Seal ca.1925 Sociable 980cc JAP V-twin frame # 780 engine # KTC/E 2859
The SEAL (the initials stand for ‘Sociable Economical And Light’) was produced by Seal Motors Ltd in Hulme, Manchester.
Seal’s clever idea was to place the combination’s controls, including the car-type steering wheel, in the sidecar, the unoccupied motorcycle being used solely to provide motor power and two of the three wheels.
Already before WW1 the idea of taking a sidecar outfit and widening the body so that the driver sat inside and was protected from the weather was put into practice by various manufacturers, the best know example was probably the Scott Sociable.
The frame of the Seal embodied no brazed lugs but the whole was built of straight tubes and clamped lugs.
A detachable sheet-steel fairing kept the engine and gearbox free of dirt.
Early models had tiller steering and were powered by a 770cc JAP v-twin engine with belt final drive and a Sturmey Archer hub gear, while later models, such as that offered here, featured a 980cc JAP, a three-speed countershaft gearbox and chain final drive. Two-, three and four-seater versions were made.
Capable of accommodating two adults and a couple of small children, the cosy Seal Family model was certainly sociable and at around 254kg was light for a four-seater vehicle.
Contemporary advertising claimed that the Seal was the cheapest family model on the road, offering fuel consumption of 50-60 miles per gallon and road tax of £4 per year.
“Who would ride on a saddle exposed to all weather and road mud?
No one, only those who do not know the Seal,” declared its proud maker.
Unfortunately, the Seal was not a cheap buy when compared to the opposition, which included ‘proper’ light cars like the immensely popular Austin Seven Chummy.
How many were made is not known.
The Seal offered here is one of only two known to survive and is pictured in The Beaulieu Encyclopaedia of the Automobile (Volume 3, page 1429) and described in The Classic Motorcycle of June, 1985.
The Seal comes with an old-style continuation logbook issued in 1946, showing that it was first registered on July, 22, 1925 and was licenced from 1946 till 1966.
At the time of registration JAP engine KT/A/44420 was fitted.
The Seal has been on display in The National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham and in the Museum’s description the Seal is dated as 1924.
This remarkable vehicle comes with spare wheel, Lucas electrics, Cowey speedometer and internal expanding brakes on both rear wheels.