1924 Beardmore-Precision

This 1924 Beardmore-Precision Type F is one of four known survivors, and it’s the only one in the U.S.

| September/October 2013

1924 Beardmore-Precision Type F
Engine: 246cc air-cooled sidevalve single, 59mm x 90mm bore and stroke
Claimed power: 2.25hp
Top speed: 50mph (claimed)
Weight: 198lb (90kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 1.75gal (6.6ltr)/125mpg(est)
Price then/now: $220/$12,500

To enjoy an older, well-traveled motorcycle, mechanical sympathy is required; abundant facial hair is optional.

Mention the name Beardmore-Precision to even the most well-informed classic motorcycle aficionado and you’ll likely be met with a blank stare. The name sounds like it must be British, but beyond that it sounds like a brand of razor blades rather than motorcycles.

That kind of response isn’t surprising considering Beardmore-Precision sold its last motorcycle almost 90 years ago and surviving examples of the marque are as rare as rocking horse manure.

Way back when

Sir William Beardmore was from Glasgow, Scotland, and his family’s enterprises spanned multiple industries including steelmaking, armor plate, naval guns, ship building (including passenger ships and the first flat deck aircraft carrier), marine diesels, aircraft (his R34 zeppelin was the first airship to complete a double crossing of the Atlantic, in 1919), aero engines, high-speed diesel engines, steam locomotives, six separate cars, four different makes of commercial vehicles, and two different motorcycle and motorcycle engine companies in 10 different factories. Clearly, Sir William Beardmore was a remarkably busy fellow. His legendary motto was: “Transport is the thing.” For you trivia buffs, the Beardmore Glacier was named after Sir William in recognition of his sponsorship of Ernest Shackleton’s 1907 Antarctic Expedition.

The second half of the marque’s name came from the Precision Engine Company. Frank Baker built his factory in Birmingham, England, in 1906, staffed with 20 employees and the intention of producing machinery capable of extremely accurate metal working operations such as thread cutting, cylinder boring and the production of jigs and gauges. By 1910 he had branched out to making motorcycle engines, one of his first being a 499cc sidevalve unit. The engine turned out to be a great success and was soon followed by a wide range of engines. In fact, at the 1911 Olympia Motorcycle Show in London, there were no fewer than 96 different models of motorcycle fitted with Baker’s engines.

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