GRANDPA’S CHATER LEA
I wonder if you can help me identify the motorcycle in this photo ? It was taken c1935 and is of my wife’s grandfather in New Zealand. Any help to piece together some history would be appreciated.
Great magazine, I always learn something when I read it. Dave Westgate, member
The combined opinion of the RC Facebook group suggests it’s a Chater Lea ‘face cam’ 350, built in the late 1920s. There’s one at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham, as seen here. The ohv Chater Lea was the first 350 to earn a 100mph gold star at Brooklands in 1924, and production versions were sold from 1926. The engine was based on a pushrod Blackburne motor, with a pair of ‘stacked’ contoured plates (facing each other, hence the name) up top. These rotated to operate the inlet and exhaust valves. Drive was transferred from the crank to the cams via the bevel gear driven shaft. Would be jolly interesting to learn how that particular machine got to New Zealand! Rowena