Monday, February 6, 2017

Hitchcocks Motorcycles purchases Royal Enfield history

Royal Enfield factory work books, open to first page to show Part No. 1, dating back to 1906.
The technical history of Royal Enfield motorcycles in Britain all the way back to "Part No. 1" is now in the hands of a UK firm dedicated to keeping vintage Royal Enfields on the road and supplied with parts.

After 15 years of negotiations, Hitchcocks Motorcycles has purchased the Royal Enfield documents and drawings — tens of thousands in all — originally compiled by the factories in Redditch and Bradford-on-Avon.

Van loads of documents are now at Hitchcocks Motorcycles, the firm that has become the leading outlet for vintage Royal Enfield parts.

"The amount of documentation initially produced by Royal Enfield was unbelievable and it's even more astonishing that so much has survived after all this time," Allan Hitchcock said in a press release today.

The materials had been in the hands of David Holder, whose father Matt acquired the materials after Enfield Precision Engineers, last remnant of Royal Enfield production in Britain, closed in 1971. The Holder family business was using the technical drawings to produce spare parts, but other documentation remained in storage.

"Just how comprehensive the collection of factory documents is may be gauged from the fact that the ledger-records of drawings dates from approximately 1906, with Part number 1!" the press release enthuses.

It adds:

"The technical drawings, to be used in-house, give Hitchcocks Motorcycles access to the original specifications of virtually the entire range of Royal Enfield motorcycle components — not to overlook Royal Enfield pedal cycles, stationary engines, generators, military equipment, and lawnmowers! The drawings will add greatly to our ability to continue the policy of reproducing parts for the Royal Enfield range of motorcycles, especially parts that may have been unavailable for many years."
Some of the better sorted technical drawings. There are about 40,000.
"This acquisition means that Hitchcocks Motorcycles now own a virtually full set of Royal Enfield factory technical drawings, dating from the late 1906 to 1971, when the factory ceased motorcycle production. Hitchcocks have also acquired the twin engine dispatch records, detailing the movement of these engines from the Bradford-on-Avon factory to the Redditch factory, for final assembly into complete motorcycles; the sanction-and-build records, covering all Royal Enfield motorcycles, including those made for Madras Motors; and a treasure of factory internal documents, together with the rights passed down from Enfield Precision Engineers."

Records including those for 350cc Bullets for Madras.
Finally, the release notes: "The technical drawings not only have this obvious practical application but many have a high aesthetic value. The 'arrangement' drawings, of complete motorcycles and major components, are works of art in their own right."

Dispatch books, including Constellation and Super Meteor models.


  1. I sure hope this treasure trove of material soon finds its way into a new comprehensive book or books about the marque. It will also be interesting to see if any later designs circa 1969-70 that never made it into production is incorporated in new RE manufacture.

  2. Blimey, Allen's going to wear that scanner out!

  3. Anonymous2/12/2017

    Here's hoping there's manufacturing drawings and data for the Indian branded Enfields. A lot of small bits were peculiar to the line and there's not much detailed information or images for restorers of these machines.


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