Three vintage motorcycles, one dating from 1913, that have been in the same father and son ownership for decades are set to excite collectors of great British classics when they are included in a sale at The Canterbury Auction Galleries.


The ‘Pioneer’ 1913 BSA 500cc flat tank; a 1934 250cc Rudge Radial and a 1936 500cc Rudge Special will be offered in the saleroom’s two-day sale on October 2-3.


They were owned by banker William Martin who passed his lifelong passion for motorcycles on to his son, James. They attended shows and rallies together including the world famous annual Epson to Brighton Pioneer Run, entering the BSA on a regular basis and collecting a total of eight medals awarded to finishers.


James inherited the trio of machines on the death of his father, taking them to France with him when he and his wife Pat retired to live in Limoges 20 years ago. He continued to rally and show them there, obtaining French registration documents as “heritage vehicles”, known as Carte Grise Collection, but, all three remain on the British DVLA system and therefore entitled to use their existing registration numbers should they return to the UK.


Each is accompanied by a comprehensive file showing details of purchase, parts obtained and copies of all documents. Although built in 1934, the Rudge Radial was not registered until William acquired it in 1958, making the bike one family-owned from new. Amazingly the factory tester’s brown labels remain in the file. James purchased it £45 in 1958, but this time out, ownership will cost an estimated £6,000-8,000.


The little Rudge Radial was always James’s favourite but the Rudge Special dating from 1936 was acquired in 1984 to complement the collection. It was used for regular outings and is estimated at £8,000-10,000, as is the 3.5hp BSA Pioneer.


Each of these historically important motorcycles is offered in original un-restored condition. They were in good running condition when they were laid up and placed in storage about two years ago and will require only light recommissioning.


BSA motorcycles were made by the Birmingham Small Arms Company, founded in 1861 by a group of gunsmiths. The company branched out into bicycle manufacture in 1880 and motorcycles in 1910, the earliest powered by the 3.5hp engine. At its peak, BSA (including Triumph) was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world.


Rudge was another Midlands bicycle manufacturer, producing motorcycles from 1911 to 1946.  Like BSA, the firm was known for its innovations and racing successes with the sales motto "Rudge it, do not trudge it."


The motorcycles will be offered alongside around 1,000 lots of fine art, antiques and collectors’ items at the auctioneers rooms at 40 Station Road West, Canterbury CT2 8AN. For further information, please contact the auctioneers, telephone 01227 763337.


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