Bonhams | 16-Oct-2016 | The Autumn Stafford Sale Important Collectors Motorcycles | Venue : Stafford, Staffordshire County Showground
Category : Classic Motorcycles
Lot No. : 200
Year : -
Engine Size : -
No longer available - Sold or withdrawn from sale


• Believed to be an early Coventry Eagle
• Present family ownership for many years
• An older restoration
Established in Victorian times as a bicycle manufacturer, Coventry-Eagle built a diverse range of motorcycles using proprietary engines from the late 1890s onwards. Engine suppliers during the company's formative years included MMC, De Dion and Buchet, and one of its first products was a 2¾hp forecar. After 1903, motor cycle production appears to have dwindled, and it was not until after WWI that machines began to leave the factory in significant numbers.
For 1923 there were six Coventry-Eagles on offer, all JAP-powered except for a Blackburne-engined 350, ranging from the formidable Flying Eight to the diminutive S14 Ultra-Lightweight. Most famous of these was the Flying Eight which, with its 1.0-litre JAP v-twin engine and muscular good looks, was a worthy rival for the Brough Superior and a formidable Brooklands racing machine. Introduced in 1923, the Flying Eight was not Coventry-Eagle's first v-twin but it was the first to establish a sporting reputation thanks to its special 976cc sidevalve engine that guaranteed a top speed of 80mph, an exceptional performance at the time. In 1926 the sidevalve version was joined by a new and even faster overhead-valve engined Flying Eight, again JAP powered.
Coventry Eagle entered the 1930s with a varied line-up of models powered by Villiers, JAP and Sturmey Archer engines, Within a few years however, the onset of the Depression had forced Coventry-Eagle to change tack, the firm concentrating mainly on bread-and-butter lightweights until it ceased motorcycle production in 1939.
Believed to be a Coventry Eagle, this very early motorcycle has been owned by the Gilks family (proprietors of Stan Gilks Ltd, a motorcycle dealership in Ickenham, Middlesex) for many years. Although badged as a Coventry Eagle, it has not been positively identified (further research is required) and prospective purchasers should satisfy themselves with regard to the machine's manufacturing date and authenticity prior to bidding.
The single-cylinder engine has 'atmospheric' inlet and mechanical exhaust valves, and drives the rear wheel directly via a belt, while the handlebar-mounted Lucas Petroleum Silver King cycle lamp is particularly worthy of note. Restored circa eight years ago, the machine is beginning to show some signs of deterioration. There are no documents with this Lot, which is sold strictly as viewed.