1952 BROCKHOUSE CORGI
The Corgi was a post-war development of the World War Two Welbike lightweight folding motorcycle, which had been designed by John Dolphin of the Special Operations Executive research station at Welwyn, Herts, for use by special agents or airborne troops.
The ‘civilian’ machine was built under licence by Brockhouse Engineering Company of Southport, who considerably uprated the very basic original military specification: the frame was stronger and the fuel tank moved from between the handlebars to a position in front of the seat.
In all 27,050 Corgis, from the MkI to MkIV, were produced for the home market between 1946 and 1954 and an unknown number were exported; in the USA, the machine was the Indian ‘Papoose’. All were powered by a 98cc single-cylinder, two-stroke, Excelsior Spryt engine, some with single-speed and some with two-speed transmissions.
Sidecars which could ‘bank’ to allow the Corgi to lean, and so aid cornering, were available from such firms as KVP, Feridax and Nodak at a cost of around £20 whilst the motorcycle itself retailed for £66. 0s. 10d (including Purchase Tax). The import of more sophisticated Italian scooters such as the Vespa and Lambretta marked the death-knell of the Corgi.
THE COLLECTION’S EXHIBIT
Our Corgi is a 1952 model MkII with single-speed transmission. It was recovered from a barn in Somerset in very dilapidated condition and restoration was completed by volunteers of the Shuttleworth Collection Vehicle Section in 2000, several missing parts having to be fabricated from scratch.
The fuel tank – which was badly dented when it arrived at Old Warden – holds one and a quarter gallons which allows a range of around 150 miles. A dented tank was common on Corgis as owners tended to take children for rides standing on it!
Manufacturer: Brockhouse Engineering Company, Southport, England
Model: Corgi MkII
Engine: 98cc Excelsior Spryt, single-cylinder, two-stroke
Top Speed: 30mph