Click here to return to OCC homepage


See Homepage. This page: A fine vintage Sunbeam motorcycle, with motor racing history, of the late 1920s.
Original transport photographs
Old Classic Car Image Archive index >

Sunbeam Model 90.

Brian was kind enough to send over this family photo, which shows his parents sat on their Sunbeam Model 90. A sporting motorcycle from 1928, this bike's claim to fame was winning the sand racing championship at Pendine Sands, Wales, in that same year. Its registration was OX 5193, A Birmingham series that ran from July 1927 to July 1928.
Evidently his parents were photographed on a trip away, note the two large leather cases tied to the back of the Sunbeam. The front wheel of another machine can just be seen to the left of shot, presumably the photographer was also a motorcyclist and along for the ride.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
1928 Sunbeam motorcycle
The Model 90 was introduced in 1927, powered by a 493cc overhead valve engine. A "flat" fuel tank featured on the earliest models, while the 90s from 1929 onwards were, along with other models (bar the Model 7) in that year's range, now equipped with a "saddle" tank. Competition successes, including four wins in the Senior T.T. would come the Model 90's way by the end of production, cementing its reputation as a high-quality performance motorcycle, suitable for both fast road and competition use.
Charlie Dodson would ride the firm's Model 90 to the company's T.T. wins in 1928 and 1929, in addition to wins in the French and German GPs. Rather than being out-and-out competition-only machines, the Works Model 90 entries were immaculately-prepared catalogue models, although as Dodson was a diminutive chap, a few modifications were made to comfortably accommodate his own lightweight (119lb) frame. Other successful riders of this model included George Dance and Alec Bennett.

This motorcycle today.

After featuring Brian's photograph here, Mick dropped me a line with the great news that the Sunbeam survives, and is now in fully restored condition:
"This machine still exists today and is owned and displayed at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham (see photo below). The museum bought the machine from the gentleman who restored it to its current condition, Peter Woodward. Peter passed the following brief account of this machine to me and it reads as follows (the comments are my own)..."
"OX 5193 was prepared for the 1928 TT (it would have been undoubtedly a private entry), but not used as the owner injured himself in practice on another bike. When I bought it (from a Mr Sheldon), there was no kick start or any components. The (kick-start) hole in the gear box was blanked off with a genuine plug, this was slightly domed and nickel plated. The gear box is stamped CT (meaning close ratio), but is now fitted with BT (meaning mid-range gears) gears. The front wheel was WM2 x 21� and I believe this size was used at Southport Sands where the bike may have been raced. I notice the clutch lever is stamped TT under the moving quadrant, and the rear bump pad was pneumatic. The previous owner (before Peter), a Mr Sheldon, worked at Sunbeam's Elms factory as a mechanic. He told me the bike belonged to a Mr Bates before 1934, and also it was fitted with a Binks 3 jet carburettor in its early days (rather than the usual AMAC carb)."
The Sunbeam as it is today, in a museum
Return to Page 15 in the gallery of vintage cars and vehicles.

Custom Search
Old Classic Car (C) R. Jones 2020. Content not to be reproduced elsewhere.
Website by ableweb.
Privacy Policy, Cookies & Disclaimers