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Humber Motorcycles

1922 Humber 4.5hp

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1922 Humber 4½ hp Estimate: (£) 15,000 - 18,000 Reg Number: FE 4651 Frame Number: 394V2 Engine Number: 4575 Body Colour: Black cc: 600

Humber were at the forefront of design during the pioneer period, particularly during the tricar boom of 1905 - 07 when, according to Ixion they announced what was arguably the best of the breed. The design placed the twin wheels at the front with a seat between them. The single rear wheel was driven by an engine mounted behind it. Following this they concentrated on motorcycles and a tricycle, both of which featured the Phelon and Moore chain drive, they were also among the first to employ a free engine clutch. As the pioneer period drew to a close the company produced a fine 2½ hp single equipped with a three speed hub gear, an example of which won the 1911 Junior TT in the hands of P J Evans. The next models to emerge were a series of horizontally opposed, longitudinally mounted side valve twins in a range of engine sizes. As is to be expected of a company that had built an enviable reputation for the quality of their bicycles and which would also characterise their automotive products, the new twins were high quality motorcycles, the 500 class machine costing in excess of £140 in 1919.

The delightful example offered is one of the rarest variants with only three examples of the 4.5 hp 600cc Sports believed to survive. The machine was purchased for the vendor by his father, a former scrambles rider, when he was considered to be of a responsible enough age to be able to sensibly own a motorcycle, in March 1991 from Verralls for the sum of £8,000. Together with his brother, who had received a Rover, the three gentlemen enjoyed five years of active riding attending VMCC events in their area and also further afield. The Humber, which features a three speed gearbox was ridden to the Isle of Man on two occasions, providing transport to, around and from the Island and taking part in two "closed road runs" whilst there. It "supported" the Pioneer Run on at least two occasions in the same period and completed the Banbury run three to four times. During 1996 the vendor took this delightful, original machine to the Louis Vuiton concours at the Hurlingham Club, coming away with an award. It should be noted that the machines propensity to garner awards was already familiar to the vendor who reports that it rarely returned from an event or run without one. In addition to its participation in "organised" events this lovely machine also saw regular use providing transport for its owner, proving capable of 70 mph and never failing to behave with reliability and grace. Since 1997 its use has become less intensive prompting the vendor's decision to sell the motorcycle. It is offered with a history file that includes photographs of it participating in the events on the Isle of Man and photographs of the artist Mr Freeman drawing the motorcycle, examples of the finished pictures are offered in the automobilia section of the auction.

Image and description kindly supplied by H&H Classic Auctions