Everything about ABC
ABC Brand History
The All British Engine Company, Ltd. of London was founded in 1912 by Ronald Charteris and Granville Bradshaw, who was a chief engineer. In 1914, ABC Motors Ltd, found originally at Brooklands, Byfleet, moved to Walton-on-Thames and produced mainly war materials and motorcycles engines for the military until 1919, the year when the first ABC motorcycle was manufactured. The bike had a transverse-mounted 398cc flat twin with overhead valves, 4 speed gearbox, chain drive, spring frame and a fork with automatic lubrication.
At first, it was built together with the Sopwith Aviation Company, a firm that used to construct aircraft during the first World War. After that, the company took over Bradshaw’s creation, which, despite its design, was regarded as the predecessor of the well known BMW boxer bikes.
The motorcycle had a lot of technical problems: the valve gear was unreliable and the lubrication poor. The motorcycle's bad image made the dream of selling lots of ABC's end in 1921, when ABC Sopwith went into liquidation.
In 1920, the company experienced another re-organisation and the motorcycle production centered around spare parts and development of new designs. From 1920 until 1924, because the original English ABC disappeared, the ABC motorcycles were built under license by a French branch, Gnome & Rhone. The French ABC built two motorcycles with engines that had 348cc and 493cc.
Gnome & Rhone was also a French aircraft engine manufacturer which produced 25000 9-cylinder Delta and Le Rhône 110 HP rotary engines from 1914 until 1918. These engines were used to power the majority of French aircraft in the war.
After the Second World War, the year 1949 brought more changes, the company becoming part of Snecma (Société Nationale d'Étude et de Construction de Moteurs d'Aviation), thus putting an end to any remaining hopes of motorcycle production.