Today in Motorcycle History


Massey-Arran were motorcycles produced from a variety of premises in Birmingham, between 1920 and 1924.

  • 1920 The make started out with a 292cc sv JAP powered design, with a choice of either touring or sports trim. These well-made machines had Arden or Brampton forks, CAV magnetos and two-speed Sturmey-Archer chain-cum-belt transmission; the sports version had a straight-through exhaust pipe.

    1921 A 677cc sv V-twin JAP model appeared. This had a saddle-style toolbox in place of the usual rear carrier.

    1921 TT: "Jim Whalley on his Massey Arran was in the running for most of the time, but on the last lap suffered a front-wheel puncture at Windy Corner and took a heavy fall. Battered and bleeding, he remounted and rode in on the rim to a gallant fifth place, with the bike stuck in second gear and the exhaust pipe scraping the ground." [1]

    1922 Only 350cc machines were produced, with either Blackburne or JAP engines. During the year E. J. Massey left the company to set up Massey and things became somewhat unsettled.

    1923 By the middle of the year things were looking pretty grim, and it was advised that, in future, spares would be available through Messrs. Hobbis Bros., who made the Triplette machines.

    1924 During the year, attempts were made to restart the production of complete machines. This was from premises in Smethwick and as a re-organized company. The venture was not successful.

Massey-Arran 1920, JAP Engine

Valve side of the sports model, showing the dean sweep of the long exhaust pipe, neat aluminium footrests, and the heel-controlled clutch pedal.

Massey-Arran Exhaust Box, 1920

The large cast aluminium exhaust box fitted to the touring models is made in three parts without baffle plates. Asbestos ring washers are used in the joints, the whole being held together by a central bolt.

Massey-Arran 1920 with Disc Wheels

The sports model Massey-Arran, a lightweight which largely gains its attractive appearance by the use of the Arden pressed steel fork and disc wheels.


The Number of Motor Cycles offered to the Public continues to Grow.

THE motor cycle industry continues to grow. Every week sees new firms entering the manufacturing field, and while the output of a number of the=H will not be very large, in the aggregate they must make an impression upon demand.

Many of these new makes of motor cycles are what may be termed assembled machines, but even in this field there is a great deal of difference in the quality of the best and the worst examples which may embody the same main units.

In addition to those machines illustrated, there are many which are assembled by garages for local trade, and are therefore not of interest to the majority of our readers. Also, we know of several new models of dual-purpose mounts which are intended chiefly to meet the requirements of those who consider the de luxe type of machine too high in price.

The Massey-Arran Lightweight.

One of the most interesting of the newcomers into the motor cycle held, and one which will appeal especially to the rider who requires a well-made lightweight, is the Massey-Arran. Two models are at present being produced - a sporting model and one for touring, both of which are extremely well finished and attractive in appearance.

The engine is the 2¾ h.p. single-cylinder J. A. P., fitted with C.A.V. magneto and Amac carburetter. No exhaust box is fitted to the sports model, a long pipe with an easy sweep carrying the gases directly to the rear. In the case of the touring machine, however, a large cast aluminium box is used. It is made in three parts, as shown in the illustration, and fitted with a long nickel-plated tail pipe, which enhances the appearance of the machine.

The transmission is the conventional chain-cum-belt through a two-speed Sturmey-Archer gear box, the driving chain being totally enclosed in a neat cast aluminium case made in two halves, which is of very rigid construction, yet at the same time permits of easy removal for purposes of inspection.

As will be seen in the smaller photograph, in addition to the usual hand lever, a heel pedal is fitted to the end of the clutch operating shaft, giving an alternative means of clutch control.

Long adjustable aluminium footboards covered with rubber matting are fitted to the touring machine, the sports model having aluminum footrests. Wide and deeply valanced. mudguards are fitted, and the whole machine is finished in smart black with Mid lines. Disc wheels, knee grips, and Arden pressed steel forks are standard in the sports model, while the tourist type is fitted with Brampton Biflex forks.

