Excelsior 1937 “Manxman” 498 cc OHC frame#MVH228 engine#GJA122
The Coventry firm of Bayliss and Thomas was as old as the two-wheeler industry, trading from the solid-tyre bicycle era.
Early manufacturers in both the motorcycle and the car fields, they were an established firm well before the Great War:
iIn 1913 an 800 cc single cylinder motorcycle was brought out, the biggest production single ever to be made.
In common with many manufacturers, the company used proprietary engines made by Blackburne and JAP. Postwar, to avoid confusion with the American Exelsior, Bayliss and Thomas christened their products “ British Excelsior”.
In the twenties the Midlands company of Reginald Walker and his son Eric took over the firm and moved the plant to Birmingham.
Eric Walker was a racing enthusiast and he promoted the use of Excelsiors in races.
This led to the development of a Blackburne-made four valve OHC racing engine in 1933 – which won the Lightweight TT- , but which was superseded by a less complicated and sturdier engine of their own design, the Manxman.
This engine was produced in capacities of 249, 348 and 498 cc.
The 248 cc model was the most highly developed and the most successful one.
With racing specifications it won many races, even after 1945.
This “big” Manxman has been meticulously restored.