capable of over 100 km/h.

    Ariel 1905 5 cv Touring motorcycle, single-speed, battery ignition, controlled valves, belt drive

    Bruneau 1901 2cv Battery ignition, automatic valves, chain drive, rigid fork.

    BSA 1916 Expeditionary - 4 hp½ Belt drive with gearbox, brake on pulley. British military motorcycle.

    Buchet 1906 Stayer single cylinder 5 hp Magneto ignition, intake valve, rigid fork

    Chenard-Walker 1897 Tricar

    Clement 1902 1¾ cv Autocyclette. Battery ignition, automatic valves, round belt drive, spring fork, auxiliary motor Clément

    Clement 1912 4½ hp V-Twin Crank start, MAG engine, 3-speed gearbox. Identical to some Motosacoche and Royal Enfield models.

    De Dion Bouton 1895 330cc Tricycle Automatic intake valves, Direct drive, Battery ignition.

    Dion Bouton 1902 motorcycle, cylindrical tank.

    FN 1901 Four

    FN 1902 bicyclette

    FN 1904

    FN 1912

    FN 1913

    FN 1912 4 Cyl.

    Givaudan 1900 Trimoteur

    Griffon 1904

    Griffon 1907 (two models)

    Griffon Griffon de Stayer 1905

    La Francais 1904

    Lurquin Coudert 1904

    Magnat Debon 1911

    Mirus 1904

    Magnier 1901

    Moto Reve 1908 V-twin

    Moto Reve 1909 Type D V-twin

    Panthère 1904 3½ H.P. Peugeot Engine

    Peugeot 1902 Type C

    Peugeot 1904 Type E

    Peugeot 1905 Type P

    Peugeot 1905 Type L

    Peugeot 1905 Type Z

    Peugeot 1911 Type MD

    Peugeot 1912 Type MD2

    Peugeot MC 1914 Type MC V-twin

    Pontherey 1901

    Rochet 1905 MG

    Rochet 1908, cylindrical tank

    René Gillet 1904, V-twin

    René Gillet 1906 Tandem, V-twin

    René Gillet 1910

    Sarolea 1904 3hp

    Triumph 1912 Type C

    Triumph 1914

    Terrot 1908 & 1909

    Terrot 1913

    Terrot 1910 motorette n°3

    Werner 1901

Motorcycles built after 1914

  • ABC Gnome & Rhone 1920

    ABC Skootamota 1921

    AJS 1951 7R 350cc Racing machine

    Alcyon 1920 3 cv - 4-stroke Zurcher engine, side valves, separate gearbox, 2 speeds, belt drive, kick start, Alcyon fork

    Alcyon 1924 175cc - 2 t Zurcher engine, transmission by chain, 2 speeds, magneto ignition, starting by kick, fork Alcyon

    Alcyon 1928 BMA Alcyonnette Lady 100cc Engine Zurcher, chain drive, single speed, clutch, fork Alcyon

    Ariel 1933 4F - 6cv Square Four 600cc 4 cylinders, 4 speed gearbox, suitable for side car work.

    Automoto 1924 Automotorette - 175cc Lightweight motorcycle, belt transmission, 2-speed, 2-stroke engine, oscillating fork

    Bleriot 1920 B20 Tourism - 5 cv - 500cc 2-cylinder engine side-by-side 4-stroke, 3-speed, belt transmission, flanged wheels. Manufactured by the aircraft manufacturer.

    BMW 1927 R42 - 500cc Flat-twin transverse Lateral motor, rear brake with segments, transmission by cardan, front suspension BMW

    Brockhouse Corgi 1948

    BSA 1933 Y13 - 5cc - 500cc 2 tilted cylinders, 4 speed gearbox, selector on foot, telescopic fork, dashboard on tank.

    Clement Gladiator 1927 Lullaby - 500cc Suspension front and rear called "the lullaby", Engine with lateral valves.

    Cleveland 1922 (USA) Single cylinder - 270cc 2-stroke, transverse motor, chain drive, crankshaft in direction of travel completed by bronze worm gear, chain drive, front and rear suspension.

    Cockerell 1922 110cc - 2 tps Lightweight motorcycle, 2 speeds, transmission by chain and belt. Built by the designer of the famed Megola which has a radial engine in the front wheel.

    CP Roleo 1926 C5 - 350cc sheet metal frame, speedometer, LMP engine, separate 3 speed gearbox.

    Darmont 1927 750cc - 7 Cv - Supersport 3 wheels, 2 gears, no reverse gear, Built under Morgan license

    Derny 1939

    Derny 1950

    DFR 1922

    DKW 1929

    Dollar 1928 Model R3 350cc

    Douglas 1927

    Dresch 1925

    Elite 1925

    Elite 1926

    Evans 1921

    FN 1921

    Gillet Herstal 1922

    Gillet Herstal 1927 Tour de Monde

    Gauthier 1925

    Gnome & Rhone 1922 D Combination

    Gnome & Rhone 1926

    Gnome & Rhone D4 1929

    Henderson 1916

    Helyett 1930

    Harley Davidson 1917

    Harlette 1925

    Indian 1930

    Indian 1917

    Koehler Escoffier Mandoline 1925

    La Francais Diamant twostroke

    Mandille & Roux 1936

    Majestic 1930 AB Monocoque

    Magnat Debon 1927

    Moto Guzzi 1927

    Moser J Auclair 1923 Moser

    Monotrace Morgan 1926

    Monet Goyon 1919 1922 1925 1926 1927

    Motobécane 1950 Supercross 350cc

    Motobécane 1938 R55C

    Motobécane 1930 B1V2

    Motobécane 1925 MB1 Lady and ecclesiastic

    Motobécane 1923 MB1

    Motosacoche 1920 2C10

    Motoconfort T7 750cc

    Motoconfort 1926 MC1

    Neracar 1921 Type A

    Nimbus 1939 Denmark CS 750cc

    Norton 1959 30 M

    Osa Liberty 1936 175cc

    Peugeot 1923 Type CM1

    Peugeot 1925 Type 175cc

    Rovin 1922 Type A

    Rhony'X 1936 Type A

    René Gillet 1939 G1 750cc

    Ravat 1926 B2

    Rasser 1922

    Socovel 1942 Motorcycle

    Skootamota 1919

    Scott 1929 Squirrel

    Sarolea 1938 38S6 Supersport 600cc

    Styl'son 1929 250cc

    Triumph 1920

    Terrot 1917

    Terrot G 1922 G

    Terrot E 1922 E

    Terrot 1930 600cc

    Velocette 1922 1933 1950

    Vincent 1952 B / C Rapide

    Ultima 1927

Zhumoriste: 900 kilomètres en hommage à la Collection Chapleur