THE A.B.C. MOTOR CYCLE.
A New Development.
At a luncheon held at the Sopwith Aviation Co.'s works at Kingston-on-Thames on Monday, the 9th inst., it was announced that the A.B.C. motor bicycle would in future be manufactured in quantity by the Sopwith Aviation Co., Ltd.
It was in 1914, when war broke out, that the A.B.C. motor bicycle had reached a stage when it could be manufactured in quantities and sold to the public. Then the War put an end to all further developments, and A.B.C. Motors, Ltd. devoted its attention mainly to aeroplane engines. In the meantime, however, after-the-war possibilities were not lost sight of, with the result that the present, arrangement has come about, and to celebrate the occasion a luncheon was given to the press. After the toast of “The King” had been proposed, the chairman, Mr. T. O. M. Sopwith, said a few words about the future of the A. B.C.
It may be mentioned that Mr. Sopwith, whose name is now so well-known in aviation circles, though still quite a young man, was in the early days an enthusiastic motor cyclist. His first public appearance was in the Tricar Trials of 1904, and thereafter he and his then partner (Mr. Paddon) sold a few machines which were then quite up-to-date mounts. Later, however, aviation claimed him, and it is as a manufacturer of aeroplanes he has become famous.
Mr. Sopwith's Speech.
Mr. Sopwith said that some seven years ago his company started building aeroplanes at Brooklands in a very small way. However, the works extended, and a skating rink was taken in Kingston. Inside a month they moved into another works. Then came the war, and the manufacture of aeroplanes was increased to a great extent, and the works grew to such a degree as to employ 35 000 people.
Only recently new premises had been opened at Ham, and this gave the company the idea that they had plenty of room in which to turn out quantities of motor bicycles. Commercial aviation would come in due time, but it was no good going at it at half cock, and it would not come with a big rush, but they were going to employ all their men and women, and soldiers coming back from Overseas, to manufacture the A.B.C., made by a company with which his firm has been in connection in the very earliest days at Brooklands, as it was in 1912 that Hawker on a Sopwith machine won the Michelin Endurance prize; and, curiously enough, their latest effort has been made with an A.B.C. engine. Seven years ago they had taken a motto — "Strength with Efficiency” — and with that motto they intended to carry on in the manufacture of the A.B.C. motor bicycle. He would also like to say that he was a strong believer in competitions, and intended to go in largely for various trials. It did not matter whether they won or not, but valuable experience was gained and excellent lessons were learnt. Mr. Sopwith then went on to speak about the arrangements which would be made with the A.B.C. Co. Nothing had been decided until the Armistice was signed, when he approached Mr. Bradshaw and asked him to turn out, an experimental model. Mr. Bradshaw said it could be done in three weeks. Mr. Sopwith told him he did not believe him, but asked him to go ahead, with the result that the machine was placed on the road in eleven days, and was a well-finished job. In the next few weeks a new model would be ready and proved, and the company would be able to turn out large quantities, say one hundred a week, but no effort in this direction would 'be made until they were satisfied with every detail.
From “The Motor Cycle”, December 19th, 1918