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The Restoration

The FN motor & cradle were given to me by a church minister in Auckland, NZ in the late 1960’s. The FN factory kindly supplied a photo of the 1910 Paris Motor Show model for that year along with an owner’s manual written in French. Other restorations were taking precedence & it was about ten years later when I moved with my family to Australia, that the FN project began in earnest. On a 1940’s flat belt lathe I set about making replica parts scaled from old photos, with wooden patterns used to make castings which were machine finished on the lathe. Some of these included the hand controls, fuel gauge, fuel & oil cap, fuel filter, oil pump & dripper. Other parts were sourced from friends around the world.

The pedal chain was fabricated out of old racing pushbike chains of the same style, but of narrower design. A rear brake drum was machined from a solid block of steel while a friend machined the crown wheel from a badly broken sample. The bike frame was scaled off photos & fabricated using Reynolds tubing. The front forks were generously supplied by a fellow enthusiast and all new sliding links machined. Rims were bought as blanks and a tool was made to dimple and drill them. I used a cardboard template for the pattern of the oil tank then formed it from a sheet of brass.

Leather tool bags & seat were crafted by hand and with a little ingenuity I fashioned tiny oil cans featuring the FN emblem. These would be used to lubricate the valves should they stick. Similar in shape to those used on old sewing machines the oil cans were devised by making a die & the necessary curvature achieved by molding the bottoms of aerosol cans.  Engine parts were reconditioned as required and the bike was finally ready to run. The original cast iron pistons had been replaced with aluminum ones as modern rings would prove more efficient. By now we were living in Bali and facing even tougher obstacles than before, both on and off the road.

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