Monday, January 3, 2011

Royal Enfield shed Indian brand name for the 1960s

The story of the Foglio brothers and their Royal Enfield motorcycle dealership of the 1960s inspired me to look up the Royal Enfield distributor they dealt with, Gene Shillingford & Sons.

I learned that Gene and Elmer Shillingford of Philadelphia, Pa. were instrumental in Royal Enfield's "debut" under its own name in 1960. For half a decade Royal Enfield had supplied motorcycles to be sold under the Indian brand in the U.S. Now it would shed its "American identity of feathers and war paint."
American Motorcyclist, November, 1959

American Motorcyclist magazine for November, 1959 carried this full-page ad on page 3, promising the new Interceptor and other models for 1960. Deeper inside the magazine was this press release:

Royal Enfield Returns Under Own Name

Royal Enfield motorcycles return to the United States under their own name, with a new look and many new models. 1960 motorcycles are enroute to this country.

There will be four 700cc models equipped with 52 HP engines. These are claimed to be the most powerful vertical twins in the world today.

Royal Enfield will introduce the ultra-modern "Airflow 700" with full streamlined front fairing, giving excellent protection and comfort to the rider, plus increased gas mileage and speed.

The 500cc "Fury" scrambler incorporates a newly designed large racing head with 1 1/2 inch G-P carburetor and cams that are so versatile that they bring the power range in at 2000 RPM through 6,800 RPM. 250cc scrambles models will be available shortly after the first of the year.

The Enfield Cycle Company, Ltd., of Redditch, England has established Cooper Motors of Los Angeles as their distributor for the West and Midwestern states. Gene Shillingford & Sons of Philadelphia will be covering the Middle and South Atlantic states. The Fenchurch Corp., of New York is now representing the Enfield Company, appointing distributors and dealers in the remaining territories.

Spare parts depots have been established to cover the U.S.A. The locations are Los Angeles, Detroit and Philadelphia.

Frank Cooper and George Caswell of Cooper Motors, Gene and Elmer Shillingford of Philadelphia and J.D. Bolz of the Fenchurch Corp., have just concluded a meeting in Columbus, Ohio, to coordinate their operations for an extensive sales campaign.


  1. Anonymous1/04/2011

    If you would like to see a great pic of a wooden royal enfield- please tell me how i get it onto your RE site

    bc canada

  2. You could email it to me at

    Thank you!

  3. Susan (Shillingford) Coleman3/20/2011

    Thanks for the great memory. My father was Eugene A. Shillingford- and now that my mom has also passed on, we have found all of the great memorabilia from that era- the Gene Shillingford and Sons, the Indian cycles, the Royal Enfield, the M.I.C., great photos, great films of the enduros, hill climbs, etc. Thanks for yet another bit of memory.- Susan (Shillingford) Coleman


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