1938 Peugeot 515 ; Peugeot; 1938; CMM343


Classic Motorcycle Mecca


1938 Peugeot 515

About this object

Peugeot displayed its first motor bicycle at the 1898 Paris Exhibition. It featured a De Dion-Bouton motor mounted perpendicularly on the rear wheel but it was never put into series manufacture. That same year, De Dion-Bouton manufactured a motorised tricycle for Peugeot that was equipped with a 239.5cc engine. In 1900, the tricycles were replaced by Quadricycles that were produced until 1903. Peugeot’s first real motorcycle was produced in 1901. It was essentially a bicycle frame equipped with a 1.5hp, 198cc Swiss ZL motor mounted under the front frame tube in front of the pedal crank. Final drive to the rear wheel was by belt.

Between 1901 and 1939, Peugeot presented a total of 61 motorcycle models ranging from 100cc to 745cc. The first Isle of Man TT in 1907 was one by a Norton powered by a Peugeot V-twin. Peugeot also built the first double overhead-camshaft, desmodromic, four-valve, parallel twin in 1914. In 1933, the company showed two single-cylinder, 495cc, four-stroke motorcycles typed 515 and 517. In 1934, a lightweight 515 broke nine world records including setting a new world 24-hour record and a new 3,000km record at Montlhéry at average speeds of 118.7kph (73.8mph) and 118.1kph (73.4mph), respectively.

The 515 features a unit construction motor with helical drive to the longitudinal camshaft and magneto. The oil pump is gear-driven while the dynamo, primary transmission and kick-starter are chain-driven. It has a hand-change gearbox, a rigid rear frame and leading-link girder front forks. The silencers are of a stylish Art Deco design made of cast aluminium. This example was acquired for the Nelson NZ Classic Motorcycles collection via a US auction house from Sinless Motorcycles in Woodworth, Louisiana, in January 2015, and it was acquired by Transport World for their Classic Motorcycle Mecca collection in May 2016.



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