1909 -1914 Wall Autowheel

1909 -1914 Wall Autowheel

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In my opinion, the most important cyclemotor model of the many hundreds of types produced throughout the 20th century is undoubtedly the Wall Auto-wheel. Absolutely brilliant in its design concept in terms of functionality and ease of attachment to the host cycle, the Auto-wheel influenced manufacturers for decades to come, who obviously had to use its design as a benchmark for the quality of their own product.

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The Stanley Show mentioned in the article below, at which the Auto-wheel made its debut in 1909, was a bicycle show. Note the comments at the end of the article…

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This Wall Autowheel was attached to my restored 1914 Humber Ladies cycle, a bicycle I owned for several years. I sold the pair of them in July 2008 to a gentleman in Germany. The Ladies Humber was sympathetically restored, and rode well, but the Wall Autowheel engine was unrestored.

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I’ve used my photos of this one to illustrate the Wall Auto-wheel fitted to a frame, from varied angles.

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This period advert features the ‘Standard Model’ and has royal endorsements: ‘HRH Prince George of Battenberg and HRH Prince Henry of Prussia ride and recommend Wall Auto-wheels.’

For those of you who forgot your school history lessons, HRH Prince George of Battenberg who zipped around on a Wall Autowheel in his twenties (born 1892) was none other than George Mountbatten (he relinquished the above title in 1917). His sister was Princess Alice, (mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh) and brother was Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

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I’ve owned quite a few of these autowheels over the last 25 years. I can still picture them leaning against piles of spares back in the magic old days of Beaulieu autojumble; they were buyable for £50-£100 when I started to collect them, slowly rising in value through the 80’s.

These days they remain by far the cheapest option if you wish to enter the prestigious annual London-Brighton Pioneer Run. What other pre-1914 motorcycle can you buy this cheaply to officially ride those hallowed 60 miles?

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I used to own the 1914 Wall pictured below, fitted to a Royal Enfield bicycle of the same year. It’s a runner with a ‘pioneer certificate’ so is eligible for the prestigious London-Brighton Pioneer Run. It was ridden in several of these events. In March 2008 I sold it to my friend Bo, who has a Moped Museum in Sweden. He’ll be collecting it in October 2008 when he next visits the UK, and I look forward to seeing pictures of it in pride of place among all those odd Swedish mopeds.

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Published on August 24, 2008 at 11:36 am  Leave a Comment  

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