PAGE 40. German Cyclemotors: Cockerell Record & Cockmobil
Fritz Gockerell died in Munich in 1965 after a lifetime of researching, designing, inventing and developing innovative engines. But he is not well-known and did not benefit financially from his inventions – they were not commercial successes.
Many of his designs were for cycle-attachment auxiliary engines. Unfortunately for him he developed these at a time when such cyclemotors were not a viable financial proposition – there were already too many mass-produced lightweight motorcycles at cheap prices on the market between the wars.
But we cyclemotor enthusiasts owe him a lot as the designer of the ancestor of (what later became) the German Rex clip-on. And, of course, he designed the fascinating 1920 Megola motorcycle, pictured above and below. It was a racing machine with a Fünfzylinder-Stern motor in the front wheel, named after investors Meixner, Landgraf and designer Gockerell.
He did produce several lightweight Cockerell motorcycles in the twenties, but competition was too strong both from the large manufacturers and the many small workshops with similar machines. In 1926 he also designed a three-wheeler, the ‘Cockmobil.’ As you can see (below) it is powered by a clip-on engine over the front wheel. But there was no interest in the model, and he sold the rights.
Without success in the two and three wheeler market, he moved into cars. His first Gockerell car had been a prototype [chassis], driven by a Vierzylinder- two-stroke engine with 905 cc, 62 mm and 75 mm bore stroke. The 600 kg lightweight car reached his rear wheel drive with a speed of 85 km per hour with a consumption of 7.5 liters per 100 km. Gockerell had also been using this engine in his lightweight motorcycles.
His car engine designs eventually led to the development of the V8.
In 1930 he worked with DKW developing diesel engines, but returned to 2-wheelers in 1932 to produce the 60cc Cockerell Record.
The Cockerell Record
The engine weighed 5kg, and it achieved a speed of 30km per hour. This one is fitted to a German Torpedo bicycle.
The Cockerell Record pictured here was for sale on German ebay – I did try to buy it, but I was pipped at the post in the furtive final flurry of bids.
Nevertheless, I still learned about Fritz Gockerell and his pioneering cyclemotor inventions.
By the way, the spelling of this machine is not a mistake. His name is Gockerell, but his cyclemotor was marketed as a Cockerell. The name-change made no difference, of course; this design was no more successful than any of his others.
In his final years, Gockerell still worked on new designs, particularly a prototype ‘turbo-car.’ I’m not certain from the drawings below, but it looks like its engine fits over a rear wheel? If so, he certainly was a cyclemotor enthusiast to the last.