Humber and other veterans


'Veteran' is an indication of the English Vintage Motor Cycle Club for motorcycles from 1905 to 1914. Humber Limited was a pioneering British engine manufacturer. Humber produced the first practical motorcycle in Britain by equipping one of their Humber bicycles with an EJ Pennington engine with two hp in 1896.

It started with license building

Early Humber motorcycles were built under license by Phelon & Moore with a single-cylinder P&M engine and two-speed transmission. Quarrels over royalties and P & M's desire to make its own motorcycles led to this license being canceled in 1905 so that later models got Humber 496 cc, 596 cc and 746 cc engines.

The success with one of Pennington's 340 cc V-twin Humber on the first-ever Isle of Man Junior TT in 1911 provided a brief boost in motorcycle sales.

Humber was never a real mass producer. And at the start of the Great Depression in 1929 the curtain fell on Humber.

Humber and other veterans

In these times with a craving for the simplicity of the past, the very old - when really not everything was better - there is a mildly growing interest in Real Old motorcycles. Just say machines from the beginning of the last century, when 'motorcycles' were still clearly recognizable as bicycles with motorbikes. It will be clear that the range of BMW, Harley's and Honda's and parts thereof for engines of 25 + year is considerably higher than that of those veterans. But there are still motorcycles, things and parts from that time. They are sought and found. And for enthusiasts in that corner, patience and technical craftsmanship are highly regarded traits. Internet is just as appreciated in those circles as searching in trays and under tables during countless visits to the manure obscure fairs plus Beaulieu.

Incomplete or defective

Many motorcycles, engine blocks and parts appear to be incomplete or defective. And on the Internet you will not just find the revision and instructional data of centuries. And then the 'How was that arranged, what am I missing and how can I restore it' story. In addition, the possession of a lathe, a milling machine and the necessary material knowledge is a must. There are even people who imitate entire castings. But turning something like valve guides? You just do that in between. Just like searching for and adjusting valves. And if the valves of a Nissan Micra have almost the same dimensions as the valves that you need for your 1911 machine? Then you're happy that Nissan is here.

Finally done. And then?

If the entire restoration happens after a while, then as the owner you have a motorcycle that is damn good for you. Usually the power is too low to even be able to swim in the current traffic. And if you could keep up with the speed, the brakes 100% fall short.

But luckily there are many trips through the most rural areas in the Netherlands. And those are the days when like-minded people with an almost shameless lack of haste enjoy their old-time machines. That on such a day there is not only driving, but also tinkering, talking and tinkering again? That only makes the party more fun.

The Humber in the photos was found (and restored) with a wrong block. Years later, owner Lex found an original, but very dead and worn block. And that V twin was lovingly handled by friend Jan Eggink.

Please help us keep this website and the articles on offer free. Subscribe yourself Auto Motor Klassiek and also receive the magazine 12 times a year in the mail. Or donate a desired amount on our payment page via this link. We are certainly grateful for it.

Dear Classic Lover

Enjoy daily free stories about vintage cars in your email and sign up for free. 

Humber V twin 2

Humber V twin parts


One Comment

Leave a Reply
  1. I am a member of Heeren van Vreeswijk and I own a unique Royal Enfield from 1935. It is a model ,, T ,, of which very few have been made.

Give an answer

The email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

The maximum upload file size: 8 MB. you can upload: image. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here


The Saab of Aunt Cornely

Peugeot 304

Peugeot 304. A golden handle