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About us

The story

Heritage of my grandfather Jack William Giuseppe Branse 1915-1995
Jack Branse born in Haarlem in 1915, was bitten by the motorbike bug at a young age, as he states in an interview in 1969. ‘It is about the wind blowing past your ears.’ That wind is not fast at a speed of 45 kilometres but it sure is at a 100 kilometres. His greatest wish was to own a faster motorbike than his previous one. Those dating from the late thirties are not very interesting anymore, especially the older ones which possess certain technical delicacies!
Jack Branse started around 1948 to collect scrap-metal. He focused on motorcycles and racing machines up to 1940; at that time he was one of the few Dutch people who possessed racing engines in his collection. The only countries which produced motorcycles which he did not have were Sweden and Denmark. The year of his youngest machine is registered in 1939 as the construction year: his eldest is the French Werner dating from 1902. In 1969 these two motorcycles belonged to his collection which totalled 175 specimens. That was probably at that time the largest collection in the world.

Even though he had a love for high speed, he was truly a Douglas enthusiast as he started his competition career with one of these and racing machines were easily available to him. (MotoSachoche, New Imperial, DKW, Norton, Velocette, etc.) During the thirties he rode many grass rides and reliability rides. He was totally immersed in the organisation of the ‘Veteran Motoren Club’ which had 180 members. In addition he was the editor of the Club’s magazine.
“Every year members of the Veteran’s section of the Royal Dutch Motorcyclists Association (K.N.V.M), ride a reliability test. On that day many strong stories are told and memories retrieved! You can only join this exclusive club if you have a minimum of 25 years membership of K.N.V.M. I belong to the younger guard. Members of the V.M.C. must own a motorcycle built before the 31st of December 1930. In other countries such as the UK where there are 2800 members, you can become a member when you own a motorcycle at least 25 years old. This is because after the war motorcycles were produced in vast numbers. The great Wallstreet crash of 1939 was an important turning point for me: after that the global industry changed considerably. Construction by hand stopped and hundreds of small motorcycle businesses could not withstand the pressure of their big brothers. It was at that point that many motorcycles began to lose their idiosyncratic character due to conveyor belt mass production.”
The Pioneer Run from London to Brighton was divided into three categories and only pre-1914 motorcycles were competing. And even in the category of pre-1904 there were 200 enthusiasts!

With his love for craftsmanship Jack Branse saw 1930 as his limit but that did not mean that he would not admire a motorcycle from 1934 such as a beautiful Rudge which ceased to exist in 1939. Many brands have since disappeared or merged into the automobile industry. Young people of this day and age prefer a large and sporty motorcycle. In the USA, in accordance with the latest fashion and purely as a leisure activity, a fast motorcycle is the second choice after the second or third family car. In Branse’s early years, if the weather so permitted, motorcycles were still a consumable item. During this time club life in motor sport enjoyed a true renaissance.
Jack was a pioneer and one of the founders of the classic rallies, co-founder of the Veteranen Motoren Club (V.M.C) and in the early 60’s opened the first classic motor museum in The Netherlands.

You can find out more about my grandfather in the virtual library, where you can find information about his passion for collecting items from Motorsport, Car sport, Cycle racing, Skating (Elfstedentocht), Aviation, Jazz and many other interesting topics are revealed.

If there is anyone out there who knew my grandfather or have any interesting information about him, then you can register on the website or send an e-mail.

Thanking you in advance.

Kind regards,

Mark Branse.
Dear Vintage MotorCycle enthusiast and collector of antiquities,
Let me introduce myself to you. My name is Mark Branse of The Branse Collection. I would like to let you know by means of this summary communication that I am an independent entrepreneur/businessman. I am currently focusing my efforts to achieve a continuation of a unique and special ‘worldwide’ documentation of motorbikes – dating from 1900 up to and including 1980. I am doing this simply because this important information must not be lost!
My very special grandfather Jack Branse was cofounder of the Veteran Motor Club (V.M.C.), which to this day still has many dedicated members and organises multiple events. One of these is the renowned Windmolen Rally (Windmill Rally). After Jack passed away in 1995, my father Ronald Branse continued with his father’s unique pre-war documentation as one of his main hobbies. Due to his background in graphics, Ronald was able to construct replicas of the instructions and parts manuals which can hardly be distinguished from the originals. Even on occasion more beautifully described than the original! He then sold these at conventions in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Unfortunately my father died of cancer shortly after his seventieth birthday in 2017.

Even before he died, I had suggested the idea of setting up a website and a shop, in order to share rare information with the whole world. My father thought this was a good idea but unfortunately we were unable to do this together. I miss him every day, but ‘life goes on’.
It is now my aim to use this unique worldwide documentation collection to make the information that it contains available to those who are interested in it. With this website I will endeavour to reach as many people as possible. If you wish send me an e-mail with questions, suggestions or requests. Please also contact me by e-mail if you have any photos, letters or extra information about my grandfather Jack Branse, should you wish to donate these to add to this unique website. I personally would appreciate this very much.

Thank you for your interest and for visiting The Branse Collection website.

Kind regards,

Mark Branse

The vision