Cotton 1932 Model 9/J “Bigport” 349cc OHV JAP frame # 8322 engine # IOS/Y/27245/S
The Glouchester-based Cotton factory was one of many small manufacturers that used proprietary engines in the years between the first en second world wars. But there was something quite special about the Cotton, that made it much more successful than most other small makes: its frame. The frame that Frank Willoughby Cotton designed around 1914 was of triangulated construction, very light and exceptionally strong. Cotton was studying law at the time, but after WWI he decided to become a motorcycle manufacturer. In 1922 Cotton entered three machines for the Junior TT; an unknown young Irishman by the name of Stanley Woods rode his Cotton to an impressive 5 th place, despite a number of alarming mishaps during the race such as the machine and rider catching fire during refuelling!
The next year Woods rode again for Cotton and he scored his first of 10 TT victories, being only 19 years old. Cotton had proved the very good roadholding and cornering qualities of his bikes and the make was to win many more races. In the years after WWII Cotton left the triangulated frame principle and scored successes in moto-cross and road racing.
The 1932 range consisted of OHV models that were fitted with JAP, Python and Blackburne sloping engines in various capacities. For less sports-minded customers also a range of vertical-engine two stroke and side valve models was available. The Model 9/J was fitted with either a Bowden or Amal TT carburettor and a three speed Burman gearbox. Lighting equipment was not standard and could be ordered as an extra in various configurations, the most affordable being a battery without dynamo. The 1932 brochure contains the following quote from Motorcycling: “Anyone who has seen a Cotton cornering in the I.O.M., must have longed to get across one to see whether beautiful riding or sheer design are responsible for the swift, sweeping, effortless manner in which these machines take a bend or even a sharp corner at speed. We have gratified our longing by covering 1,000 miles on the O.H.V. Cotton. It has proved a revelation of stability. You can bank it at impossible angles, swerve it out of a light corner when travelling at utterly illegal speeds, and adjust your goggles at ease while negotiating rough, greasy by-lanes which would make many a machine feel anything but comfortable. The reason for these points is that the Cotton frame is really free from whip, and so strong that the makers cheerfully guarantee it for three years.”
This sporty OHV has been restored in the early 80s and has been in the same family since then. She has always been dry stored and was last taxed in 2014. She’s a runner but recommissioning will be advisable.