Friday, May 13, 2016


[This is the first of a new series featuring artist Martin Squires' fantastic illustrations!] 

I was overjoyed to see this machine at Stafford Showground on 26th April 2015. I had seen the Original Bill Lacey Grindlay Peerless at Brooklands, but this original condition "Hundred Model" bought a true smile to my face. This particular machine is one of 2 known survivors. The Grindlay Peerless factory produced the “Hundred Model" to celebrate C W G 'Bill' Lacey becoming the first man to cover 100 miles in an hour on British soil in August 1928 on a sub 500cc machine. It’s Believed that the Coventry mark only sold 5 to 6 machines, possibly due to the lack of demand for such a specialist machine. Bill achieved 103.3 miles in that hour on the Grindlay Peerless JAP, an incredible feet of endurance riding on such an early machine. Eariler in the 1920’s the 100 miles in 60 minutes was the ultimate goal for motorcycle manufacturers and their riders. Claude Temple was the first man to do so, averaging almost 102mph at Montlhéry in 1925 on his 996cc OEC-Temple-JAP. The following year at Monthlery Norton rider Bert Denly broke 100mph on a '500' for the first time.

In order to encourage such riding in England The Motor Cycle offered a silver trophy to the first person to break the 100mph mark. Brooklands was the only circuit for such an attempt, an unforgiving course with it’s renowned bumpy surface that launched its riders into the air at any given opportunity. On 1st August 1928 Bill Lacey raised the record to 103.3mph, hitting a top speed of over 105mph which in turn broke the 750cc and 1000cc records. Bill went on to dominate at Brooklands throughout 1928 finishing on the podium at every meeting.

In 1929 Bill increased his distance to 105.25mph setting yet another record. After this continued success Grindlay Peerles produced the “Hundred Model” these machines were essentially the same as the original record breaking machine, complete with nickel plated frame. The replicas were assembled at the Coventry works and then shipped to Lacey’s workshop at Brooklands where Wal Phillips, Lacey’s assistant, would tune the machines to enable them to reach the record speed. Lacey himself would then test each machine to above 100mph on the outer circuit in order to issue an official certificate.

J.D. Potts raced this particular Hundred Model at Brooklands in 1929, in September of the same year he went on to win the Amateur Isle of Man TT. Unfortunately he was disqualified after it was thought he had received factory support, were Grindlay Peerless trying to sell more of these replicas off the back of this, who knows.

In the 1930’s Cyril Norris acquired the Hundred Model. In 1934 Norris had E.C.E. Baragwanath a renowned Brough Superior rider and tuner fit a single port head as this got some more out of the JAP than the twin port the replica was originally fitted with. In order to compete in the 1936 Senior Manx Grand Prix an Albion 4 speed gearbox and an uprated front brake were fitted expressly for the race. These are still present on the machine today. Norris finished 23rd, with a best lap of 33 minutes 37 seconds, averaging 66.9mph.

In the early 50’s Norris used the machine on the road complete with close ratio gearbox and no kickstart! Norris kept the machine until his death in 2000 when it was bought form the family by it’s current owner. Seeing motorcycles like this is such a great experience as you can see the history not only in it's original condition but by the changes from the original factory specification.

Illustration and Words by Martin Squires
Special thanks to Peter Lancaster for his help researching this article.


thefrenchowl said...

Martin is both an artist and an enthusiast...

I treasure one of his originals drawings.

It is always a pleasure to have a chat with him while he draws some rare piece of machinery.


Adriane said...

Thanks for the share, love reading your blog.

Anonymous said...


The Vintagent is one of my true pleasures in retirement please keep up the good work and PLEASE turn Martin Squires loose on some Cammy Velos. His work is so reminiscent of the drawings in the old " Green Un". I love them.

Jeff Craig

Anonymous said...


In JAP The End of an ERA, page 93, last paragraph is record of another 500 single record broken with assistance of Bill Lacey and his Grindlay-Peerless frames. What I found interesting was that it was the 100mph for an hour record for a private owner. The H.J. Bacon Trophy was taken by Fergus Anderson a T.T. racer. Despite his racing credentials he apparently qualified under the rules because he actually bought the engine off the factory floor with his own money. So the engine was owned privately. I can only guess that the chassis being borrowed and no factory or sponsor support helped maintain the private defintion of his run.

I must admit I am a bit fascinated with the story of Mr. Anderson because of the off the cuff why not give it a go attitude.

As always, Have a Great Ride!

Roy H Caldwell