1938 Peugeot 515

1938 Peugeot 515

The last classic motorcycle in this series of posts is perhaps the best looking new arrival at the NZ Classic Motorcycle Collection.


Motoring journalist Mike Murphy has kindly allowed me to include his description of the Peugeot 515:

“Peugeot displayed its first motor bicycle at the 1898 Paris Exhibition. It featured a De Dion- Bouton motor mounted perpendicularly on the rear wheel but it was never put into series manufacture. That same year, De Dion-Bouton manufactured a motorised tricycle for Peugeot that was equipped with a 239.5cc engine. The tricycles were replaced by quadricycles in 1900 that were produced until 1903. Peugeot’s first real motorcycle was produced in 1901. It was essentially a bicycle frame equipped with a 1.5hp, 198cc Swiss ZL motor mounted under the front frame tube in front of the pedal crank. It used a belt drive to the rear wheel.

Between 1901 and 1939, Peugeot presented a total of 61 motorcycle models ranging from 100cc to 745cc. The first Isle of Man TT in 1907 was won by a Norton powered by a Peugeot V-twin. Peugeot also built the first DOHC, desmodromic four-valve, parallel twin in 1914. In 1933, the company showed two single-cylinder, 495cc, four-stroke motorcycles typed 515 and 517. In 1934, a lightweight 515 broke nine world records including setting a new world 24-hour record and a new 3,000km record at Montlhory at average speeds of 118.7kph (73.8mph) and 118.1kph (73.4mph), respectively.


The 515 featured a unit construction motor with helical drive to the longitudinal camshaft and magneto. The oil pump was gear-driven while the dynamo, primary transmission and kick-starter were chain-driven.  It had a hand-change gearbox, a rigid rear frame and leading-link girder forks.


The silencers were of a stylish Art Deco design made of cast aluminium.  


This example was acquired from Sinless Motorcycles in Woodford, Louisiana, USA in 2015.”

Mike Murphy June 2015


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