Junak, the only 4-stroke motorcycle produced in People's Republic of Poland. M07 type. It's an early example, one of first 1000 motorbikes from SFM, with many features not present in later production.
91 400 Junak motorcycles were produced in years 1956-1965, in this number about 10 000 Junak M07 motorcycles. There were also Junak rally motorbikes M07-R, cross motorbikes M07-C, three-wheelers B20 (delivery model with a box; about 2500 of them were made) and side cars WB1 and WB3 (about 8500). They were made in SFM, Szczecin Motorcycle Factory. Engines were manufactured in Łódź.
The first Junak model, M07, was produced in 1956-59. The production of next one, M10, was formally started in December 1956. Still first 20 000 specimens of M10, produced in 1960-1961, were similar to M07 in many details; for example the lamp wasn't changed yet. Junak from this period is called „transition model”.
Junak, in its time, was modern and succesful design. It was developed in 1951-1952 by J.Ignatowicz (project coordinator), Krzysztof Wójcicki (engine constructor) and Stefan Poraziński (chassis constructor). They were experienced engineers, who based their work on pre-war achievements of Sokół construction team, guided by Tadeusz Rudawski. That's why Junak engine resembles Sokół 600 and Sokół 500 engines. Some German and British motocycles (e.g. AJS, BSA, Triumph and Norton) also influenced Junak construction.
Junak motorcycles were exported to Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey, Venezuela, Mongolia and Cuba. Some were also sold in USA, including touring-cross „Scrambler” model and 21 customized motorbikes with additional equipment, called Junak M10 de Lux.
Junak was used by police, for cross racing and rallies. In 1959 F. Stachewicz broke the Polish speed record riding a customized Junak motorcycle at the speed of 149,3 km/h. The event was filmed by PKF (Polish Film Chronicle; their short films were displayed before every cinema show. The films were obviously PRL propaganda materials, but they were – and still are – a great source of information, too).
In spite of good and constantly modernized construction, Junak motorcycles had lots of faults emerging from low manufacturing quality level – immanent feature of Central and East European industry in these years. They were also very expensive. At the beginning of the 60th Junak M10 was priced at 24 000 zloty; for many working people in Poland it was one year income. Junak production was ended in 1965, when goverment decided to cut down motorcycle production in favor of cheap cars.
The factory was established in Sczecin by Bernhard Stoewer in 1858. He was a manufacturer of bicycles, sewing machines, typewriters and machine tools. At the end of the century he passed his company to his two sons, Emil and Bernhard Stoewer, who decided to join automotive industry. From this time the company was named Gebrüder Stoewer, Fabrik für Motorfahrzeuge (Stoewer Brothers' Automobile Plant). Their first automobiles were constructed in 1899; three wheel model first, then four wheel one. Soon mass production was started. Stoewer brothers' company was the third car production plant established in Europe, and first one to start manufacturing buses. Stoewer brothers also developed off-road cars production for Wehrmacht. Their war contract was agreed as early as 1936.
Stoewer car from 1936.
After war the plant became property of new communist government. From 1946 it was used as repair shop. Car subassemblies were manufactured there, too. In 1947 the plant got a new name, PZInż Ursus, and started a production of Ursus subassemblies; Ursus was first postwar Polish tractor. In 1950 the plant was passed to another consortium – United Metal Parts and Fittings Factories – and it was renamed again; now it was called Szczecińska Wytwórnia Sprzętów Metalowych (Metal Utensils Factory in Szczecin). They manufactured metal beds and some medical equipment. The plant management and crew weren't fully satisfied with this situation, so they seeked for oportunities to widen their production range. They started to produce car trailers, generators etc. but they weren't allowed to come back to motor industry until 1955, when they started to prepare for Junak motorcycle manufacturing.
It took 3 more years, before they got a consent to change the company name to SFM (Szczecin Motorcycle Factory). Production of Junak motorcycle was held to 1965. After 1965 the plant was manufacturing car subassemblies again.