There’s something undeniably enticing about miniature versions of larger things. From buildings with intricate architectural features to tiny, perfectly formed model motorcycles, they appeal on multiple levels. The more detailed they are, the better. It’s also a lot easier to have a mini collection of your favorites around to enjoy, no matter how much space you have available.
In 1951, an Englishman named George Wills unveiled an impressive undertaking that had occupied his life for several years prior. He had created a detail-perfect scale model of his beloved 1935 Stevens LP5, a model that featured everything from the sidecar to a running engine.
Of course, it probably goes without saying that he built practically everything but the tires and a few other small details completely by hand. The end result, as you can see in this video, is nothing short of stunning. Best of all, as you’ll see in the Facebook video embedded in this post, this model actually ran!
For those unfamiliar with Stevens, it’s a British motorcycle company that rose from the ashes of AJS after Matchless bought the marque in 1931. The initials “AJS” were short for “A.J. Stevens,” so calling the new company “Stevens” simply made sense at the time. George Wills apparently loved his Stevens LP5 so much, he set to work creating a perfect miniature version that actually runs.
The engine in Wills’ replica reportedly has 7.5cc of displacement, and is capable of a top speed of 12 miles per hour. The Stevens LP5 miniature found in the British Pathé video from the ‘50s still lives on in 2021, in the British National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.
Excellent YouTube channel On Yer Bike tracked it down to make this video about it. However, they also learned that it hasn’t been started in decades. So, while they were able to get plenty of beautiful footage of the intricate details of this model on video in 2021, they were sadly not able to start it up so we could all hear and see it run in the 21st century.
Not much is known about Wills, other than that he loved motorcycles and was obviously a more than slightly talented tinkerer. At the end of the day, we hope those are the kinds of things that someone will say about any of us decades later. If you want to see this model in person, check Beaulieu’s most up-to-date information to find the best times to visit the museum if you’re in Britain.