Author Topic: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history  (Read 1516 times)

Offline 33d6

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #60 on: February 19, 2021, 05:19:55 AM »
It is getting interesting isn't it. I'm curious about the B&W Hornet Wasp thing. My Victorian Police Rego book Lists a Bennett & Wood HornetWasp with a 172cc engine for 1949 only. Villiers hadn't been making a 172 engine since the early 30's and the number give has no relevance to any Villiers engine anyway. What was this bike? Any pictures?

The entry also refers to a 1949 Bennett & Wood Wasp with a 125 engine but the engine number given is the usual postwar Acme 9D engine number. Its as if the previous Acme of 1939-48 became a B&W Wasp for 1949.

As for the front fork question I think the prewar fork shown on the Acme is a Sackville. It is similar to that on my 1940 Excelsior, the 1935 Excelsior/Waratah and also the James ML. I also have a clear drawing of a Sackville fork in a prewar Show issue. They have a distinctly different pressed girder from the Webb style. Sackville were a Birmingham firm that made a variety of accessories for the bicycle, motorcycle and aviation industries. Handlebars, exhaust pipes , control levers and control cables for motorcycles plus control levers and other stuff for aeroplanes. Sold stuff under the SAKVILL brand.They seem to have started making pressed steel forks in the early-mid 30's and made them through to the late 40's at least with the James ML and then dropped out of the front supension business entirely once it moved away from stampings and pressings.
Postwar, H C Webb  appears to be the only one left making pressed steel forks and that not for long. Teles were the new thing and you were seen as out of touch or very down market if you stayed with girders. Identifying all the minor variations is confusing to say the least.




Offline R

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #61 on: February 19, 2021, 09:01:49 PM »
I must say that finding any pics of B&W building up Acme motorcycles didn't leap out at me, although it was easy to find pics of them building Speedwell bicycles.
With a new dedicated factory in Redfern no less, as mentioned previously.

Can we find any adverts or mention of the pricing of Acmes ?
If there is some tariff or duty benefit to DIY in Oz, then this would be reflected in the selling price ?
We have already seen that the Waratah was only 30 shillings less than the Excelsior, circa 1950
So are closely comparable, both being full imports.

Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #62 on: February 19, 2021, 09:52:16 PM »
Acmes were selling for 45 pounds in 1939; not sure about after the war.

The fork info is interesting. Indeed the prewar Acme uses the same fork as the ML James, as does the B&W Wasp (125cc). The B&W brochure I have lists the Hornet at 148cc, so the 175cc reference may be an error. The Hornet uses the heavier pressed fork (Webb?), which looks the same as the post-war Acme.

I have images to post, but the "upload folder full" problem remains.

Leon

Offline 33d6

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #63 on: February 20, 2021, 12:59:08 AM »
Just to add further flavour to this murky mix of what is an Australian make and what is a simple re-badging I have been looking at other Aussie brand lightweights. I find for example, that the 'Utility' sold by Utility Motorcycles here in Melbourne were actually re-badged Montgomery. It seems to be much the same story as Waratah. Utility started off assembling their own but then went over to badge engineering with Montgomery in the 1930's.

All well and good you say, and so what. But I am currently restoring a 1939 Montgomery. Or am I? Is it really a Utility? It's a local bike and from what little history I can find it always has been. If you saw it as I got it you would agree no one in their right mind ever paid to import such a pile of tat for restoration. It was far beyond a 'project". I don't know what you call a bike so far gone it is a project in itself to get it up to 'project' status. We won't discuss what you call the dumbos who take on such a job. I can only plead the old soldiers reponse to why he joined up. "It seemed a good idea at the time."

So how do I go about finding out what transfer should be on the tank of my Montgomery? I'll start off with a visit to the old Vic Rego cards held by the AMOC. Compared to other makes there will only be a handful of Utility and Montgomery cards to go through.That may pin it down but what do I do if it is a Utility? I then need to find a good picture of a Utility transfer. Any suggestions, Leon?


