'The Slavia was built in the Austro-Hungarian Empire by the Czech Laurin & Klement factory. The name Slavia was also used by the Laurin & Klement machines built under licence in Germany.' - Erwin Tragatsch.
Founded by two cycling enthusiasts, mechanic Vaclav Laurin and bookseller Vaclav Klement, Laurin & Klement produced its first bicycle at the Mlada Boleslav factory in 1895, choosing the patriotic 'Slavia' (Slavonic) trade name. The company built its first motorcycle in 1899, going on to become one of Europe's leading motorcycle manufacturers in the pioneering early years of the 20th Century. Like many of its contemporaries, Laurin & Klement experimented with variety of engine positions before settling on what is today regarded as the conventional one. The engines too varied considerably in configuration, singles, v-twins and even inline fours being made. Production of bicycles ceased in 1905 at around the same time as the introduction of the new four-cylinder motorcycle and the appearance of the firm's first automobile: the twin-cylinder Model A voiturette. Laurin & Klement switched to car production exclusively in 1908 - thus ensuring its two-wheeled products' future rarity - and was bought by rival Skoda in 1925.
Bristling with interesting features, this rare Laurin & Klement v-twin was purchased by the current vendor, a prominent Italian private collector, from its elderly owner in the Czech Republic. Substantially original and complete, the machine has been kept in dry storage, untouched, for many years and is offered for restoration or conservation. There are no documents with this Lot, which is sold strictly as viewed.
The Frame Number is 2373. Upon inspection, it is believed the machine incorporates original components. However, there are elements of later reconstruction. Bidders are therefore advised to satisfy themselves as to the completeness and originality of the lot prior to bidding.
If purchased by a UK resident, this machine will be subject to a NOVA Declaration, undertaken by Bonhams to facilitate its registration here in the UK via the DVLA