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1922 Ner-A-Car Model B

  • 1922 Ner-A-Car Motorcycle
  • Eligible for the Banbury Run
  • Simplex engine
  • Variable speed drive
  • Single ownership since 1989

These wonderfully strange looking ‘feet forward’ motorcycles were designed by an American, Carl A Neracher, who started production of them in Syracuse, New York State in 1919. The design was challenging for the buying public from the outset but the steel car like chassis, the simple 221cc 2-stroke Simplex engine and hub-centre steering front end worked well. Amazingly ‘Cannonball’ Baker rode one from coast to coast (New York to Los Angeles) in only 8 days in the autumn of ‘22!

The Ner-a-Car soon found its way over to Britain, first being imported from America complete before Sheffield-Simplex acquired the manufacturing rights and production of them started here in 1921. The Sheffield-Simplex automotive factory was based in the Yorkshire city of the same name but Ner-a-Car production began in the old Sopwith Aviation buildings in Kinston-on-Thames, Surrey. The specification of the bikes where the same as their American cousins with the one exception that they had a 285cc engine.

The Ner-a-Car found great success in the UK selling 6500 machines, with the public enjoying their excellent weather protection from the enlarged front mudguard and relaxed riding position. The friction drive system did in theory allow infinite speed variations although in practice the notched gear-lever gate gave 5 forward ‘gears’.

Sadly the internal issues of the Sheffield-Simplex group as a whole brought about the end of the Ner-a-Car rather than the product itself and their factory was taken over by the newly formed Hawker Engineering who were expanding their aircraft manufacturing. In total around 16,000 Ner-a-Cars were built between the US and the UK during their 7 year production run which ended in 1926, with just over 100 examples believed to remain.

The Ner-a-Car we offer here is a 1922 Model B, Simplex engined example that was first registered on the 6th of December 1922 in Gloucestershire. The bike was in the possession of Mr. W.T. Orchard of Wick near Bristol in 1925 and it would appear that he had at least one other Ner-a-Car at this time and was in contact with H.L. Owens who had taken over the Sheffield-Simplex spares distribution.  Various insurance documents for Mr Orchard remain with the bike covering the years 1932-37 as well as two fabulous sales brochures for 1923 and 1926 as well as copies of the Instruction booklet and spare parts list.

The Ner-a-Car was later acquired by Mr. Stanley Bishop, amazingly, also of Wick near Bristol, in October 1989 who kept the bike until his passing earlier this year.   The bike was kept in a dry garage but used very little if at all. The chassis, mudguards and general condition of the bike are all in very solid condition and the engine runs although it needs a gentle overhaul to get it up to 100%.

As always, viewings are welcomed at The Hub Hangar Showroom. This is a great opportunity to buy an interesting Banbury bike to get ready for next years run!

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