1971 Rickman-Enfield Interceptor
Mike Engelhart's 1971 Rickman-Enfield Interceptor.
Photo by Gary Ilminen
Years produced: 1970-1972
Number produced: 137 (approx.)
Claimed power: 60hp @ 6,500rpm
Top speed: 115mph (est.)
Engine type: 736cc air-cooled, OHV parallel twin
Weight (dry): 365lb (166kg)
Price then: $2,100
Price now: $12,000-$18,000
Dateline: 1974. Bad news dominates North America. President Nixon signs legislation making 55mph the national top speed to cut fuel consumption as the OPEC oil embargo deepens. The Watergate investigation reaches full boil, the House votes for impeachment and Nixon resigns. Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s government falls after a vote of “no confidence.” And Wisconsin’s Mike Engelhart decides to buy a 1971 Rickman-Enfield Interceptor from a Canadian dealer. What?
The U.S. government was in turmoil, and in no mood for international shenanigans — especially from some Royal Enfield nut from Wisconsin.
“I already owned a 1968 Royal Enfield 750 Interceptor,” Mike says. “In 1974, I saw an ad from Chariot Cycles up in Winnipeg about the Rickman-Enfield 750. With the Rickman chrome-moly frame, Ceriani forks, Dunlop tires, Borrani rims, and front and rear disc brakes, the bike was really state of the art, and it had the 750cc Royal Enfield Interceptor engine, which I really liked. So, I decided to go up to Canada and buy one. The Rickman was still in the crate for the trip back from Canada. At the border, the U.S. customs inspector pried the crate open enough to see the Rickman’s steering head, looking for the EPA certification plate. It didn’t have one, so I wasn’t allowed to bring it across.”
Someone less determined might have gotten his money back and given up; not Mike Engelhart. Like any true American, he set out to beat the system. He took the bike back to Chariot Cycles, uncrated it, removed the engine/transmission package and put that in the trunk of his car, and re-crated the rest. He arranged for Chariot to air freight the crate to Minneapolis and headed for the border again, but this time to a different crossing point, in hopes of avoiding the same inspector. It was a good thought, but it didn’t work.
“The same guy was at the other border crossing! This time, with the motor alone, there was no problem.” Mike recalls, smiling. “Then I had to go to Minneapolis, pick up the crate, and then back to Wisconsin to my sister’s house — because I didn’t have a garage at the time — to reassemble the bike.” After no small trouble, Mike finally had his Rickman.
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