 

Offline john.k

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #64 on: February 20, 2021, 01:30:31 AM »
imports dont need to be economic.....it was common practice to recruit employees in UK  ,and ship them out here with all their furniture ,household goods,and a motor car.....I know a guy who brought out a MGTC and a Norton Atlas ,stuffed into a large wardrobe ,he bought specially to fit the bike .He was employed by Shell Co.

Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #65 on: February 20, 2021, 01:35:55 AM »
I have a ripper pic of a surviving Utilty tank: it ticks lots of boxes in this thread because (a) it looks like a mid 1920s Sun/Waratah and (b) the transfer reads "Utility Made in England"!!

I'll post a photo when I can.

The problem, so far as the new edition of "A to Z" is concerned, is that tracking down these things takes time...

Leon
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 01:37:26 AM by cardan »

Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #66 on: February 20, 2021, 12:43:22 PM »
OK. Utility is complicated. Rather than just worrying about the 1931 company Utility Motor Cycles Pty Ltd, there are two others that are clearly in play: Findlay and O'Connor Pty Ltd, and R A & F Findlay Pty Ltd. You can add in Pioneer Motor Cycle Exchange Pty Ltd, and "the Royal".

All are linked. Findlay and O'Connor, trading sometimes as "The Royal", sold secondhand motorcycles in the 1920s from 319 Swanston St. Pioneer Motor Cycle Exchange Pty Ltd was formed in 1926, presumably to take over the business of The Royal (Findlay and O'Connor), and traded at the same address, with Jack Taggart as manager. When Pioneer was liquidated in 1931, a new company - Utility Motor Cycles Pty Ltd - rose from the ashes at the same address. The subscribers were former Pioneer manager Jack Taggert and Ernest Louis Andrea. Here's the interesting bit: Utility bought and sold secondhand motorcycles. By 1933 there were Utility bicycles; Utility motorcycles appeared in 1934, but not obviously associated with Utility! Instead they were shown and sold, from March 1934, by Findlay and O'Connor Pty Ltd, at 299 Swanston St and 320 Elizabeth St.

Now at the end of 1933, Findlay and O'Connor were selling Excelsior, but when the Utility appeared, Excelsior disappeared! Does this sound familiar?

Meanwhile, in 1934, R A & F Findlay Pty Ltd, 326 Elizabeth St, were selling... Montgomery!!! This continued into 1935, but seems to have disappeared by 1936, by which time Findlay and O'Connor began selling the Utility JAP.

It is tempting to imagine that the Utility Villiers bikes were Excelsior, and the Utilty JAP bikes Montgomery, but who knows.

Oh, let's not forget Utility Motor Cycle Pty Ltd. In 1933 they listed THREE addresses: 319 Swanston St, and 354 and 417 Swanston St. Perhaps one of these was a factory? 417 Elizabeth St was taken over by Allparts in 1935. During 1935, Jack Taggart advertised - in very modest line adverts - new Utility motorcycles from 319 Swanston St, while Findlay and O'Connor continued to advertise Utility Villiers and Utility JAP in large display adverts.

Les and Wilf Darby - mentioned in the fist edition of A to Z - were well-known racing motorcyclists. At the end of the 1930s, Les was almost unbeatable in local events on his Utility JAP; in 1935 both were racing Sunbeams at a time when Findlay and O'Connor were the Sunbeam agents. They may have been employees of Findlay and O'Connor, but I can't see them as running the show. Les was only 32 when he was killed in a motorcycle race in 1941.

In summary, I have no idea what was going on, except to say that some Utility motorcycles may have been assembled early on (say 1934), but from then on it was possibly the Waratah rebadging thing repeated in Melbourne. Thus "Utility  Made in England" tank transfers.

99% of Australian motorcycle manufacturers gave up before 1925, so the 1930s is not really the heyday of the local industry.

Cheers

Leon

Offline 33d6

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #67 on: February 21, 2021, 12:24:04 AM »
Preliminary investigation shows the AMOC only open for two days a week so getting in to explore their Utility/Montgomery information may take some time. Way, way back I did have direct access to the engine number cards but things have changed and I've lost my contacts so I have to start from scratch. When I do get in it should be a relatively quick hunt as the records are kept in engine number sequence and as all prewar 9D numbers commence AAA they should all be at the front. If I can I'll also have a go at counting the total number of cards to get some idea of how many 'Utility' were sold.

