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Friday, May 22, 2015

Royal Enfield: The Story of the Company and the People

The history of Royal Enfield is the subject of Anne Bradford's book.
In creating his Royal Enfield's Early Years Virtual Motorcycle Museum, blogger Jorge Pullin frequently referred to Anne Bradford's book, "Royal Enfield, The Story of the Company and the People Who Made It Great: 1851-1969."

That book has become difficult (and expensive) to find in the United States, but a new publisher, Brewin Books is here to help.

When asked, Alan Brewin explained what it offers:

"Anne Bradford’s book originally appeared in 1996 in a small edition under her own imprint, Hunt End Books. We acquired publishing rights and are publishing a new edition which has been completely reset with minor amendments, corrections, updates and improved images, all approved by the author and illustrator.

Royal Enfield,
The Story of the Company.
"The ISBN is 978-1-85858-532-1 and the cover price is £14.95. We can ship single or multiple copies to the U.S., payment by PayPal, sorry no credit cards. Single copies are £14.95 plus £8 airmail. We will quote for multiple copies or trade.

"As a matter of interest, our print works and warehouse is in Redditch on the Enfield Trading Estate."

That last bit means that Anne Bradford's history of Royal Enfield emerges from the one-time site of the Royal Enfield factory.

Bradford herself has a surprising connection to an even older Royal Enfield factory, as Pullin explains:

"Redditch historian and Royal Enfield author Anne Bradford says that her interest in Royal Enfield started because local historians claimed that the house she lived in was the Givry Needle Works, which later became the first Royal Enfield factory in Hunt End.

"It turns out this is not true, the Hunt End factory was destroyed by a fire and there is now an industrial estate in the place it used to occupy. However, it is true that Anne Bradford's house was a replica of the construction that anchored the Givry needle works."

The new edition is a (roughly) 8-inch by 8-inch, 168-page paperback with 117 illustrations.

"Over 80 ex-employees and their descendants give perspective and often humorous accounts of life in the Enfield works, charting its expansion from a humble needle factory into one of Britain's best known motorcycle manufacturers," the publisher writes.

"They create a company renowned for its family atmosphere, where generation succeeded generation..."

Email for personalized purchasing instructions.

Friday, May 15, 2015

No Royal Enfields? I love to look at JAWA motorcycles

1964 JAWA 250 Supersport, built solely for the U.S. market;
six are thought to remain, this being one.
Admit it. If there's no Royal Enfield around to look at, you'll ogle any motorcycle.

Well, up to a point, anyway. You look for the unusual. I'll walk past the ubiquitous Harleys and blade runner super bikes. But you don't see many JAWAs on the street in the United States.

I couldn't resist looking last Saturday when the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington, D.C. hosted a "display" of elderly JAWA motorcycles, made back in the day in what was then Czechoslovakia.

1962 JAWA CZ125 in original condition.
There is an excellent history of JAWA and of each of the motorcycles present on the embassy's website. Some of the machines on view were very rare.

Like Royal Enfield, JAWA built some motorcycles wholly for export; the local market never saw them.

Also, like Royal Enfield, JAWA motorcycles tended to feature nacelles and integrated tool boxes. I am a sucker for those. In general, JAWA designs seem to be caught somewhere between Art Deco and "The Jetsons." They are stylish and streamlined, whereas Royal Enfields tended to let the mechanical bits show.

The jewel-like JAWA nacelle.
JAWA was established in 1929 in Prague by František Janecek. His first designs were based on the German Wanderer motorcycle. "JAWA" is the first letters of JAnecek and WAnderer.

After World War II, JAWA grew, exporting to more than 120 countries. JAWAs no longer come to the U.S., but a successor company, JAWA Moto, remains in business. There is an active North American JAWA/CZ Register.

Rarely has an amp meter been so prominently displayed.
Lovely streamlined intake serves as the choke.
The spring cushions the cantilever single seat.
JAWA advertising claimed it was the most
talked about motorcycle in America.
1947 JAWA 350 Perak. What a clean design.
1960 JAWA 50 Pionyr; sport version at left.
Note that the JAWA display at the embassy encouraged children to have their pictures taken on the motorcycles. You don't see that at many "don't touch" motorcycle exhibits. But there was even more fun: rides for the kiddies, on embassy grounds.


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