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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

For sale: Royal Enfield's last, best shot

The seller of a 1967 Royal Enfield Interceptor for sale on CraigsList in Bergen County, N.J. really knows how to advertise. He has provided an outstanding collection of photos of his Interceptor 750 MK1A Road Scrambler. I count 16 in all, many of them close-ups intended to emhasize its condition, and all in high resolution.

The seller, "Dave," says the motorcycle has "11,000 known miles, recent top end, gear case rebuilt four seasons ago, Norton Commando points and condenser upgrade, velocity stacks included, good rubber, original condition."

It is "adult owned, professionally maintained, needs nothing to ride and enjoy!" he adds. The asking price is $6,800. You can call Dave at 201-934-7176.

The Interceptor was Royal Enfield's great attempt to meet the demand, especially from America, for a motorcycle capable of tackling expressways. Testers at the time claimed that it would cruise at 90 mph.

Much of the production was sent to the United States. So I wasn't terribly surprised when I got an email from the United Kingdom asking about the ad for this bike on my blog -- someone obviously is considering re-importing a Royal Enfield!

Royal Enfield in England was reaching the end of its rope by 1967. According to Roy Bacon's book, Royal Enfield, The Postwar Models, production of small single-cylinder motorcycles ended in January, 1967. Corporate takeovers and combinations did not stop production of the Interceptor, however, and a considerably revamped Series II model was introduced in 1968 by what remained of Royal Enfield in England.

The Interceptor twin-cylinder motor carried the Royal Enfield name into the 1970s, eventually in frames by other makers. The last talk of reviving production came in 1979, Bacon writes.

The Enfield name continued on single-cylinder Bullet motorcycles built in India. Hope will never die that India might someday produce a bike evocative of the Interceptor. Such a motorcycle would have to overcome the home market's preference for great fuel economy. But, in addition, Bacon notes that the Interceptor belonged to another time:

"Into this new era of refined fours with electric start and every convenience, the lusty Enfield was something of a dinosaur. Not really a relic from the past, for it could still ease its way past the 110 mark, but a machine from a different and simpler mould."

Hit the play button to see the slideshow below.


5 comments:

  1. Hi David,

    An interesting tidbit: this is an MK1A Road Scrambler. These were manufactured in the underground facility in Westwood since the Redditch plant had ceased operation. The frame was actually provided by Velocette. Some of these were sold in the home market, though they were clearly tailored for the US.

    Regards
    Jorge

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  2. Thank you, Jorge! The whole subject of Royal Enfields being made underground (literally in an unground factory) is fascinating. For an amazing photo essay on the subject see Jorge's blog. Here's a direct link to the item:
    http://tinyurl.com/pxzomv

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  3. QUALITY NOT QUANTITY. THIS WAS THE RULE FOR THE TWIN CYLINDER ENFIELD. THEY WERE HAND MADE IN A TIME OF JAPANESE STARTING. TOO BAD TOO FEW WERE MANUFACTURED. I PURCHASED A 1968-1/2 MK 1A. LOVE THE BIKE. I ALSO OWN A NORTON, VELO AND SEVERAL BSA AND TRIUMPHS. THE ENFIELD IS TOP CLASS AND PERFORMANCE.

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  4. JUST FOUND THIS SITE. GREAT SOURCE OF INFORMATION REGUARDING THE ROYAL ENFIELD TWIN. IF SOMEONE COULD EXPLAIN, HOW MANY WERE MADE IN THE YEARS 1967 THRU THEIR CLOSING IN 1970. IN PEOPLE'S OPINIONS, ARE THE ENFIELD TWINS A BETTER MACHINE THAN OTHER BRITISH TWINS. THANK YOU.

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  5. Wow, these pictures remind me of my first real bike (first was actually a 305 scrambler Yamaha)and it looked exactly like this one. I was working in an Enfield dealer in Somerset, Pa. when I bought it. It was the Intercepter TT, mufflers and lights were in a seperate box in the crate like the BSA Hornet. Wish I still had it. Great bike.

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