Griffon 1904ca 2½ HP 308 cc A.I.V. Zédel frame # 24036 engine # 6276
Griffon is one of the oldest French makes: it was founded as a bicycle company and motorcycle production started in 1902. The factory was situated at the Rue Louis-Blanc in Courbevoie, Paris and for many years this make was in the foreground of French motorcycle manufacture. The firm was established in 1898 by Eugène Peugeot who had fallen out with his cousin Armand. They had arranged that Armand’s part of the business would develop motorized vehicles and Eugène would go on producing Peugeot cycles only. To work around this arrangement Eugène set up a new company that would enable him to produce motorized vehicles too. The word “Griffon” translates as “Griffin”, the mythical animal typically having the head, forepart, and wings of an eagle and the body, hind legs, and tail of a lion. An interesting hint of Eugène to his Peugeot family members it would seem…
After Eugene’s death in 1907 the family relations became better and Griffon even used Peugeot engines in its late veteran period models. In the nineteen twenties Griffon was absorbed completely by the giant Peugeot conglomerate. Griffon was very active in racing in the years before 1910 and their famous racing men Lamberjack and Demeester won many victories on Griffon-Zédels. In the early years Griffon machines were relatively expensive because of the import duties on the Swiss Zédel engines; from 1906 they were made in a new factory in Pontarlier, France and became less expensive. This early Griffon is very special in that she has a fully known British history and only had a handful of owners. She was sold around 1904 to a gentleman in Birmingham and subsequently ended up driving workshop machinery throughout the twenties in a local garage, where she was found in 1959 by a VMCC member and saved from the scrap heap. The old Griffon was stored for many years awaiting restoration, was kept by his son when the owner passed away and was eventually sold. Finally, a new owner set about the task to revive the old warrior and carried out a sympathetic restoration. The carburettor is a Longuemare instrument that is controlled by a lever on the tank top tube. Another lever controls the ignition advance and retard. Note the typical front forks with double tubes, a notable Griffon feature. Front brake is the ubiquitous rim scraper, the rear wheel has a contracting band brake. A correct leather saddle cover is available. This very early quality veteran comes with a Pioneer Certificate which states the year of manufacture is 1902, but we’ve been advised she left the factory around 1903-1904.