New Imperial Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

New Imperial Motorcycles

Made in Great Britain 1901-1939

The Birmingham bicycle factory possibly produced its first motorcycle, the Imperial, in 1901, a front wheel drive contraption with the engine mounted on the handlebars and a belt drive to the front wheel. It was not well received and the firm reverted to bicycles for the remainder of the century's first decade. By 1912 they were back with the New Imperial, this time with three motorcycles on offer, and two years later they released their landmark model, the 300cc Light Tourist. It was a resounding success.

Subsequent to the Great War, New Imperial began competing in the TT races in the Lightweight class with considerable success - six wins, including one in the Junior class, the last being in 1936. By the middle of the 1920's the company was building 300 machines per month, but when the depression began in the 30s they were hit hard and never recovered, finally ceasing motorcycle manufacture in 1938 when it slipped into insolvency. On the 6th October 1939 a new owner purchased the company and changed the name to Clifford Aero & Auto Ltd. This company built components for Lancaster and Spitfire aircraft, and it would not have amused the Germans to learn that the two men most closely associated with the company at that time, Jack Sangster and Solomon Joseph, were Jewish.

New Imperial of Birmingham used Precision and JAP engines of 250 to 1000cc until 1925 when they introduced their own powerplants of 146cc to 498cc.

The 1929 catalogue lists 10 models including: Model 2, D.L.2, B9, 10, 9A, 10A, 7, 7B, a 350 Light Tourist; Model 8, a 680cc V twin; and 250 and 350 Super Racer racing machines. The catalogue includes illustrations of 8 sidecars and information on the Amal carburettor, 7 inch front brake, M.L. magneto and Terry saddle.

The 1931 catalogue features "The New Wonder Machine" and the "Blue Prince" and lists 8 models from 246 to 499cc, three of which are sidevalve. These are illustrated with specifications, along with 8 sidecars.

The 1935 New Imperial Handbook has 80 pages and lists Models 23, 30, 40, 16, 16a, 17, 17a, F10, F11, 18, 2, 50, 60.

by W.C. Haycraft
Pitmans, London, 1950. Pages: 104.
Pitman's Motor Cycle Library, small book 6 x 5 inches, 104 pp densely packed with photographs, illustrations, exploded parts diagrams etc. A practical guide for owners of New Imperial motorcycles, covers S.V. and O.H.V. models from 1935 onwards. First published in 1935 it ran to at least six editions. Sections include carburation, electric lighting, lubrication, running adjustments, decarbonizing and general overhauling, with plenty of diagrams, exploded drawings and photographs.

New Imperial Motor Cycles by Chas Lipscombe was published in 2004.

More on the history of New Imperial motorcycles...

yv.leduc at
New imperial Mod30 of1935
I am french an i restore a New imperial mod 30 of 1935. It's the same as the attached photo. I need the wiring diagram.
Can you help me ?
Would you have the address of parts store because of the ignition capacitor is hs
Best regards.
Yvan Leduc
Gaillac France

dwb1 at
250 cc 1932 new imperial
I need push rods & rocker arms with shafts for my 1932 250 cc New Imperial engine .
Hutchinson MN 55350
christian.dynaz at
M80 1935
Bonjour, je possede une NI 500cc. Je trouve aucune photo ou document de ce model. Est elle vraiment d'origine, de qu'elle annee est elle ext. ?
Hello, I have a NI 500cc. I do not find any photo or document of this model. Is she really original, what year she is she ext. ?
Nantes france

  • This search reveals several examples which look very similar to yours. It would be up to a marque specialist with access to the serial numbers on the machine to ascertain its originality.
    Images posted to Comments.

klaytsdry at
Hi I've just picked up a new imperial only number I can find is the engine number A3058U. Cant find any numbers on the frame it has a OHV motor Any info would be appreciated

farmerfil at
New Imperial 1912
hello, this photo has surfaced and I wondered of the makes and models can be identified? The RH one is obviously a New Imperial with a JAP engine. Thanks
Phil Hughes
Bowes, Co. Durham, UK The other bike is a P&M. Alex Smittens writes: P&M is a 1912ish model, not 1910, as they did not have the enclosed fork spring yet. 1913 and 14 had alloy footboards, and a footstarter...

