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Motorworld’s newspaper № 42
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By 1939 the French army’s demand for military motorcycles increased drastically. The Societe des Moteurs Gnome motorcycle plant, which occupied lead positions on the French market in terms of manufacturing motorcycles with sidecars, could not keep up anymore with incoming orders. After testing several models of military motorcycles in Vincennes the choice was made in favor of Gillet 720 AF, a model manufactured by Ateliers Gillet, S.A. in Herstal, Belgium. 1102 copies of Gillet 720 AF machines were ordered, to be equipped, however, with a French sidecar, Bernardet Dragon-Porté.

Gillet 720 AF was outfitted with a twin-cylinder, in-line, 2-stroke, vertical-type engine, and since plant engineers had acquired enough experience in designing 2-stroke engines by that time, they chose this type of the powertrain. Engine capacity was 728 cc and engine power was 22 h.p. at 4000 rpm. A 4-speed gearbox with additional reverse gear was installed on this motorcycle. The rear wheel was driven by a chain-and-sprocket drive, and a torque shaft located inside the rear tune of the sidecar frame went from the rear-wheel center boss to the sidecar wheel.

The first batch of ordered consignment counting 50 machines was ready by May 1st, 1940, but motorcycles could not be driven, since the vendor of the sparking system components was Bosch, a German company. On May 10, 1940, Germany declared war on France, so the order was never completed.

From 1938 to 1940 a total of 1450 Gillet 720 AF and AB motorcycles were produced.

The motorcycle is equipped with a sidecar Bernardet Estafette type Allemand, years of production: 1941-1944. Information provided by ASSOCIATION DES CYCLES ET VÉHICULES BERNARDET

Manufacturer Ateliers Gillet, S.A., Herstal (Belgium)
Years of manufacture 1938 – 1940
Quantity produced, units 50
Price 18 061, 4 BEF
Today’s value 9 897, 92 $
Type twin-cylinder, inline, 2-stroke with vertical cylinder arrangement
Engine capacity, cc 728
Bore and stroke, mm 76 х 80
Engine rating 22 л.с. при 4000 об / мин.
Carburetor Amal
Battery 6 V
Clutch Multiple-plate, oil-bath
Transmission 4-speed + reverse gear
Frame type Tubular, welded, duplex
Front suspension Parallelogram, with frictional damper
Rear suspension Rigid
Brakes Drum type
Wheel size 4,00 х 19
Length, mm
2 492
Width, mm
1 651
Height, mm
1 084
Wheelbase, mm
1 500
Ground clearance, mm
Seat height, mm
Mass, kg
Gas tank size, l
Maximum speed, km/h
Range, km