• Rare early Swiss motorcycle
• An older restoration
• Unfinished project
Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, Moto-Rêve (literally: 'dream bike') made complete motorcycles and proprietary engines for sale to other manufacturers between 1904 and 1925, setting up a UK-based subsidiary that manufactured motorcycles under the 'Alp' name. Pioneers of the small-capacity v-twin, Moto-Rêve made much of its products' lack of weight, advertising a complete machine weighing just 39kgs (86lbs), of which the power unit complete with magneto and carburettor accounted for just 13kgs (29lbs). In common with many of their contemporaries, early Moto-Rêve engines used 'atmospheric' inlet valves, the side exhaust valve being opened mechanically, and were secured to the frame by clamps, an arrangement that facilitated their installation by other manufacturers. Extremely well made, these jewel-like little engines incorporated gear drive for cams and magneto.
Moto-Rêve motorcycles were imported by Frank Feeney's firm, The Motor Supply Company based in Lewisham, South London, which was the sole concessionaire for the UK and Colonies. However, it was found that the machines infringed on Bowden's patents relating to cables, leading to future imports being restricted to engines only. Feeney then changed his firm's name to The Moto-Rêve Co Ltd and assembled and sold complete machines using UK-sourced cycle parts. In 1912 Moto-Rêve' established the 'Alp' brand in the UK to produce their motorcycles, though whether Feeney participated in that venture or was merely a distributor is unclear.
This Moto-Rêve dates from 1907 and was acquired, partly dismantled, following its sale at an auction in the 1980s. After a frustrating few years, caused by a poorly overhauled magneto, the machine was eventually made to run properly using another magneto. Noteworthy features include a Hella headlamp and P&H acetylene generator. The old magneto is available as a separate lot together with a spare set of timing gears (including the magneto drive gears), a Moto-Rêve plug spanner, and the inlet cages. Some photocopied literature, including a parts list, is included in the sale.