Fri, 09 Mar 2018
jasper.samson.nielsen at<
New Imperial unknown

Hi, can you help me identify which model this New Imperial, that I inherited from my late grandfather is? I dont have any papers or documents on it, but I believe it is from the beginning of the 1930's and is a 499cc engine.
jasper nielsen
solroed strand Denmark

  • New-Imperial-1930s-500cc-Denmark.jpg posted to Comments

Wed, 03 Jan 2018
grzegorztarnicki at
new imperial 7b 1929

hi I am looking for information on the new imperial 7B 1929. you have something in your collection best regards Grzegorz
Grzegorz Tarnicki
dobrzyń Poland

  • New-Imperial-1929-499cc-Model-7B-GrT.jpg posted to Comments

Tue Aug 12 2014

burnoil at
help with info and parts
new imperial 1930 ?
Looking to identify my new imperial motorcycle

Tue Apr 29 2014
emacruari at
New Imperial 1929 (?)
Pic of my late father on what I think is a New Imperial, want to confirm for his two eldest grandsons who are both motorcyclists. Great site and thanks.
NSW, Australia

Image too small to ID make and model. Larger image requested. Ed.

Fri Nov 29 2013
Repair Manual
New Imperial 500
Good evening Sirs,
I'm looking for repair manual for my motorbike New Imperial. I bought the motor bike with the engine in one box and I need to reconstrucy it but without instruction is really impossible.
I'm waiting for your news and i remain with my
Best regards

Sat Oct 12 2013
New Imperial
parti di ricambio 500 cc
Cerco parti del cambio, coperchio scatola con messa in moto e ingranaggi di questa moto new imperial 500 cc .
cerco indirizzi utili per reperire materiale ,libri ,manuali ,dati tecnici della new imperial 500 cc
I'm not sure of the year of fabrication 1932/1933 appearance information and news from British experts, many thanks, greetings Graziano.

Sat Mar 09 201
New Imperial 680 - parts
New Imperial New Imperial 680
I am restoring New Imperial 680 (Engine n. GT/T 58082). I am missing following parts: fuel tank, front fork spring and beam, muffler, chain case.
Could someone measure and draw or borrow or sell these parts.
Many thanks.
Czech Republic

Tue Feb 19 2013
'Nostalgia' for Dads 80th Birthday
New Imperial 500cc
Hi there,
Don't know if you can help? It's my Dads 80th birthday soon and I was trying to get hold of any nosalgic info on his beloved motorcycle from the he owned in ~1950. It was regitered in Chester 19/12/1936 and the registration number is BFM428.
Hope you can help.
Many thanks,

November 2012
An interesting post on a machine thought to be a 1914 New Imperial in the forums.

Sun Aug 28 2011
peter.nicholls75<at>btinternetdot com<
is it still around
New Imperial 1937 500cc
I owned 1937 New Imperial 500cc reg number DXL 326 in the 1970's. It sold at auction in 1997 at Brooks' at Beaulieu.just wondering if it's still in UK- would like a picture ?

Wed May 26 2010
New Imperial T10
Hello, I need urgently Information - how many have been built - how many are still known - I know in Germany, only this one - excuse my bad english
Germany - Cologne

Tue Nov 24 2009
stefanolofsson5 at
New Imperial for sale
New Imperial 1936 ?
Missing of time, so I have taken the decission to sell my old orginal motor cycle:
Make: New Imperial
Model: 1936 (not sure)
Contact: By mail or phone
+46 70 3310999
Ch No: 118 / 5811 / 7B
Engine No: 128 13530 7B

Thu May 14 2009
saluzzo at vendilodot com<
Hi, I need all informations about this motorbike. I'm restored it but it is so difficult because it is a rare model

