Engine Artistry

Vintage motorcycle engines had a visual flair that has been lost in today’s machines. There’s something inherently beautiful about vintage engines, form following function resulting in pure art that is on the cusp of being lost to time. Most of today’s engines are hidden away from the world but the vintage motorcycle engine, the machine’s heart and soul, was always on display as the focal point of the motorcycle. Enzo Ferrari once said, “I don’t sell cars; I sell engines. The cars I throw in for free since something has to hold the engines in.”

1922 AJS 350cc_BEFORE

These engines are from iconic motorcycle models that were abandoned to rust in scrapyards and turned into beautiful pieces of artwork to rewrite their history. It takes up to two years to source the documentation and parts from around the world and hundreds of hours to reach the current level of detail and finish. They are original and unique, they are functional automotive art, design, and culture. There is great satisfaction in success and great pain in failure, so patience and dedication are needed.

Most of these engines were found incomplete as core engines. The parts needed to make a complete engine can include a Magneto, a Dynamo, or a Magdyno, Carburetor, Intake, Exhaust, Engine Covers, Ignition System, Sprockets, Hardware, Plumbing, etc., and are often difficult to find. The cost of these parts can amount to more than the cost of the core engine itself. The parts to complete these engines as well as internal replacement parts came from countries around the world.

1922 AJS 350cc_AFTER
1922 AJS 350cc_AFTER

A multi-stage cleaning process was used before the final finishing. Steel parts were sanded, polished, and sealed. Aluminum parts like the matching cases, carb, and magneto have been sanded and polished or hand-rubbed back to an original factory finish. Brass and copper fittings have been polished and nickel-plated only when necessary. Where possible external hardware has been replaced with identical stainless steel reproduction hardware. Gaskets have been replaced with either reproduction or handmade replacements. Cylinders have been honed, fins sanded to remove slag, and then painted with a 3-stage high heat engine paint. Pistons and rings have been removed and stored separately to facilitate long-term storage.

I hope you enjoy viewing the finished art form as much as I enjoyed bringing it together.