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c.1903 P&M/Humber (see text)
Registration no. BS 8206
Frame no. 846
Engine no. B46
Rare early Veteran motorcycle
An older restoration
Acquired by the late owner in 1993
Phelon & Moore (P&M) was founded in Cleckheaton, South Yorkshire in 1904. Joah C Phelon, partner with Harry Rayner in a small engineering business in the town, had built his first prototype motorcycle in 1900, the rights to which were later licensed to the Humber company. Following Rayner's untimely death in 1903, Phelon entered into a fresh partnership with Richard Moore. Phelon's first designs had incorporated engines with inclined cylinders forming part of the frame, and this trademark arrangement was continued by the newly formed P&M.
A firm with its roots in the Victorian bicycle industry, Humber began experimenting with powered transport in the closing years of the 19th Century. Humber's bicycles had quickly gained a reputation for their fine quality, and the resulting increased demand led to the firm's relocation in 1878 to larger premises in neighbouring Beeston. Thomas Humber was in partnership with Fred Cooper and Thomas Marriott at that time, and the latter pair continued to market cycles using the 'Humber' name after the partnership dissolved a few years later. To differentiate his products from those of his erstwhile partners, Thomas Humber called them 'Genuine Humber' or 'Beeston Humber'. By this time there were Humber factories operating in Wolverhampton and Coventry, and the firm - already one of Britain's largest cycle makers - continued to use the term 'Beeston Humber' to signify top-of-the-range models. This policy would also be applied to its motorcycles, the first of which, a built-under-license P&M of 2hp, appeared in 1902. Thus the 2hp Beeston came with Humber's own twin-tube 'anti-vibration' front fork and cost £60, while the alternative Standard Special was £10 cheaper. For 1903, as well as chain-driven P&M-patented models of 1¾hp and 2¾hp, Humber also offered a smaller belt-driven Minerva-powered model of 1½hp, the Beeston version of the latter again being the more expensive of the two on offer.
Although previously identified as an MMC, this machine has since been re-evaluated and the consensus of expert opinion is that it is either a P&M or a Humber, the latter being essentially the former built under license. The current vendor's father acquired the machine in 1993 and the vendor recalls seeing him riding it, although for most of the last 20-or-so years it has been kept under cover in his workshop. Accompanying documentation consists of a V5C document. Prospective purchasers should satisfy themselves with regard to this motorcycle's origins and date of manufacture prior to bidding.