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Rare British Bikes in Wichita Collection

By John Gunnell

From heavyweight collector cars like the Woodill Wildfire that Tony Curtis drove in the 1953 film “Johnny Dark” to a Ryan S-T Training Monoplane to three very rare motorcycles, Lawrence Smith of Wichita, Kan., enjoys his collection of vintage machinery. Smith once taught woodworking and welding, skills that came in handy when he started restoring classic machinery.

As a high schooler, Smith developed an interest in vintage vehicles. He became an industrial arts teacher. Later, he made his fortune in designing and manufacturing aircraft interiors. This allowed him to build his collection, which although diverse, is centered around British luxury cars. With that kind of emphasis, it’s not hard to understand why he collects British motorcycles.

Among Smith’s motorcycles is an early Royal Enfield with a sidecar. Royal Enfield was a name the Enfield Cycle Co. made motorcycles, bicycles, lawnmowers and stationary engines under. A legacy of weapons making is reflected in the company’s logo with a cannon and the motto "Made like a gun, goes like a bullet" Royal Enfield was licensed by The Crown in 1890. The original Redditch, Worcestershire firm was sold to Norton-Villiers-Triumph in 1968.

Smith also has an English built Quadrant motorcycle. Quadrant was one of the earliest British motorcycle makers. It was established in Birmingham in 1901. Walter and William Lloyd founded the company, Famous for big singles, Quadrant pioneered many innovations that proved important for motorcycle development, but struggled after World War I and folded up in 1928.

Smith also owns a 3-1/2-hp 1914 New Hudson Motorcycle with a Mills & Fuller sidecar made like a wicker basket. New Hudson was a British firm  founded in Birmingham, in 1903, by George Patterson. The first motorcycle was produced in 1902, but was unsuccessful. The New Hudson range expanded between 1910-1915 when JAP engines were used. The factory joined the war effort until 1919. As well as side-valve and OHV single-cylinder engines of 350 to 600 cc, New Hudson also built a 211 cc two-stroke and a number of three-wheelers with MAG engines. In 1927 Bert le Vack broke the 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) record at Brooklands on a 500 cc New Hudson.

New Hudson stopped motorcycle production in 1932, changed its name to Girling Ltd and became a brake-component company that still survives. Bikes were made under the New Hudson name after World War II, as subsidiary of Birmingham Small Arms Co. It successfully madel autocycles until 1957.

BHL 28 Photo 1
Royal Enfield with a sidecar.

BHL 28 Photo 2
Quadrant  was one of the earliest British motorcycle makers.

BHL 28 Photo 3
Smith has this 3-1/2-hp 1914 New Hudson with a Mills & Fuller sidecar.

BHL 28 Photo 4
The New Hudson range expanded between 1910-1915. This is a 1914 model.



 




 

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