Today in Motorcycle History

British Anzani Engine Co

Anzani of Middlesex

Anzani was an engine manufacturer founded by the Italian Alessandro Anzani (1877-1956). The company produced proprietary engines for aircraft, cars, boats, and motorcycles in factories in Britain, France and Italy.

In the UK, British Anzani outsourced the manufacture of their engines to Coventry Ordnance Works. In the 1920s it was refinanced as British Vulpine Engine Co and then again as British Anzani Engine Co concentrating on small engines and car and motorcycle powerplants.

They supplied AC Cars with the 1,496cc side-valve four cylinder (that would become their famous 2-litre motor), Frazer-Nash with an 1,496cc ohv engine, Morgan with a V-twin, and Squire with the R1 twin cam engine. Their most well known products came to be in motorcycles, lawnmowers and outboard engines.

The following manufacturers employed British Anzani engines (and derivatives):

In later years the company diversified and as the British Anzani Group it finally went into liquidation in 1980.


  • 1927 Private company.
  • 1937 Formed as a private company
  • 1937 Aero engine manufacturers.
  • In 1939, British Anzani built a prototype that was the forerunner of the popular post-war clip-on model. Simple in construction, it was a 61cc two-stroke that was positioned beside the left upper chain-stay with the cylinder inclined along the frame tube. Ignition was by magneto and a petroil tank sat beside the drive roller. The firm was unable to develop the idea due to other commitments.
  • 1951 Became a public company
  • 1961 Employs 150 persons. One of the largest manufacturers of outboard marine engines. Also make 'Easimow' motor mowers, power units for motorcycles and light cars and 'Astra' light utility vehicles.
Sources: Graces Guide

If you have further information or a query related to this page, please contact us