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Lot 348: Clyno 5/6hp Motorcycle Combination

Quail Lodge Sale, Bonhams (16 August 2012)

Not for nothing did Clyno's 1913 advertising promote its product as 'The Side-Car Motor Cycle', for the Wolverhampton firm was one of the first to give serious thought to engineering an effective motorcycle combination. Cousins Ailwyn and Frank Smith had formed 'The Clyno Engineering Co' in 1909 for the purpose of marketing an adjustable belt pulley for motorcycle transmissions, soon turning to the assembly of complete machines using Chater Lea frame fittings and Stevens engines. Participation in motorcycle trials was felt to be the best method of advertising in these pioneering days, and the Clyno achieved repeated successes in the A-CU's quarterly non-stop trials. The following year a larger machine was built powered by a 750cc 5/6hp Stevens v-twin and again proved successful in trials, including the MCC's prestigious London-Edinburgh and London-Exeter events. Long, low and lightweight - it weighed under 200lbs - the powerful, high-geared Clyno v-twin proved equally capable as a solo or when coupled to a sidecar. Quick to realize the limitations of a single fixed gear and belt drive, Clyno introduced a two-speed, chain-driven model, one of the first to enclose chains in aluminum cases. The design of a suitable sidecar chassis also was given careful attention. Hitherto, these had been lightweight constructions clipped to the motorcycle frame, usually in three places, and quite unsuited to any strenuous use. Clyno's much-imitated solution was to braze four sockets to the motorcycle frame, to which the sidecar chassis attached via tapered lugs. It was one of these 5/6hp motorcycle combinations that Frank Smith rode so successfully in all the major trials of 1911, as well as embarking on a program of tackling some of England's hitherto unclimbed hills. The result was a bulging order book for 1912, with demand exceeding supply. During this year Clyno introduced the detachable and interchangeable wheel - one of the most important technical developments of the time - and this invention was duly incorporated into all of its models. During WWI the Clyno combination was further developed for military use in conjunction with Vickers to carry one of the latter's machine guns, a role in which it was conspicuously successful, being produced in substantial numbers. An older restoration, this rare Clyno motorcycle combination could easily be used as it is or, alternatively, form the basis of a relatively easy restoration. The vendor got the machine running in 2006 and advises us that it was both strong and reliable, but never took the project any further. Possibly the only example of its type in the USA, this Clyno combination features three-speed transmission, a rare sidecar carbide lighting set and a tank-top toolbox.

Lot Details
Auction Quail Lodge Sale
Bonhams, Carmel, California, USA
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number348
Estimate$25000-$30000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$22000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$25300
Year1914
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number
Engine number4809
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors