FN 1931 M 70 “ Sahara” 346 cc side valve frame # 50396 engine# 24413
At the end of 1923 FN marketed a 350 cc single cylinder ohv with unit construction engine. This model, the M60, was the start of a successful new line of models in a period in which the heavy and expensive four cylinder was quickly loosing ground. Two years later a bigger 500cc brother was brought out, the M 67. Shortly after that four cylinder production was stopped altogether with FN. The ohv singles were very successful, but the factory realised they were mainly appealing to the sporty type of rider so it was decided to produce a side valve unit construction model as a utilitarian type of machine . The model M70 had bore/stroke dimensions of 74×80.5 mm, unit construction engine and 3 speed gearbox. The external flywheel of the early models was coloured red, hence the model’s nickname of “ Moulin Rouge”. To prove the model’s reliability two French army officers and a Belgian mechanic crossed the Sahara desert with M70s in April, May and June 1927. They covered 6300 KM of desert without the machines failing them. A heroic performance, that brought much publicity to the factory and coined the name “Sahara” for the brave little machine. The Sahara was a very successful machine: it was an easy starter, its reliability was high and it had a remarkable top speed of more than 90 km/ hour.
The machine we present here is in unrestored condition and comes with full electric lighting. The paintwork on the petrol tank has been sympathetically touched up to stay in line with the rest of the finish. The spokes in the rear wheel have been renewed some time ago, for the rest this M70 radiates a remarkable patina. She will be an excellent candidate for mechanical refurbishment and oily rag treatment. The Dutch registration number on the front mudguard refers to the Dutch province of South Holland. It was issued in May, 1939 to a Mr. A.P.J. Sebens, who lived in the town of Voorburg, near The Hague.