Especially when it comes to beautiful works of human ingenuity, we believe it’s our collective responsibility to keep safe as much history as possible — for the sake of ourselves and future generations. But, even the most well-kept examples of automotive mastery will rust, fade, and decompose over time. Luckily, technology is on our side — giving us the ability to keep exact undying records, like this photo journal of pre-WWII motorcycles as taken by Paul Clifton.
While they never had the performance figures of today’s bikes, these historical motorcycles remain stunning examples of mechanical brilliance, ranging from the odd and unknown (like the Harding Invalid Carriage) to those from brands that are still around today (like Royal Enfield and Indian Motorcycles). And, though some have seen better days, they’re still gorgeous sights to behold, worthy of being documented in the annals of history in all their glory. From Triumph’s Model H, to Brough’s Superior, to Harley-Davidson’s WLA, these bikes are not to be missed — especially by anyone with an inkling of appreciation for motor vehicles.