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British Motorcycles

1912 Sun-Precision 3½ h.p. 498cc

Frame No:A220
Engine No:6741A
Registration No:DU 6488

This is a very rare and important veteran motorcycle, 107 years old.

Sun did not produce their first motorcycle until 1911, when they began building machines with Birmingham-made Precision engines, continuing the same models for the 1912 season.

A rather pleasant looking machine, it had a square finned barrel, air cooled, 498cc, B&B carburettor, Bosch magneto and belt drive. The motorcycle was turned out in handsome grey finish with black lines and had a number of "rider's points" such as front wheel stand on separate lugs, valanced guards, leather mud shield and a small sump to the petrol tap in the flat base to the tank.

The original owner of this machine was a Mr Pollard, who at the time lived in Kenilworth. His next-door neighbour was Mr Schulte who was the Managing Director of the Triumph Motor-Cycle Company. Mr Pollard and Mr Schulte used to ride to work together each day to Coventry on their machines and would compare the respective merits of the Sun and the Triumph.

Mr Pollard always said the Sun was a superior motorcycle to the Triumph as he had fitted a "Phillipson Pulley" on the drive to the belt to enable the drive belt tension to be adjusted as needed at approach to junctions without the need to stop the engine and then restart to proceed, as on the Triumph, so saving time at all junctions.

It will be noticed as well that Mr Pollard had an "alloy" beaded front wheel built and fitted before the First World War this is not a match for the rear wheel - a unique feature on a Veteran motor cycle. Mr Pollard claimed the different wheel added to better steering qualities and lightness compared to the Triumph.

Mr Pollard then moved to Burnley after the First World War where he established a radio and motor-cycle business, and the machine was hardly used for a period of of 30 years.

In the 1950's it was purchased by Dr J Brooks who set about bringing it back to rideable condition. He stored it in his house until his death in 1964. Dr Brooks' widow then sold it to Mr Clegg of Rochdale who died in the early 1970's, and Mr Clegg's son sold the machine to a friend of his father who purchased it for reasons of sentiment.

The motorcycle then passed into the hands of The Reverend Christopher Dudley Johnson, The Vicarage, Eton, Windsor, Berkshire in 1972, subsequently sold by him in 1977 to David Leach of Wallington, Surrey, who was Managing Director of Trust Houses Forte Hotels in the U.K &anol Ireland. The motorcycle finished the course in both the 1977 & 1978 Pioneer Runs, London to Brighton, and featured in the parade of historic vehicles at Windsor Great Park in the Queens Silver Jubilee Celebrations.

Mr Leach then sold the motorcycle to Mr Leon Taylor of Chilton Hills, Beaconsfield, who then sold the motorcycle to Mr Brian Greening (Tewkesbury Gloucestershire) via an advert in the July 1999 VMCC Journal, with original acetylene lights, Phillipson pulley, history and pioneer certificate.

Mr Greening rode the motorcycle in the 2000 Pioneer Run alongside his brother Mark, a past chairman of VMCC Flat Tank Section, riding a 1913 Douglas. They compared respective merits of each motorcycle as Mr Pollard and Mr Schulte had done 88 years previously. Used in many VMCC events in the U.K. & Ireland, Brian Greening subsequently sold the motorcycle to his father Francis Greening of Tewkesbury.

Images and text courtesy H&H Classic Auctions



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