MGC Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

MGC Motorcycles

Made in France 1927-1938
Manufacturer: Marcel Guiguet & Compagnie
Number Built: around 250

Marcel Guiguet built his first motorcycle in 1918, when just 17 years old, and designed an engine which he built in 1920. He became a mechanic for a heavy vehicle manufacturer in Lyon, and later worked with Hispano-Suiza and Gnôme et Rhône.

In 1927, he converted the family carpentry into a motorcycle workshop.

In 1928 Marcel and his brother Joseph formed the MGC company. Their prototype was equipped with a cast aluminium "Alpax" frame which caused a sensation when first presented at the 1929 Lyon show; the machines were fitted with J.A.P. 250cc and 500cc engines, and a 350cc Chaise.

Another technical innovation was integral braking, similar to that used by Moto Guzzi nearly fifty years later. The next production motorcycles to use an alloy frame were the RG250 of 1983 and the GSXR750 of 1985.

The alloys used were not of today's standards and the frames were prone to failure, and the integral fuel tank would leak. Tanks of these models were exchanged by the factory with new ones of a different design and appearance.

By 1931 the machines were much improved, incorporating the new fuel tank on the 500cc N3A model. Three years later, despite some reasonable racing results sales had not improved due to the financial crisis which had engulfed the world's economy.

The N34, powered by a 600cc inverted inline four of similar configuration to the Tiger Moth, was developed between 1935 and 1938, with the first concept drawing believed to be from 1931. Of unit construction it had a reverse gear, but had serious cooling problems. Power was transmitted via the camshaft to the gearbox. The fuel tank was integral with the upper frame in the same style as the single cylinder models, and it had plunger style rear suspension. The engine was possibly inspired by a similar design created by his brother Joseph-Henri and used in pre-WWI aircraft.

The project proved an expensive failure and was abandoned in 1938. Then came war.

Marcel Guiguet converted one of his racing machines for road use and continued riding it for many years after WWII, but no more MGC motorcycles were built.

The Stork logo is derived from the WWI Escadrille des Cigognes Spad squadron with which Marcel's older brother Joseph-Henri Guiguet (Légion d'Honneur) had flown, and who was co-founder of the MGC company. See also Aviation and Motorcycling

1930 Models
250cm3 Type N 3 B "Sport" 245.3cc JAP
350cm3 Type N 3 349cc JAP
500cm3 Type N 3 A "Sport" 490.5cc JAP
500cm3 Type N 3 A "Grand Sport" 490.5cc JAP

1931 Models
Type N3 350cc OHV JAP
Type N3R 350cc O.H.V
Type N3S 350cc O.H.V
Type N3C 350cc O.H.V
Type N3L 350cc S.V. JAP
Type N3LL 350cc S.V JAP
Type N3R 350cc OHV competition
Type N3A 500cc OHV JAP
Type N3AL 500cc S.V
Type N3AR 500cc OHV competition
Type N3AS 500cc OHV
Type N3A600 600cc OHV Sturmey Archer 3-speed

1934/35 Models
Type N3 350cc OHV JAP
Type N3A 500cc OHV JAP
Type N3AS 500cc OHV JAP
Type N3B 250cc OHV JAP
Type N3BL 250cc SV JAP
Type N3C Chaise 350cc
Type N3L 350cc S.V. JAP
Type N3LL 350cc S.V JAP
Type N3AL 500cc S.V JAP
Type N3BR 250cc JAP
Type N3R 350cc JAP
Type N3AR 500cc JAP
Type N3A600 600cc OHV JAP

Four-speed gearboxes were optional for many of the 34/35 season machines.

Further information: MGC Club de France

Sources: JLB Creations;; Charlie Willis

Mon Nov 24 2008
oberger38 at
mgc n3as
je possede une catre grise de MGC N3AS de 1938
je desire la vendre ,ou et qui pourris je contacter pour en savoir plus sur ces machines !
lyon fance

I have a gray catre MGC N3AS 1938 I desire to sell, or which could I contact to find out more about these machines! Thank you cordially

Any motorcycle for sale in France must have a registration document (le certificat d' immatriculation), more commonly known as la carte gris. I suspect it's the carte which is for sale, not the motorcycle it mentions.

    Is it the carte gris you are selling, or the motorcycle it describes?
    Est-ce la carte gris que vous vendez, ou la moto qu'il décrit?