This stuff is in penny packet numbers compared to BSA or Triumph so should be comparitively easy to do.

Now, while we're on a roll with obscure Australian Villiers powered mystery makes what about Simplex? During my apprenticeship days one of the local farmers in the district trundled around on a 250 Villiers powered Simplex. Other than that and an old advert I saw in the State Library I know nothing. Rob acknowledges the make in the first edition but that's it. He says he knows nothing. Has anything come to light since?     

Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #68 on: February 21, 2021, 07:05:24 AM »
Sigh... tough task master. I had a go at Simplex a while back, but didn't get very far: http://classicmotorcycleforum.com/index.php?topic=5942.0

There can't be many more of these 1930s "Australian" lightweights: Waratah, Acme, Utility, Simplex, Cottman Colt... It's a pretty small fraction of the 540-odd Australian makes.

Luckily we have (also some time back) dispatched Roamer and Rambler - both found in Australia - as export brands used by Norman.

I'll be interested to see waht registration records might bring forth.

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #69 on: February 23, 2021, 05:58:01 AM »
Re the Cottman Colt (a re-badged "special order" 225cc Royal Enfield two stroke): so far as I can see, the first ones arrived in Melbourne much later than stated. Late 1939, I think. I wonder if the rego records can reveal when the first Cottman Colt was registered? The story is that there were a couple of hundred of them, but this sounds like a lot, particularly when there was very little advertising of them in the period press. I wonder how many show up in the rego records.

Cheers

Leon
« Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 06:00:48 AM by cardan »

Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #70 on: February 23, 2021, 06:01:36 AM »
The B&W Wasp (125cc) and Hornet (148cc). c1938 I think?

Leon

Offline 33d6

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #71 on: February 23, 2021, 11:45:13 PM »
I've made a preliminary approach to the AOMC but not got far. They have a part time office manager who used to attend two days per week but the COVID lockdown put paid to that. No one there at all now. It also looks like the new arrangements will stay as they suit him better. I have the name of the Keeper of the Cards (my terminology) and as he is an excellent gatekeeper my approach will have to be circumspect. I'll let you know.

The Hornet and Wasp are interesting. The Hornet is definitely a prewar type as neither that Mk XIIC engine nor that Burman gear box were made postwar. It may have been assembled postwar from material on hand but no chance of it ever going into production.

The Wasp on the other hand could have been made postwar right up unti the finish of 9D engine production. This is always vague as to 1948 or 49 as there appears to have been a crossover period when the first 10D were coming off the line as the last of the 9D going out the door but the 10D was on display at the 1949 Show and the 9D was history.

The exhaust and inlet manifold on the Wasp are interesting. This style was also found on late 30's Excelsior and Wolf. It's no drama as you just reverse the 9D exhaust manifolds. I'm currently looking at making two of that style inlet manifold as both my Excelsior and Montgomery/Utility use it.

Cheers   



Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #72 on: February 24, 2021, 12:24:20 AM »
Good luck with the keeper of the cards!!

The Wasp/Hornet illustrations come from an undated B&W brochure. I've scanned the newspapers and everything Wasp/Hornet seems to tie in with 1937-1938: an article about their introduction appeared in March 1937. No surprise that they were "specifically designed and manufactured for local conditions". They were finished in black and red.

So the idea that Bennett and Wood replaced the Wasp/Hornet with the Acme is well supported. I explicitly looked postwar for anything to suggest the Hornet might have continued, but nothing found.

Presumably the bikes were built in Britain and sent out. Is either identifiably Wolf- or Excelsior-made?

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #73 on: February 24, 2021, 01:10:50 AM »
Bad form to answer my own question, but you could imagine that the Wasp and Hornet were the 1937 Wolf Unit and Vixen, rebadged? The Vixen used a 148 Villiers with a Burman box.

Leon

Offline 33d6

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #74 on: February 24, 2021, 01:58:55 AM »
Don't think you need much imagination at all! I agree entirely, the Wasp and Hornet are re badged Wolf.