Other details include 26in. x 2½ in. tyres, two pannier toolbags, and large saddle. Both machines are marketed at £90, and are manufactured by the Massey-Arran Motor Co., 345, Bellbarn Road, Birmingham.

The Motor Cycle July 29th, 1920. Page 128

Massey-Arran 1920

Disc wheels are frequently encountered of the Show. The 2¾ h.p. Massey-Arran.

Olympia Show 1920

Massey-Arran. (Stand 24.)

  • 5-6 h.p.; 70x85 mm. (654 c.c); twin-cylinder four-stroke; side-by-side valves; drip feed lubrication; Amac carburetter; E.I.C. chain-driven magneto; two-speed Sturmey-Archer gear; chain and belt drive; Dunlop Magnum 700 x 80 mm. tyres. Price £145 sports model; £185 touring model.

Massey-Arran Motors, Delbarn Road, Birmingham.

The sports model Massey-Arran is quite a handsome machine, finished in black and gold, and fitted with wide and well valanced mudguard that at the rear being of specially generous dimensions. Among the features of this machine may be mentioned the symmetrically designed expansion chamber at the base of the crank case, the final exit for the exhaust gases being through a long tail pipe with flattened and slotted end. The clutch is controlled not only by the usual type of lever on the handle-bars, but there is a heel-operated pedal attached directly to the clutch-operating mechanism on the gear box. A spacious tool box is provided at the rear, with an aluminium lid covered with corrugated rubber matting and eyelets for strap. The footrests are of registered design, and are fitted with detachable rubber pads so that they can be easily replaced when worn. For future models there will be two concentric internal expanding brakes, foot-operated, and working on a drum with two frictional surfaces, while a further expanding brake is fitted to the front wheel. The touring model is similar in every respect, except that Massey-Arran footboards of registered design are fitted. These are of aluminium, containing a certain percentage of copper, which does away with the risk of this metal breaking, owing to its brittleness when used pure. A similar material is employed for the chain cover and the silencer. The footboards are turned up in front, and through the left-hand one works the brake pedal. This pedal may be fitted to the other side of the machine merely by changing over the footboards. A 2in. horizontal adjustment is provided for each of these.

  • 2 3/8 h.p.; 71x88 mm. (348 c.c.); single-cylinder four-stroke; side-by-side valves; drip feed lubrication; B. and B. carburetter; Boulton magneto; two-speed Sturmey-Archer gear; chain and belt drive; Dunlop 25x2¼ in. tyres.

The sports model, fitted with 2¾ h.p. Blackburne engine, is a very attractive little mount. Like all Massey-Arran productions, it is fitted with celluloid-covered handle-bars, and, similar to the other sports model, it has patent footrests. The particular model under review is equipped with Maplestone spring forks, which are extremely flexible, and, so we are informed, have very satisfactorily withstood the tests to which they have been put. The black and gold finish, which in this as in all other models is the standard, looks extremely well.

One feature, which is common to all models, is the type of petrol tank filter, which, when unscrewed, allows a valve to drop on to its seating, thus allowing the gauze to be cleaned without any loss of petrol. All steel parts are rendered rust-proof. A similar sports model is shown fitted with a 2¾ h.p. J.A.P. engine. Another model is fitted with the 2¾ h.p. J.A.P. engine, and is equipped with the latest pattern Sturmey-Archer gear box with circular quadrant. All models are fitted with a gear box adjusting screw.

Olympia Show, 1920

The Motor Cycle, December 2nd, 1920. Page 728

MASSEY-ARRAN at the 1921 Olympia Show

If the Massey-Arran had never achieved any other success it would go down in history as the machine on which J. Whalley put up such a lone fight against adversity and all the favourites in the 1921 Junior T.T. Incidentally, Whalley has now joined the staff of the makers, and will be in attendance at Olympia. Excellent detail work and finish characterise the Massey-Arran products, and for 1922 it is intended to concentrate on the lightweight single.

The Motor Cycle, November 1921

Notes. 1. Speed at the TT Races by David Wright.

Source: Graces Guide

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