Historic Motorcycle Brands
The Minstrel Cycle Company became the Minstrel & Rea Cycle Company in 1905 and started making motorcycles in 1909. The company name changed again to the Calthorpe Motor Cycle Company and production continued until 1938.
Until production paused during World War I, Calthorpe used a wide range of engines in their motorcycles, starting with White and Poppe, then Precision, JAP and, in 1915, Peco two-strokes.
1925 Calthorpe Sports Special
In the late 1920s, the company launched a new range under the sub-brand of Ivory Calthorpe, using its own, single-cylinder, ‘sloper’-design engine that was similar in sizes and output to contemporary BSA units.
The OHV, twin-port, 348cc engine fitted into a full-cradle duplex frame and used a three-speed Burman gearbox, with a tank-mounted gearchange.
The engine breathed through an Amal carb, with spark from a BTH magneto mounted at the rear of the cylinder.
By 1935 there was a 498cc option, but both models’ top speeds were similar at around 70mph. The design was low-set, as opposed to traditional sit-on design that was described by one tester as a ‘sack-of-potatoes slump!’
1930 Calthorpe Ivory 350
Calthorpe motorcycles were exclusively sold by London-based dealer, Pride & Clark , for the then-princely sums of Stg£52 and Stg£54 respectively.
The Great Depression restricted sales and then looming War clouds did the rest.
When the receiver sold the works in 1939, Bruce Douglas, the nephew of the founder of Douglas, bought the Calthorpe equipment and moved it to Bristol.
1936 Calthorpe Ivory 500cc – Piero
He built new models powered by 347cc and 497cc Matchless engines, but only a few were built before production was stopped by the outbreak of World War II. Production did not recommence after the end of the war, and the equipment was sold to DMW.