The largest supplier of proprietary motorcycle engines in the world, J. A. Prestwich & Co (aka JAP), decided to go racing with something unique in 1922.
In a matter of weeks, a small team headed by Val Page, aided by Herbert Le Vack, had produced a radical new design – the first British double-overhead-camshaft motorcycle racing engine.
With this amazingly advanced engine fitted to a New Imperial frame, Le Vack stunned his competitors at the 1922 Isle of Man TT. From then on the engine and its successors proved invincible – breaking numerous National and World Records over a four-year period. Yet the subsequent world recession, and a world war, consigned these achievements to memory and eventually bestowed upon them an almost mythological status. JAP’s engineering archives were discarded, and the handful of engines made might well have been lost too had it not been for a series of enthusiasts.
In Le Vack’s Legacy, Brian Thorby traces the fortunes of the small number of JAP racing engines and parts that have wandered Europe for nearly a century. Much has been written and illustrated about JAP ohv Speedway and V-twin engines, but almost nothing about their unconventional double-overhead-camshaft brothers – until now. This authoritative new account finally puts aside the myths and sets the record straight.
The definitive history of the two-stroke Suzukis, from little known machines hardly seen outside Japan to the triples that took on the world. The book covers all major markets and uses stunning contemporary photography gathered from all over the world to help owners and enthusiasts establish authenticity or simply take a trip down memory lane.
Researched and written in Japan with the full co-operation of the factory, here in definitive detail is the story of the two-stroke Suzuki bikes – a series of models that put the company on the map, helping it to survive a difficult era that saw hundreds of Japanese motorcycle makers reduced to just four.
Successful immediately, the two-stroke models defended Suzuki's honour on the tracks as well as in the showrooms, handing the company numerous world championship titles. The series has now been all but killed off, but this title helps celebrate an era when the two-stroke was king, concentrating on the 1950s through to the late-1970s.
Reprinted after a long absence! Bill Cakebread's apprenticeship changed his life forever. This book gives a unique insight to the excitement of working at the AMC motorcycle factory. It is an inspiring story, supported by period photographs and rare documents, and a fascinating record of the British motorcycle industry.
Reprinted after a long absence! This is the inspiring story of how a young school-leaver with no academic qualifications and low expectations built a successful career based on an apprenticeship with Associated Motor Cycles Ltd, and eventually became Managing Director of his company.
It describes the very personal story of the ups and downs of factory life in the 1950s and 1960s. In particular, it conveys the unique atmosphere and excitement that surrounds the manufacture of motorcycles, an atmosphere that for those who have experienced it is like no other. The excellence of the training that was provided by the company enabled the writer to achieve far more than he ever anticipated.
The journey through the factory, starting with the lowliest of duties in the machine shops and ending as personal assistant to the top motorcycle designers of their time, is described in detail. It gives a rare insight into working practices within the different departments and the characters that were employed.
Supported by a host of period photographs and rare documents, it provides a unique record of work within the British motorcycle industry in the final years of its decline into oblivion.