fbpx

Lot 274 - c1924 Zenith 346cc Gradua

From the Hitchcock’s Motorcycle Collection

Subscribe to our Newsletter

£6,187

Auction MCN London Motorcycle Show February 2017
Auction Date
Day of Auction

Lot Details

Lot Number 274
Reg. Number Not Road Registered
Chassis Number 186
Year 1924
Make Zenith
Model 346cc Gradua

+44 208 614 7888

Call Coys Auction Dept for more info
or use the enquiry form below.

Search

Enter the make/model/year you are interested in:

Description

Zenith Motors was established in Finsbury Park London in 1903 by W.G. Bowers and was originally an automobile manufacturer, however this only lasted from one year with one model the ‘Popular’ which had a two-cylinder, 6HP Stevens engine and a belt driven rear axle.

Motorcycle production started in 1912, these bikes used engines from various suppliers including Precision, Villiers and moat famously JAP.  A relatively small manufacturer Zenith had significant success in motorcycle racing and competition in the early 1920‘s, Zeniths held more ‘Gold Stars’ at the Brooklands racing circuit than any other marque, and award that was given for lapping the outer circuit at over 100 mph.

The driving force behind Zenith was Chief Engineer Fred Barnes, who was responsible for the famous ‘Gradua’ gear. Worked by a hand wheel or crank handle, the Gradua mechanism varied the diameter of the engine pulley while simultaneously sliding the rear wheel back and forth in the fork slots, thus maintaining correct belt tension. Its advantages showed most effectively in speed hill climbs, and in pre-WW1 days Zenith riders gained many successes as they could change gear during the ascent while the other competitors had to make do with a single ratio. Rival riders and manufacturers considered this an unfair advantage, so many leading clubs barred Zeniths from their hill climbs. Zenith was quick to recognise the publicity value and took the word ‘Barred’ as their trademark.

In 1931 Zenith declared bankruptcy due to the Great Depression although their principal dealer Writers of Kennington purchased the name and restarted production at a Hampton Court factory in Surrey it was interrupted by WWII. Production did start again from 1947 but only lasted until 1950.

This machine is of the type developed in 1924 and features a single cylinder 346cc side valve JAP engine. It bears the frame number 186, no engine number is visible and it is not road registered. Offered here in ‘barn find’ condition at NO RESERVE.


Enquire

Your name

Email

Telephone

Message

Join the COYS Connoisseur Club and receive monthly COYS newsletters, regular updates & exclusive member benefits.