1931 Coventry Eagle Other
Year of manufacture1931
1931 Coventry Eagle 496cc Model G54 'Flying 500'
Frame no. 50786G
Engine no. DPR.031.CE370
Rare Coventry Eagle sports single
Established in Victorian times as a bicycle manufacturer, Coventry-Eagle built a diverse range of motorcycles using proprietary (mainly JAP) engines from 1901 onwards, though machines only began to be produced in significant numbers after WWI. Six Coventry-Eagles were offered for 1923, 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, one of the latter's sloping overhead-valve twin-port units being used to power its top-of-the range single, known as the 'Flying 500'. Complementing the Sturmey-Archer-engined G54 model in the 1931 sports roadster range was a JAP-powered 350, the Model G46, and another 500, the G55, also JAP-powered, the latter costing £2 5s more than the £49 15s asking price of the G54. 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.
This 'Flying 500' dates from 1931, the final year of the Model 54's production. VMCC correspondence on file, dated 18th August 1997, reveals that this rare Coventry Eagle was in the possession of a Netherlands-based enthusiast at that time and in need of 'major restoration'. Subsequently restored, it is presented today in beautiful condition and offered with old Portuguese and current Netherlands registration documents.