This lovely piece of rolling sculpture is the Megola Sport, and it was built in Germany in 1922. Aside from the extraordinary styling, the most notable thing about this machine is that the engine sits by the front wheel.
It’s a five-cylinder, 640cc radial—which was reportedly powerful enough for top speeds of between 85 and 140 kph (88mph), depending on model and year. The engine had tremendous torque, which meant that gears were not required. It didn’t have a clutch, either: to start the bike, you put it on its stand and spun the front wheel until the engine fired up.
‘Megola’ is a portmanteau brand name—almost—derived from designers Meixner, Cockerell, and Landgraf. Unfortunately, their motorcycle endeavours were short-lived, lasting just four years from 1921 and 1925. A few years later, there was an attempt to resurrect the front-engined concept, with the Killinger and Freund. But that’s another story.