Lot 372 - 1960 Royal Enfield 350cc Bullet

Lot 372 - 1960 Royal Enfield 350cc Bullet

Lot 372 - 1960 Royal Enfield 350cc Bullet

Lot Number 372
Registration 318 SNO
Chassis Number 44112
Engine Number 18016
Odometer reading 78,483 miles
Estimate £2,500 - £4,000
Result Sold - £2,912

The Bullet name was first given to Royal Enfield's sporting singles as far back as 1933 and post WWII, after the immediate calls for basic transport had been met, the desire for new sports models was apparent. In 1948 Royal Enfield debuted their new 350cc Bullet in the 1948 Colmore Cup Trial, causing a sensation as the bikes were fitted with swinging arm rear suspension, then unheard of for trials use. While unsuccessful on its initial appearance, the new model soon showed its form and Bullet mounted riders won gold medals later that year in the International Six Days Trial and were part of the winning British Trophy team.

The Bullet followed Royal Enfield design conventions with its 'floating bush' big end and dry sump oil tank contained within the crankcase, intended to warm the oil more quickly than possible with a separate, externally mounted oil tank.  Engine dimensions of 70mm  x 90mm were the same as the cooking, all-iron Model G but with an aluminium alloy head fitted and an increase in compression ratio to 6.5:1 to give a power output of 18bhp at 5,750rpm. The Albion gearbox was mounted flush to the engine, rather than in conventional plates, to create a semi- unit construction with fixed chain centres and a new telescopic front fork of Royal Enfield's own design was fitted to create a most attractive and versatile motorcycle, as scrambles, trials and road racing versions were marketed alongside the standard road going Bullets.

In 1953 a 500cc version joined the range. The bore size was increased to 84mm but the compression ratio lowered to 6.2:1 to give a useful increase in power output to 25bhp at 5,250rpm. Surprisingly the 500cc version sold in quite small numbers and is consequently a rare machine today. 1954 brought a major styling change with the introduction of the 'casquette', a die-cast alloy cowl which enclosed the top of the forks and also the headlamp and instruments while incorporating a small pilot light on each side. For 1955 dual front brakes were fitted within a full width hub and in 1956 a new all-welded frame was introduced which no longer featured a cradle under the engine. The tooling for the old type frame was shipped out to Madras, where Enfield had set up a subsidiary to produce the 350cc Bullet under licence which remained largely unchanged until relatively recently.

More changes came in 1959 with the adoption of small seventeen inch wheels for the 350 in common with the new 250cc Crusader and in increase in power output to 20bhp thanks to an increase in compression ratio, a larger carburettor and new cams with higher lift. The 500 received a new large finned cylinder head which became known as the 'Big Head' but there were few changes thereafter until the Bullet was phased out in 1962, with the era of the sporting single coming to an end.

This late type 1960 Bullet was fully restored from a basket case by a retired panel beater and had two further owners before being acquired by the current vendor. The Royal Enfield comes with a current V5C registration certificate and a VMCC dating certificate and is described as being ten out of ten by the vendor, who also informs us that the original Essex registration number was successfully re-issued following the restoration. The superbly presented Bullet offered here is an ideal machine with which to enjoy club events and will no doubt reward the new owner with many miles of enjoyable motorcycling.

Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.

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