1903 WYATT-MINERVA 331CC MOTOCYCLETTE
Bonhams | 16-Oct-2016 | The Autumn Stafford Sale Important Collectors Motorcycles | Venue : Stafford, Staffordshire County Showground
Category : Classic Motorcycles
Lot No. : 194
Year : 1903
Engine Size : -
Registration No. : H 338
Chassis No. : # 8133
Engine No. : # 9244
No longer available - Sold or withdrawn from sale
 

 

• Previously owned by H L 'Bert' Fruin
• Present family ownership since 1953
• Pioneer Certificate
Although a late comer to bicycle manufacturer, the Belgian Minerva concern was among the first to offer a viable proprietary engine for motorcycles. Nominally of one horsepower, the 211cc unit was designed for attachment ahead of the cycle's front down-tube - a location which became known as the 'Minerva position'. As well as building complete powered machines of its own, the company served the much larger proprietary engine market, supplying. many Continental manufacturers as well as those in Britain, notably: Ariel; Matchless; Phoenix; Quadrant; Royal Enfield; and Triumph.
Larger-capacity engines, including v-twins, were developed, though the inevitable increase in bulk meant that these were mounted conventionally within the frame. The marque achieved numerous victories in motorcycle racing, yet despite its commercial and competition successes on two wheels, Minerva's plans for the future lay elsewhere, and the company abandoned motorcycle manufacture after 1909 to concentrate on cars.
This Minerva-engined machine is badged as a 'Wyatt Minerva', though whether 'Wyatt' refers to the make of bicycle or the shop that assembled the machine is not known. Driving directly by belt, the engine displaces 331cc and has the 'atmospheric' type of inlet valve and a mechanical exhaust valve.
An older restoration, 'H 338' was previously registered to independent engineer H L 'Bert' Fruin of Hillingdon, Middlesex, constructor of a series of technically interesting 'specials' in the 1950s and 1960s, including a DOHC 125cc twin-cylinder racer and a modular V4/V8 engine. Bert Fruin rode the Wyatt-Minerva on the Pioneer Run at least once, and sold it to Stan Gilks in February 1953 (see documentation on file). The machine was last taxed in April 1966. Offered for restoration, it comes with an old-style V5 document, RF60 logbook, Sunbeam MCC correspondence, and a 1992 reissued Sunbeam Pioneer Certificate.