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A behind the scenes look at Hitchcocks Motorcycles

Hitchcocks purchase Royal Enfield Archive

6th February, 2017

In 1967, when the Royal Enfield factory in Redditch closed, the Enfield Cycle Company Ltd was purchased by Norton Villiers Ltd. Norton Villiers almost immediately contracted Enfield Precision Engineers to carry on production of the Royal Enfield Interceptor. Enfield Precision Engineers had been producing virtually all the post-war Royal Enfield twin engines from the early 50’s and shipping them to the Redditch factory to be built into complete motorcycles.

In 1971 Enfield Precision Engineers finally closed its doors and was sold to Matt Holder (of Scott, Vincent, and Velocette fame), with all its rights and documentation.

Also in 1971 Veloce Ltd, who by then were operating the spares business for the single cylinder Royal Enfields, went into liquidation and was purchased by Matt Holder.

Fast forward 45 years, and whilst Matt Holder is no longer with us, his son, David Holder, still runs the successful family business, continuing to produce spares for most popular British makes including Norton, Triumph, BSA, Velocette, Vincent, and, of course, Royal Enfield.

15 years after having first started negotiations, Hitchcocks Motorcycles have finally purchased the whole of the Royal Enfield assets then owned by David Holder. Allan Hitchcock says, “The amount of documentation initially produced by Royal Enfield was unbelievable and it’s even more astonishing that so much has survived after all this time. Whilst David had been using many of the original technical drawings to manufacture parts, the remaining documentation had been stored and left virtually untouched.” Several van loads later all these documents and drawings are safely with Hitchcocks.

This acquisition means that Hitchcocks Motorcycles now own a virtually full set of Royal Enfield factory technical drawings, dating from the late 1906 to 1971, when the factory ceased motorcycle production. Hitchcocks have also acquired the twin engine ‘despatch records’, detailing the movement of these engines from the Bradford on Avon factory to the Redditch factory, for final assembly into complete motorcycles; the ‘sanction and build records’, covering all Royal Enfield motorcycles, including those made for Madras Motors; and a treasure of factory internal documents, together with the rights passed down from Enfield Precision Engineers.

The factory documents and drawings Hitchcocks have acquired amount to tens of thousands of individual items and will take some time to classify, preserve, and catalogue. Just how comprehensive the collection of factory documents is may be gauged from the fact that the ledger-records of drawings dates from approximately 1906, with Part number ‘1’!

The technical drawings, to be used ‘in-house’, give Hitchcocks Motorcycles access to the original specifications of virtually the entire range of Royal Enfield motorcycle components – not to overlook Royal Enfield pedal cycles, stationary engines, generators, military equipment, and lawnmowers! The drawings will add greatly to our ability to continue the policy of reproducing parts for the Royal Enfield range of motorcycles, especially parts that may have been unavailable for many years.

The technical drawings not only have this obvious practical application but many have a high aesthetic value. The ‘arrangement’ drawings, of complete motorcycles and major components, are works of art in their own right.

Below are a few images of a small selection of the many documents acquired.  





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