1926 Fabrique Nationale 748cc


  • Year of manufacture 
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1926 FN 748cc M-50 Four Motorcycle Combination
Frame no. 125
Engine no. 2007B

Responding to demands from sidecar drivers for more power, FN introduced a new 748cc four – the Type 700 – for 1914. This new engine was a sidevalve of 'T'-head layout, with mechanically operated valves and a mechanical oil pump, which drove the three-speed gearbox via a steel, multi-plate clutch. Pedal starting was dispensed with on the Type 700, a kick-start mechanism being added at the engine's right-hand side. The Type 700 had not been in production long before the FN works was seized by the invading German Army in the autumn of 1914. The occupying Germans used the FN factory to manufacture ammunition while continuing production of the Type 700, which had a top speed of around 72km/h (45mph) and was widely used by despatch riders. The model remained in production up to 1923 when it was replaced by a new overhead-valve, chain-driven four. FN's new 748cc four featured an integral three-speed gearbox and electric lighting as standard although, bizarrely, the dynamo was an optional 'extra'! Despite this improved specification, sales were disappointingly sluggish and FN's long-running four was dropped from the range in 1926, thus closing the chapter on the world's first commercially successful four-cylinder motorcycle. Dating from the final year of production, this restored FN motorcycle combination previously formed part of the Spanish Pamplona Collection, sold by Bonhams in February 2010. The machine was last used a few months ago and is described as all original and in excellent working order. It is offered with a (copy) instruction manual and Belgian registration papers.