1947 ROYAL-ENFIELD BulletView vehicle description
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In 1891 needle manufacturers George Townsend & Co were taken over by entrepreneurs Bob Walker and Albert Eadie, who had recently begun producing bicycles. The bicycles continued to be developed, with even a four-wheel unit known as the Quadricycle with a 1 ½ hp engine. However, it was in 1901 when the first two-wheel motorcycle from Royal Enfield was born, and from then on, there was no looking back as the company continued to develop engines and frames, including their famous V-twin, which used a Swiss-made 297cc Motosacoche engine. This engine successfully powered the bike in various competitions, including the John O’ Groats to Lands End Trial.
Production continued through World War One with their biggest bike to date, the 770cc V-twin, which was supplied to the British, Belgian, French, United States and Imperial Russian armies. Following the war, the company was stronger than ever, improving and releasing new models every couple of years up until 1939, when World war Two started, and the company began to produce probably one of the most iconic models of all time, The Flying Flea. A 125cc motorcycle would be released in a specially fabricated cradle with a parachute and dropped with paratroops behind enemy lines.
By the end of World War Two, things had developed further in the motorcycle world, and the introduction of telescopic forks over the old Girder design was a welcomed improvement. This was when the ‘Bullet’ was introduced, with a 498cc engine and fixed rear arm which would later develop into the swing arm rear suspension.
The 1947 Royal Enfield Bullet is in excellent order, having been extensively maintained by the vendor's late father, who had owned the motorcycle since 1990. Where possible, many of the original parts have been used, refurbished, or replaced as a last resort. This had been an ongoing maintenance/restoration program for many years to preserve the classic Royal Enfield Bullet.
On the Outside
Starting at the front of the bike, the wheel is in excellent condition and has a bright finish to the chrome. The tyre is in good condition and looks period correct, but we are unsure as to how old it is. Above, the mudguard is thought to be the original, which has the Royal Enfield decal on the front which shows some slight patina but is in keeping with the age of the motorcycle. Following the telescopic forks, the handlebars look in good order, with minimal tarnishing to the chrome finish.
The gauge is said to be working as it should, and the vendor states that approximately 4,000 miles are showing. Just below is the large bowl-type headlamp, also in good condition. Further back, the fuel tank has a chrome and black finish with red pinstriping and rubber pads fitted to either side and is in excellent condition.
At the rear, the mudguard is in good condition, like the front; also, the light looks to be the original and is free from any damage. Two small side panniers are present and in good condition, and between those is a raised-up frame and grab handle with a seat attached for a pillion. The rear wheel matches the front and has a bright finish with a period correct looking tyre.
On the Inside
Sitting on the bike, the seat is sprung to offer a good amount of comfort; there is some slight wear to this, but this has probably just worn it in nicely. The pillion seat is in good condition and, as you would expect, looks to have had less use. The grips are also in good order with just a light sign of wear, and as mentioned, the instruments are said to be working. The rubber covers on the foot pegs, gear selector and brake, are in good condition with minimal signs of any wear.
Royal Enfield designed the frame from tubular steel, which had been developed from previous models. This is finished in black and shows no areas for concern. There is a side stand, or for extended periods just behind the rear wheel; the centre stand can be used.
Fitted with a 498cc engine, this produces approximately 21bhp. It is believed to be the original engine J341 which has been rebuilt at some stage and well maintained since then. The Enfield kicks up as it should with no issues reported. The gearbox is the original four-speed which is said to be operating correctly. Both the casings on the engine and gearbox present well and show minimal signs of any tarnishing. The oil tank is in good condition, and the bike is fitted with a low-level exhaust, which has a bright finish to it.
This classic British motorcycle has been with the vendor's father since 1990. He has meticulously maintained and continued to tinker and enjoy the bike for the past 30 years, always ensuring it was running as it should and continuously preserving the wonderful Enfield.
There is a nice collection of handmade notes and drawings as part of the history file the vendor’s father made over the years as he carried out work on the bike.
What We Think
Coming from one of the oldest motorcycle manufacturers in Great Britain, the Royal Enfield Bullet is one of the greats. It has the perfect 1940s styling, is a joy to ride and sounds fantastic.
Finding one in such good condition with many of its original parts is quite a find in today’s world. This would make the perfect addition for any collector wanting to add to their collection or any enthusiast wanting a beautiful motorcycle from this era.
We estimate this classic British Royal Enfield to bring in the region of CHF 3,000 - CHF 7,000.
Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with the vendor in Sullens, Switzerland. To arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
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