Tue Mar 31 2009
stefanolofsson5 at
Motor cycle
New Imperial 500 cc, twin port, 1936-37 ?
For sale.
Stefan Olofsson
Östersund / Sweden

Sun Jan 18 2009
cazandpj at googlemaildot com<
Tracing family history
New Imperial ?
I have a photograph, attached, which is of my mother, Rhoda Haywood, she is sat on what I believe is a New Imperial. Would it be possible to tell the make and model and age from the photograph, and do you know if there is a register that still exists of whom this bike may have been sold to, it is possible it was owned by another Haywood family member Bob, and the phot may have been taken in either Nottingham or Skegness. Any assistance gratefully recieved

Kind regards Paul

The photograph was apparently taken circa 1934, and the bike is post-1929 because it has a saddle tank and foot gearchange. It has obviously seen some miles. Ed.

Sat Nov 22 2008
richard-cox at
History question
New Imperial 1936 model 30
I am interested in purchasing s/n: 36-37857-30 Any known history from the N.I. club?
Nanaimo, BC, Canada
New Imperial 1936 Model 30

Wed Nov 28 2007
privohome at
Type information

please let me know what type of New Imperial motorcycle is shown here.

The owner shown on the picture is an Uncle
the Netherlands

The owner forwarded the following answer he received in July 08:

  • The pictured motorcycle seems to be
    Model B10 "Blue Prince" de Luxe, 350cc, 1930/193.
    Oiltank integrated within the Fueltank
    Electric equipment make Bosch (partly chrome plated headlight)
    De Luxe, steeringdamper, knee-holders, heavy forfork, spec gashandle

Sat Sep 29 2007
p.achterstraat at
brochure 1935 new imperial

for sale
coevorden netherlands

Tue Aug 14 2007
ross at
New Imperial
1936 250cc - I think!!!
Can anyone identify a New Imperial Engine no: 127/43943/36 and frame no: 117/35842/R
Thank you
Sydney Australia

Wed Mar 14 2007
pg.g at
New Imperial
My father with his pride and joy.
I'm sorry it's a very old photograph, but if you would like to add it to the collection I would be very pleased.
Also it would be nice if you could put an actual date to the model as I don't have that.
Yours sincerely
Paula George
Reading, Berkshire

Thu Jan 11 2007
petrolhead7 at
New Imperial Model 2
I am missing the rear subframe from my 1933 New imperial Model 2 under restoration. Can anyone supply detailed drawings/photos to allow me to manufacture one?

Thu Oct 26 2006
katecchart at hotmaildot com<
new imperial 1930

i am trying to get hold of the "Book of the new imperial" by Eddie Collins 1930's models. Any suggestions?
coventry, uk

The Eddie Collin book covers New Imperial Models 2, D.L.2, B9, 10, 9A, 10A, 7, 7B, and 8 of 1929

Each model is featured with details about brakes, induction, ignition and seating, and separate sections cover information common to all models such as frame construction and camshaft design. The book has 16 pages and is about 9 inches x 5.5 inches.

Tue Apr 04 2006
info at
New Imperial

I have a new imperial whith frame nr 60/13235/7 and enginenr 22548 is it possible to say what year it is from? and the modelnr In the register in sweden it says 1932, but I am unshure if it is right.

Sun Dec 11 2005
pcclean at
what to do with this bike
Hi there i have 3 box's of parts 490cc new imperial what i can see iam missing petrol tank head light gear changer 1 side plate is there parts thanks steve mcginn Australia
I have found a head light and still need the tank or and side plate for the moter I will get one made Thanks Steve McGinn

New Imperial Motorcycle Original 1938 Catalogue on
Vendor's Description:
Original factory published New Imperial 1938 catalogue, 23.9cm x 18.5cm and opens out to poster size. Opens out to show inclined unit construction engine, mentioning Bob Foster's 1936 TT win and spring frame. Further fold shows special features of machine and it finally opens out to show all models from Unit Minor to Clubman Unit model 110 500cc. Prices range from £34 to £63. Three sidecars are illustrated and 9 machines are pictured.

History of New Imperial Motorcycles

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