Holden were motorcycles manufactured by The Motor Traction Co., Ltd., 27 Walnut Tree Walk, Kennington between 1897 and 1902, from a design by Brig. Gen. Sir Henry Capel Holden.

(Patented in 1894, the Holden was the world's first four-cylinder motorcycle).

It used the same inefficient design that Pennington, Hildebrand & Wolfmuller and others used, with the connecting rods directly driving the rear wheel.

  • 1897 The motorcycle was first produced in air-cooled form which was prone to seizure. The flat-four 800cc engine drove the rear wheel directly making low speed control difficult. The camshaft was driven by chain and worm gear. It had coil ignition, a surface carburettor and geared pedals for the front wheel.

    1899 The version for that year had water cooling and went into production, but the result was heavy and expensive.

    1902 By now the Holden was an obsolete relic of a by-gone age so production ceased.

An example of the liquid cooled four-cylinder Holden is displayed at Whitewebbs Museum in Enfield. It is thought that this may be the same one pictured beside Marjorie Cottle on a New Imperial V-twin in an image possibly promoting Brooklands, the relationship being that Henry Capel Holden was responsible for designing the Brooklands racing circuit in 1906 and the New Imperial was the fastest (if not the safest) motorcycle to race there at the time.

Source: Graces Guide

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