New Hudson Cycle Co
of Summer Hill Street, Icknield Street and Goodman Street, Birmingham.
New Hudson motorcycles were produced from 1903 to 1933, and from 1940 to 1958
1912-24 Manufacturer of automobiles
1890 Hudson Bicycles may have been a precursor company
1896 New Hudson Cycle Co registered.
1900 Held 4th AGM and reported loss of £659.
1903 The first motorcycle was produced. It was an early primitive fitted with a De Dion engine. At that time the firm was based in Icknield Street, Birmingham, but they soon left the powered market.
1909 Advertisement. New Hudson Cycle Co Ltd, 108 Ann Street, Belfast.
1910 Late that year the company returned to making motorcycles, this time in Summer Hill Street. They listed two models of conventional design, fitted with 2.5hp or 3.5hp JAP engines, belt drive, Druid forks and with various transmission options.
1910 Proposed to concentrate production in 2 factories rather than 3
c.1911 Started making motorcycles
1911 They added their own 3.5hp engine.
1913 The bicycle part of the business was steady; the great increase in recent years had occurred in the motorcycle part of the business. Rights issue of new shares
1913 The JAP engines were dropped; instead used their own 2.75hp motor.
1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of motorcycles see the 1917 Red Book
1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Cars see the 1917 Red Book
1914 Order for 10 motorcycles with sidecars for experiment on rural deliveries of post
1914 A 6hp V-twin appeared, plus a 211cc two-stroke lightweight. This and the 3.5hp single ran on until 1916.
Post-WWI. Only the two-stroke engine was listed.
1922 A 594cc four-stroke single appeared.
1923 The two-strokes were stopped, but 346cc and 296cc models appeared.
1924 A 346cc ohv model appeared.
1926 Models of 490cc and 594cc were listed, with sporting names.
1927 A New Hudson came second in the Senior TT and records were set at Brooklands.
1929 A 249cc sv model, known as the Ixion, was sold at a reduced price in order to clear stocks.
1931 The range was revised so that engines were inclined with partial enclosure.
1932 The 'Depression' years were hard for all concerned. The inclined engines had had their heyday, enclosure was not popular and the new engines had problems.
1933 Having hit a low spot, the company ceased the production of motorcycles and concentrated on making Girling brakes.
1939 Maker of bicycles, motorcycles, etc.
1940 The name of New Hudson reappeared on an autocycle powered by a 98cc Villiers engine.
1948 The New Hudson was one of the cheapest autocycles available - priced at £48 17s 11d [£48.90] for that year.
1949 The autocycle was revised to use the Villiers 99cc 2F unit, and continued for several years.
1956 During that year the machine was completely restyled and ran on in that form.
1958 Production came to a close.
Details of models
In 1930, the Ixion name re-surfaced when New Hudson failed to sell a large batch of 249cc sv models that had been produced to capitalize on public interest. The BSA Round Tank had been so successful that there were, by 1929, too many others on the market, many of which lacked the staying-power of the BSA
By changing the name to Ixion, New Hudson were able to slash the price of the motorcycles in order to clear stocks.
The company also used the name for engines sold to other firms, both at home and abroad, including the Swedish Rex.
Note: In all, about 24,000 New Hudson autocycles were produced: 5,000 JDL machines, 14,000 of the earlier 2F design and 5,000 “Re-styled models”. New Hudson put their frame numbers on the left-hand rear fork end and each model had its own prefix: MC for the JDL, ZE for the 2F and N for the “Re-styled”.
1921 The Olympia Show report describes the light two-stroke model as follows: 'Notable on account of their fine finish and general excellence of design the New Hudson two-stroke motorcycles exhibited on this stand are sure to attract attention. The little 62 mm by 70 mm engine is well known as a giant in performance, and the ratios of the two speed gearbox , 5 and 9 to 1, give a satisfactory road speed with tremendous hill-climbing powers.(…) The riding position is very comfortable, and the saddle is but 25 ins. from the ground, to which desirable end the low built frame and 24 in. wheels are contributory factors. The tank is tastefully finished in brown and has a capacity for 1 ¾ gallons of petrol and 3 pints of oil; as the petrol consumption is in the neighbourhood of 100 m.p.g., it will be realized that a full day’s riding can be accomplished on one tankful of spirit.'
Sources of Information
- Peck's Trades Directory of Birmingham, 1896-97: Cycles
- Birmingham Daily Post - Monday 29 January 1900
- Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 09 November 1905
- Belfast Telegraph - Tuesday 08 June 1909
- The Times Nov 15, 1910
- The Times Oct 02, 1912
- The Times, Nov 22, 1913
- The Times, Apr 27, 1914
- The Times, Oct 09, 1920
- The Times, Nov 02, 1939
- The Times, Feb 05, 1947
- The Times, Jul 12, 1957
-  Wikipedia
- Miller’s Price Guide to Classic Motorcycles
- 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
-  Ian Chadwick's motorcycle web site
-  Yesterday's Antique Motorcycles web site
-  Autocycle ABC - The Moped Archive web site