Eagle soars again

This freshly restored 350cc JAP-engined Coventry-Eagle has returned to the road for the first time in more than half a century.

If you hear somebody talking about a Coventry-Eagle, it’s a fair bet you’ll immediately think of either the firm’s Villiers-engined lightweights with pressed steel frames, or the rare and prestigious V-twin Flying Eight. But Coventry-Eagle was going long before either of those models hit the showroom, and it made a surprisingly wide variety of machines.

The Coventry-Eagle is happy to zip along at 40mph.
The Coventry-Eagle is happy to zip along at 40mph.

It evolved from Hotchkiss, Mayo and Meek’s company which made bicycles under the Royal Eagle title in the Victorian era, and was given its better known name in 1897, when Edmund Mayo was joined by Bernard Rotherham after the death of Hotchkiss and the departure of John Meek. Like many of its contemporaries Coventry-Eagle saw the way ahead as fitting its bicycles with engines, and around the start of the 20th century produced both its first motorcycles and a three-wheeler.

Words: Roy Poynting Photograph: Terry Joslin

Read more in September’s issue of TCM

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