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British Industrial History

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Black Prince Motors

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September 1920.

of Barnard Castle, County Durham.

Black Prince was a motorcycle produced from 1919 to 1920.

This remarkable and advanced machine was designed by E. W. Cameron of Doncaster, Yorkshire and produced at Prince Motors

1919-1924 A cyclecar built by H. G. Wright and five colleagues

1919 The engine used was either a single-cylinder 292cc Union or a 396cc flat-twin two-stroke with a single spark plug that was designed and patented by H. Singleton of Liverpool. Also unusual for the time was the use of flat top pistons and off-set big ends. The rest of the engine was conventional, but the motorcycle as a whole was not. The pressed steel frame had two sides joined at the headstock. It ran down and back to fully enclose the mechanics and form the rear mudguard. The fuel tank was set in the top - a design that was to be seen three decades later on the Velocette LE. Suspension comprised bottom-linked forks at the front and spring-controlled pivot-forks at the rear. The engine was built and successfully tested, but the machine failed to reach the market as it was too advanced and too expensive. Also used unusual 497cc flat twin two-stroke.

1920 All future prospects were lost when Cameron committed suicide. With him went the motorcycle and the Black Prince Runabout, a three-wheeler designed by A. G. Cocks which was expected to go into production.

1919 Another £100 proposition is the Black Prince runabout, a small four-wheeler embodying several features which depart from the conventional. The springing is by coil springs, and the power is provided by two Union two-stroke engines having a. total capacity of 584 c.c. These are placed side by side in a vertical position, and depend upon a 180 degree magneto for ignition. An epicyclic two-speed gear is fitted at one end of a countershaft, at the other end of which is the pulley for the final single belt drive. The frame and body are made in one, and the total weight is said to be tinder 3 cwt. The manufacturers are Black Prince Motors, Ltd., Barnard Castle, Co. Durham. [1]

Sources of Information

  1. The Motor Cycle of 11th December 1919
  • The British Motorcycle Directory - Over 1,100 Marques from 1888 - by Roy Bacon and Ken Hallworth. Pub: The Crowood Press 2004 ISBN 1 86126 674 X
  • The Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle by Peter Henshaw. Published 2007. ISBN 978 1 8401 3967 9
  • A-Z of Cars of the 1920s by Nick Baldwin. 1994. ISBN 1 870979 53 2