  • MGC-N3AS-Carte-Gris image posted to Comments.

Sat Feb 18 2006
fournier.stephane at
MGC motocycles
I owned a MGC when I was young and I met Marcel Guiguet himself who told me his real history which is different that it is said in the most of article about him. Contact me if you whant........
Lyon France

Jan 6th 2004

This is the address of the French MGC Club

This is a rather poor machine translation of the front page of their site:

MGC Motorcycles with the Stork Logo

The Society MGC has été créée in 1928 by Marcel Guiguet and his brother Joseph. The first prototype which is made this year there have caractéristic clean MGC: frame out of aluminium alloy (Alpax) forming to it a beam to fuel tank with the top and an oil reservoir oil below the MAG engine.

Imagine the technical prowess necessary to manufacture an aluminium motorcycle frame in this era. following motor bike commercialisée with an aluminium chassis was.... 750 GSX-R in 1985.

The first MGC is présentée with the public in 1929 with the fair of Lyon. The reception is élogieux, the aluminium chêssis creates sensation as well as the completion high of range to the époque one. In more of the chêssis révolutionnaire, the MGC are dotées of a before-back répartitor of braking (like Guzzi Motor bike much later!), le tout parfaitement intégré dans le chêssis. The motorcycles will be commercialisées with English engines JAP in the place of Swiss engine MAG. 350 with engine JAP of 1929

Marcel Guiguet thinks of all and réalise all him-même. It designs leaflets précis and complete, it composes of the advertising slogans présentant them MGC like motor bikes of prestige réservées to the élite motorcyclist. Moreover, it améliore the first model and élargie its range in 250cm3 (driving JAP), 350cm3 (driving CHAIR) and 500cm3 (driving JAP) with différents standard of engines and completion. Publicité of 1929

Success is immediate and the société engage in sporting multiples épreuves successfully. the Paris/Les race Pyrénées of 1929

Améliorant constantly its motor bikes, Marcel Guiguet presented in 1931 his new to réservoir. critical the époques ones, in more of être élogieuse on the handling and the braking of the motor bikes are dithyrambic on the élégance and the remarkable line of the new model: it is famous the 500cm3 N3A. The N3A 500cm3 of 1931

To satisfy its customers of the first hour, Marcel Guiguet proposed échanger old the réservoirs in the egg shape against the new ones. Many réservoirs ovoid set out again in foundry, with the result that a machine with one to réservoir this type is even rarer than a N3A with new the chêssis. New the chêssis from 1931

Sales of the new model do not décollent malgré advertising advertisements, leaflets, clips cinématographic and victories in compétition. It is the économic crisis which touches France in 1931 and it did not était not good moment to leave the motor bike of the élite. Publicité of 1931

Malgré that, the MGC are constantly améliorées, and the mark continues the compétition in 250, 350, 500 and même in 600 motorcycle combination. Since 1931, a 250cm3 compé-customer is proposée but it seems that it was not never sold but équipait runners "house". Fair exposure of Lyon 1933

In 1934, at the height of the Great Depression, sales had stagnated and financial difficulties were becoming critical. The Last single-cylinder MGC leaves the workshops towards 1935 which corresponds at the end of the official sales. Some machines are still assembled in the years 1936 and 1937 with the stock of chassis and of engines. One 500 N3A poses for a catalogue.

These difficultés does not empêchent not the creative spirit of Marcel Guiguet. It thinks of a news motor bike designed for the marché soldier étant donné rumours circulating with the époque one. This time Ci, it is it engine which was créé completely, it était one four cylinders monté on a traditional chêssis prévu for être attelé.

This engine 500cm3, was quickly porté with 600cm3. It had the particularité of être inversé : the crankshaft était in top and culbuterie in bottom, the mask tumblers acting as sump. This four cylinders on line était out of alloy léger with pig iron and cast iron shirts. Limps is at three speeds and form a block with the engine, it is entraînée by the camshaft and not by the crankshaft. The tree with cams is entraîné by a duplex chain and transmission secondary is done by Cardan joint.

The prototype will roll lengthily but them problems of heating of the third cylinder and delicate carburation does not have été résolus. The project is finally abandonned about 1938 and the development will be never perfectly terminée for lack of means. The war arrived ruining any hope to obtain military contracts.

The MGC with engine house 600 cm3 four cylinders on line...

Hope this helps...
Charlie Willis charlie-w at ohnoyoudont dot com

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