Friday, August 31, 2012

250cc 1951 Royal Enfield Model S is rarely seen

A Royal Enfield Model S: ever seen one of these?
The 1951 Royal Enfield for sale on eBay in Canton, N.C. probably left many who saw the ad wondering what model it might be. The seller knew it was a "Model S," but apparently not much more, not even that it is a 250cc motorcycle.

It's not surprising. The Model S is "seldom even mentioned," Roy Bacon wrote in his book "Royal Enfield, The Postwar Models."

1954 Model S had a rigid frame and an old-fashioned look.
Bacon explains that 250cc motorcycles were hot in the postwar market, partly because 250cc was the upper limit allowed to British riders on learners' permits.

To meet this market, Royal Enfield developed its 250cc Clipper and even lavished the new swing-arm rear suspension on it.

But not everyone could afford the Clipper.

This motorcycle will need complete restoration.
So, briefly, the company produced the Model S version, with a cheaper rigid frame.

The Model S also would not receive the new Royal Enfield "casquette" instrument panel, incorporating the headlight. An old-fashioned separate headlight would do.

Classic Smiths speedometer.
"It made a useful utilitarian package but was not kept in the range for long and left it in late 1954," Bacon writes.

Today, the Model S is seldom seen, much less mentioned.

This particular Model S, number S224, is one of only 51 dispatched to the United States in 1951, according to research in factory records by Graham Scarth, chairman of the Royal Enfield Owners Club UK. Only one other seems to have been sent, in 1955.

The eBay motorcycle is rare indeed.

There's no doubt it's a Royal Enfield.

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