Lot 392

Hershey 2023

1903 Humber Beeston 2¾-HP


$23,000 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Carburetor No.
Bill of Sale Only
  • One of a small number of Beestons produced, with very few surviving examples
  • Thirty years within the consignor’s collection; benefits from a previous restoration
  • Retains correct-type Longuemare carburetor and Beeston trim accessories
  • Fitted with correct-type 2¾-hp, single-cylinder Phelon & Moore engine
  • A very early, interesting, and significant motorcycle renowned for its hill-climbing ability

Originally a bicycle manufacturer of great repute, Humber began experimenting with powered transport in 1896. After introducing its first successful motorcycle in 1902, produced under license from Phelon & Moore, Humber’s production capabilities progressed quickly and its first in-house design debuted six years later.

Throughout production, Phelon & Moore components continued to supplement Humber designs, although Humber itself had already divided the production of two model lines between an upscale factory in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, England and its main factory in Coventry. Importantly, the upscale Beeston models were fitted with a French-made Longuemare carburetor. Early Beestons were powered by a 2¾-horsepower, single-cylinder engine and two-speed clutch, with a transistorized coil or magneto-driven ignition system to assist with startups.

Exceptionally few of these early Humber Beeston motorbikes have endured to the present; some estimates note fewer than 10 examples. Almost all surviving Beestons are considered “museum grade,” simply by virtue of having persisted intact the past 120 years. When new, Humber’s top-tier models like this 2¾-horspower Beeston were renowned among motorcycle racing enthusiasts for their outstanding hill-climbing ability. Prince Albert I of Monaco—a famous and early promoter of motor racing—owned a Beeston, and for many years he used it on solo runs between his palaces in Monte Carlo and Paris.

This stellar 1903 example was treated to a complete restoration some 30 years ago, immediately prior to the consignor purchasing it. Since then, it has remained on display within a climate-controlled gallery in a state of presentation that remains quite remarkable and correct throughout. Notably, it retains the correct Longuemare carburetor, Phelon & Moore single-cylinder engine and headlamp, roughrider handlebars, and a counter-sprung leather-trimmed saddle.

Among the rarest and most sporting of early 20th-century single-cylinder motorcycles, this exceptional 1903 Humber Beeston 2¾-horspower example is a superb offering unlikely to be replicated in the public marketplace anytime soon. Discerning collectors of exceptionally early, significant motorcycles will undoubtedly appreciate and should duly consider the uniqueness of this offering.