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Kr. Saar ja Ko Tempo


Tempo, prewar motorcycle from Kr. Saar ja Ko in Tallinn, Estonia. This model was fitted with Villiers 122cc engine. For a long time it was unidentified, until recently. Special thanks to Mr. Meelis Remmel, member of vintage motorcycle club in Estonia for his help.

In the end of 1930 s Kr. Saar ja Ko built short series of motorcycles with various engines. Frames were made in Estonia, while other components were ordered from German and British catalogues and then assembled into low-cost motorcycle.

„KR. SAAR & KO (1934-1941) was one of the largest bicycle factories in prewar Estonia. Having earlier started out with bicycle trade mr. Kristjan Saar soon realized the necessity for in-house production of bicycles and spareparts. Due to high customs fees that were charged for imported goods those days it meant more competitive prices and better profits. Also the enduser`s trust and demand regarding two-wheelers „Made in Estonia“ saw a notable growth in the second half of 1930-s. Factory for „Saar“-branded bicycles was established around 1934 and mostly managed by Kristjan`s son Otto. Since Mr. Saar obtained sales representation of popular Sachs 98cc and Villers 122cc engine-kits for bicycles, it became clear that first domestically built motorcycle should be an achievable task. As it is claimed nowadays the main initiative behind this project was a small group of enthusiastic factory workers, rather than enterprise owners themselves. Constructions were somewhat tested and advertised with few purpose-built racing machines, used by factory rider Leo Seeman in various races. The „Saar“ motorbikes were quite conventional for their time, similar to many manufacturers in europe that used F&S 98cc and Villiers 8D as a base of their simple designs. The exact motorcycle-production figures are still under dispute as most of the paperwork went missing during hectic times. Maximum proposed amount so far is around 350 machines. In addition there were built at least two prototypes with Villiers 200cc and 250cc engines, the latter one was recovered few years ago hidden in the closed attick of a house in Tallinn. Saar motorcycle-production came to an inevitable end in 1940. Only last 7 machines were built that year, 3 of these completed shortly after the nationalisation of factory by soviet regime.“ Meelis Remmel

[img] Original motorcycle logo of Kr. Saar ja Ko factory. It comes from the only well-preserved example of Tempo motorcycle known in Estonia. This photo and press advert (below) by courtesy of Meelis Remmel

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