Vintage Royal Enfield V-twins feature front and centre in the January issue of the magazine. Here’s a little bit of history from behind the scenes at the factory, way back in the 1930s…
Many thanks to RC regular Robert Murdoch for scouring the Royal Enfield Owners’ Club archive to uncover these images from the Model K’s ancient history. There wasn’t quite space to run them to full size in the issue, so they’re reproduced here where you can enlarge them to your heart’s delight (but please remember that they belong to the club). The REOC promotes ‘riding, maintaining, and renovating Royal Enfield motorcycles from every era,’ as well as ‘sharing their history and heritage.’
The first photo shows the actual prototype of the 1930 KL V-twin, ‘L’ being the designation for the optional Lucas electric light set. This was the final year when the big twins were built with one-piece cylinder and heads.
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Next we move to the assembly workshop, where worthy swains put together the new 1931 models with removable cylinder heads and enclosed pushrods.
Finally, the photo of an ‘exploded’ Model K engine might be the most interesting of this selection. Photos of this type were used to create the illustrated parts books for each model. All the carefully arranged parts in each photograph were traced by hand by a technical artist using an ink mapping pen. This produced in simplified line drawings which would print more easily than the monochrome photos at that time.
Page 7 of the 1931 parts book is an exact black-and-white inking of this photo. Note the knife and fork conrods and new-for-1931 separate cylinder heads:
There’s lots more to read about Royal Enfield’s big twins in RC225, the January 2023 issue of the magazine. Paul Henshaw takes a spin on not one but two of these big beasts – and lives to tell the tale!