927 Humber Motorcycle The firm Humber was a small, late 19th Century, British manufacturing company with roots in bicycle industry. The company began assembling self-powered vehicles in Coventry, England as early as 1900.The first Humbers were three-wheelers and were assembled using the French-built, De Dion Bouton engines. Motorcycle production soon followed and early models…
927 Humber Motorcycle
The firm Humber was a small, late 19th Century, British manufacturing company with roots in bicycle industry. The company began assembling self-powered vehicles in Coventry, England as early as 1900.The first Humbers were three-wheelers and were assembled using the French-built, De Dion Bouton engines. Motorcycle production soon followed and early models were built under license from the Yorkshire company, Phelon & Moore, and included 1½hp and 2¾hp models. In 1911 Humber enjoyed its first major competition success when PJ Evans carried off an important victory in the Junior Tourist Trophy races on the Isle of Man. In those years prior to The Great War, long distance reliability trials were highly popular in the U.K. and manufacturers were quick to recognize the importance of success in such events when marketing their machines. Humber continued to use racing as a marketing ploy well into the 1920s with successes at the arduous English and Scottish Six Days Trials. As before, these victories contributed significantly to the sales figures for standard production models. Although Humber enjoyed commercial success into the mid-1920s, the small company would become a victim of the Great Depression by 1930.
The Humber motorcycle range for 1927 was mixed and varied. The company offered side-valve, overhead-valve and overhead camshaft models at prices for all budgets.
A well-preserved and exceedingly original example, this rare 1927 Humber Sports Model has a fascinating, yet undocumented history. The first owner was a Mr. Moore who was a garage owner and amateur motorcycle racer. The story that has accompanies this original motorcycle tells the tale of Mr. Moore racing this motorcycle at various speed trials in near London through the late 1930s where he continuously beat larger and newer bikes. An original UK registration tag that appears to be original states this motorcycle was last registered for road use in 1950. The last UK owner of this bike is believed to have discovered it in a Buckinghamshire shed prior to selling it at auction in 2008 when it was brought to the US.
Unlike most pre-World War II motorcycles, this rare British motorcycle has never been restored and is likely to have never been disassembled. It appears to be mostly complete and original. The painted surfaces retain much of their original black finish, which is well worn but certainly worthy of preservation.
The original Dunlop seat assembly has its original tag and most of its leather covering. To the rear of the seat and mounted on the fender is a racing saddle, which allows the rider to reposition himself in order to ride in a crouching-style, racing position. This secondary cushion lends credibility to the story that this motorcycle was indeed used in competition.
Powered by a single-cylinder, 349 cc, overhead valve engine. It is complete with its exposed valve train, carburetor and ignition system. The engine has not been started in many decades and most likely will require a complete rebuilding. The transmission, shift mechanism, brake assembly and final drive chain assemblies appear complete.
On the front fender, there is what appears to be the original British Registration plate. The gold-painted Humber logo is clearly visible on the gas tank. The sheet metal components such as the fenders and gas tank are generally solid. The front suspension and fork assemblies look intact as well. While we cannot guarantee that this motorcycle is 100% complete, it appears to retain most of its significant components.
Humber motorcycles are considered quite rare by collectors of pre-World War II motorcycles. The majority of the surviving examples exist overseas and very few exist in the United States. This exciting survivor can be lightly cleaned and would make a great static display in any collection or museum. It can also be mechanically restored and used at a variety of vintage motorcycle events and shows where it will most likely be the only one of its type in attendance.
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