2022 Shannons Winter Timed Online Auction

1912 Premier 500cc Motorcycle





Engine Single-cylinder, 499cc
Gearbox Single-speed belt Drive
Colour Black

Notice (Form 11)


This lot is no longer available

The origins of Premier Motor Cycles Ltd can be traced back to the bicycle manufacturing business founded in Coventry by W H Herbert and William Hillman in 1876, initially branded the Hillman and Herbert Cycle Company before changing its name to The Premier Cycle Company Ltd in 1891.  Hillman had previously been at the forefront of bicycle development, designing the modern ‘safety bicycle’ along with the rubber tyre and would go on to build motorcycles and ultimately cars under his own name.  It wasn’t until 1908 that Premier began building powered motorcycles, initially using proprietary White & Poppe side-valve engines, a Brown and Barlow carburettor, Bosch magento and Chater-Lea front forks.  Premier switched to their own engines in 1909, starting with a V-twin but a 500cc single was added to the line-up the following year and the range expanded rapidly.  By 1912 Premier catalogued a standard 2 ½ horsepower single, the Tourist 3 ½ horsepower single with an optional Premier Free Engine Clutch and a choice of Millennium two-speed gearbox or Armstrong three-speeds, a Lady’s Model (with open frame) and the more expensive 3 ¾ horsepower V-twin.  When war broke out in 1914, a number of 3 ½ horsepower Premiers were supplied to the War Office for use with the Expeditionary Force, along with Lord Lonsdale’s Colonial Corps.  Premier didn’t resume motorcycle production following the First World War, although Singer did take over the cyclecar part of the business in 1921 and Premier bikes were ultimately built under licence in Czechoslovakia between the wars.