De Luxe Motorcycles

Wolverhampton school teacher and keen motorcycle enthusiast Mr. A. E. Bradford decided to build his own motorcycle at his home in Sweetman Street, Wolverhampton, shortly before the First World War. He called the machine the A.E.B. and built several models which were sold to enthusiasts.

After the war he continued to build motorcycles, this time using the De Luxe name. He planned to step-up production using manufacturer’s surplus components, and bankrupt stock. As a result the machines varied considerably, being built from whatever was readily to hand. The range of models varied from small 2-stroke machines to large V-twins, using a wide range of engines from manufacturers such as Villiers, J.A.P., and Union.

A proud owner with his 1921 De Luxe.

Photo courtesy of the late Jim Boulton.

The same gentleman with his family.

Photo courtesy of the late Jim Boulton.

Out in the country with a 1921 De Luxe V-twin.

Photo courtesy of the late Jim Boulton.

At Sweetman Street, Mr. Bradford founded ‘Motorities’ which became a well-known supplier of motorcycle and car spares, and DIY motorcycle kits. He claimed to have been the first person to sell motorcycle kits for self-construction.

He continued to produce complete De Luxe motorcycles until around 1925. In 1922 he launched the ‘Model D’ with a Barr and Stroud sleeve valve engine, ML magneto, AMAC carburettor, and Brampton ‘BiFlex’ forks. The machine had a top speed of 60m.p.h. and a petrol consumption of 140m.p.g. Adverts at the time stated that the motorcycle would be produced at 126 Sweetman Street, Wolverhampton, and also at 174 Corporation Street, Birmingham.

A letterhead from 1940.

Vane Street in the early 1970s. Courtesy of David Clare.

Motorities occupied the buildings on the left of the photograph.

After 1925 Mr. Bradford decided to concentrate on the sale of components and repairs, and the business moved to larger premises in Vane Street, Wolverhampton. He also continued to offer the DIY motorcycle kits, using the De Luxe name. Motorities were agents for Singer, and Triumph cars, and remained in Vane Street until the late 1950s when the business moved to 85 Dudley Road, Wolverhampton. Motorities closed in the early 1970s when Mr. Bradford retired.

An advert from 1957.

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