The Minstrel Cycle Company became the Minstrel & Rea Cycle Company in 1905 and started making motorcycles in 1909. The company name subsequently changed again to the Calthorpe Motor Cycle Company, and in 1924 Calthorpe MCC began producing its own engines for its 1925 models: a pushrod 350 and, in 1927, an OHC 500. The 350 was a sound design, but the 500 was expensive and not fully developed.
In the late 1920s, the company also launched a new range under the sub-brand of Ivory Calthorpe. Produced from 1929, these proved to be the highlight for Calthorpe and a coordinated range of 250-500cc models, including a competition Super Sports, produced good sales for a few years. Calthorpe’s single-cylinder ohv 348cc engine was similar in proportions and output to contemporary BSA units. It resided in a full-cradle duplex frame and used a 3-speed Burman gearbox with a tank-mounted gear lever. The engine breathed through an Amal carb and used a BTH magneto mounted to the rear of the cylinder. Top speed was around 70mph.
With no sales team, Calthorpe motorcycles were sold exclusively by London dealer Pride & Clark in Stockwell Road, Brixton. At a little over £50 they were relatively highly priced, but such pricing did allow a slim margin for the maker. However, by the mid/late 1930s Calthorpe’s designs had become obsolete and the company went bankrupt in 1938.
The wonderful Calthorpe Ivory OHV 350 on sale here sale is in well-preserved original condition. It comes from an Italian collection where it was well maintained in good running order. This lovely old British bike is ready to be the centre of attention at vintage events.