Sunbeam S7

Sunbeam S7 motorcycle
By guest writer Diesel of Visual Gratification. Erling Poppe designed the beautiful Sunbeam S7 based on the BMW R75 of the late 40s. While the R75 had a horizontally-opposed boxer twin, the S7 engine was an inline 500cc twin shaft-driven to the rear wheel. It was a technology marvel with an overhead-camshaft engine, shaft drive and plunger rear suspension—making it too expensive for many buyers. Wisely, the later S7 Deluxe and S8 came with fewer technologies and sold better. Built in Redditch, England, the S7 was dubbed the ‘Tourer’ and a little more than 200 were built. The S7 Deluxe fared better—selling double figures over its predecessor. (It was the S8, a ‘Sports’ model with increased performance from higher compression pistons, that was the sales success of the trio.) The S7 came in two colours, black and mist green, but its ‘balloon’ tyres were a suspect at high speeds. However, for obvious reasons, it’s one of the most sought-after machines today. The photo here is from the collection of CMM (Collezione Motociclistica Milanese), a museum in Milan—and the image shows one of the very last production S7 bikes. [Photographer and image copyright Giovanni Cabassi.]