by Alex Meyer
1908, 214cc, a.i.o.e
1899 the brothers Henry and Armand Dufaux from Geneva, Switzerland, designed
a little four-stroke engine. This compact unit could be bolted into the
frame of any ordinary pushbike: The "Motosacoche" -which approximately
means "engine-bag"- was born! Very soon the quality and practical utility
of the invention became known even far beyond the swiss territory.
C 7, 1914, 496cc, s.v.
1905 the firm was given the legal structure of a "Societe Anonyme" based
at Rue Acacias, Geneve. The Dufaux brothers soon left the company and concentrated
on building airplanes. Gradually the engines became bigger and more powerful,
twin cylinders were produced and the initial idea of a motorized pedal-bike
was given up. The factory built complete motorbikes under the "Motosacoche"
label, but kept on selling MAG. (Motosacoche/ Acacias/ Geneve)-engines
to many well known manufacturers in France, England, Germany, Austria and
Italy. In France and Italy there were even factories producing Motosacoche
motorcycles under licence.
50 (works racer), 1928, o.h.c.
in numberless racing events helped to create a solid reputation on the
tracks. MAG. engines played an important part in Europe's motorcycling-scene,
often compared with big names as J.A.P.! In 1913/14 the Matchless ohv-works-racers
(more successful at Brooklands than at the T.T.) were equipped with MAG.
engines, as well as the French G.P. winning Clement-Gladiator and Motosacoche.
In the 1928 European championship the Marchant-designed o.h.c. works-racers
were ridden to victory by Walter Handley in the 350 AND the 500 cc events!
Tourisme, 1927, 346cc, i.o.e.
most of Motosacoche's excellent reputation was based on motorcycles for
everyday-use. From the twenties until WW2 many 250, 350 and 500 singles
(mostly of i.o.e. and o.h.v. layout) and V-twins from 500 to 1000 cc (most
of them with i.o.e., the 850 had s.v.) provided long and loyal service
to their proud owners.
Sport, 1931, 498cc, o.h.v.
came in the thirties: Because of the general economic crisis the "Jubilee"-models
(planned for 1930, the silver jubilee of the company) appeared about one
year too late on a lethargic market. On the racing tracks the superiority
of the Nortons made it more and more difficult for MAG. to win any important
events. The enthusiasm had gone: From 1932 until the war, there was no
real evolution in the Motosacoche range, besides a rather modest update
of the once brilliant o.h.c. works-racers and a rather heavy rear suspension
on some tourist models.
1947, 200cc, s.v.
WW2 many MAG.-engined motorcycles and side-cars (usually with Motosacoche
and Condor labels) helped the swiss army to protect the small country from
the menacing conflict.
the war there was a first attempt to come back into business with a motorbike,
equipped with a 200 cc side-valve engine. This somewhat unusual vehicle
was designed by Dougal Marchant (again!) and presented at the 1947 Geneva
motor-show. It remained a prototype and never got produced.
twin, 1954, 247cc, o.h.c
1953 Motosacoche gave it a last try. They bought some german U.T. motorcycles
(featuring a 250 o.h.c. twin, designed by the excentric german engeneer
Richard Küchen), sprayed them in their familiar khaki colour and found
out they had come too late anyway. Europe was hungry for microcars, scooters
and most of all CARS!
1956 the last Motosacoche must have been sold, and the firm kept on producing
engines for farm-vehicles and stationary use.
Sport, 1928-39, 498 cc, o.h.v.,20 hp
of the 1920-40 MAG-engines can easily be identified by the codes on the
left side of the engine.
means one cylinder and 2C logically two cylinders. The number-codes are
usually: 10 = 250cc, 12 = 300cc, 14 = 350cc, 9 = 500cc per cylinder. Thus
a 2C12 engine must have the capacity of twice 300cc, it actually turns
out to be a 600cc V-twin.
this number you will find a letter-code as C, CN, E or K for an i.o.e.
layout, or a F, G or H for an o.h.v. layout, to mention only the most important
ones. There might be a number after this letter, giving the state of evolution.
Jubilee-range shows 1C9L for 500 s.v., 1C9M for 500 o.h.v. and 85L for
the 850 s.v. twin.
and production-racers have specific codes.
the 500 o.h.v. MAG engines are quite tall, many 1C9H crankcases are badly
damaged at the bottom, due to rude contact with uneven road surfaces. Try
to find a 1C9K-block which is of the same casting!
HP Autosacoche, 1924, 996 cc, i.o.e
a period of hand-oilpumps the MAG engines became more sophistically fed
with oildrops being sucked in by the vacuum below the up-going piston.
In the twenties mechanically-operated simple and later double oilpumps
by Best&Lloyd and Pilgrim were used. Only the Jubilee-models had closed
oil-circuits, as well as most of the racers.
means, most of the surviving MAG-engines are greased with the rather doubtful
Tourisme Luxe, 1939, 498 cc, s.v.
design followed the leading british manufacturers in general appearance
as well as in many details.
the twenties and thirties the firm was proud to mention Terry saddles,
Dunlop tyres, Brampton forks (Webb's for works- and some production-racers),
Timken bearings, AMAC and later AMAL carburettors and twistgrips, Best&Lloyd
and Pilgrim oilpumps, Renold's chains and John Bull knee-grips. Early gear-boxes
were of Enfield design, with two or three primary-chains. Later Sturmey-Archer
and Burman boxes were used, Hurth on some models.
in Switzerland?! Well, at least the frames, tanks, mud- and chainguards
were certainly swiss-made. Most of the wheel-hubs too, but the first drum-brakes
were imported from Britain!
Bosch was good enough to provide the ignition-sparks, swiss Scintilla on
some late-thirties models. Early electric lighting was swiss (Lucifer and
others), from the mid-twenties Bosch and finally Scintilla dynamos, lights
and horns became standard until WW2.
Tourisme Grand Luxe, 1939, 846 cc, s.v.
and what to buy?
course, most of the MAG-engined Motorcycles can still be found on the swiss
market, mostly Motosacoches and Condors of around 1930, restored and unrestored.
everybody seems to look for a bike with a 500 o.h.v. single, you will rarely
find a restored machine for less than 9000 Euro, a complete, good restauration-project
will cost about 3000-4000 Euro. An i.o.e. single will be cheaper, i.o.e.
twins are more difficult to find and have at least the same price as an
o.h.v. single. Motosacoches from 1900-1920 are getting rare and it is not
easy to give a value. The post-war 250cc twins (R. Küchen's o.h.c.
design) are rare, but not really sought-after.
production-racers (C25, C35 and C50, D35 and D50) are on about the same
price-level as o.h.c. Nortons. The o.h.c. works-racers litterally have
no price, simply because they don't appear on the market!
cheapest way to get a Motosacoche is certainly to buy a Lyon-built, licensed
french version. A restorable saddle-tank i.o.e. single from Motosacoche/France
can be yours for 1000-2000 Euro.
prepared for a quite expensive restoration, as there are nearly no specific
replica-parts produced for any Motosacoche!
diese Seite verantwortlich: Alex Meyer