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Motorcycle Discussions => British Bikes => Topic started by: cardan on February 02, 2021, 09:17:33 PM

Title: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 02, 2021, 09:17:33 PM
I have a car friend who likes to frequent a scrap metal yard in Melbourne. He was pleased as punch with his latest find, which seems to be a 9D (125cc) Villiers engine/gear unit? Complete with twistgrip. 33d6 - you need to be more vigilant?

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find
Post by: 33d6 on February 02, 2021, 10:43:33 PM
I currently have several of them awaiting attention in my shed. Another one arriving would have to snuck in behind management. She was delighted to see a couple of engines go a few weeks back but not so happy when she saw the same deal include another engine coming in.
COVID lockdown has seen a lot of complicated manoeuvring to shuffle engines interstate without breaking the rules.
That particular 9D is ex -1946-49 Excelsior Universal. The one with the gear change coming up through a slot in the tank.
These gather a lot of attention if found with a Waratah transfer on the tank as the owners usually think they have a piece of Australian made exotica. Maybe so for prewar Waratah but post war are simply re-badged Excelsior. Not quite the same provenance.
Nevertheless, Iím pleased to see the wee beast saved. Itíll make someone very happy.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find
Post by: cardan on February 03, 2021, 12:23:29 AM
That's interesting about Waratah and the Excelsior.

So are these Waratahs - from 1951 - Excelsior also? There was a 197cc model too.

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find
Post by: R on February 03, 2021, 01:43:25 AM
So are these Waratahs - from 1951 - Excelsior also? There was a 197cc model too.

Yes.

Its been discussed someplace that Waratahs were sold in Sydney by P & R Williams in Wentworth Ave,
and Excelsiors were sold just up the road by Tom Byrne. The Waratahs had a few shillings price advantage.
https://cybermotorcycle.com/gallery/classics-w/images/Waratah-1951-PR-Williams.jpg
The Excelsior adverts are trickier to find, I'll work on it.

What is not clear is when the Waratah decals were applied ?  Since the paint scheme is different between the Waratah
(black) and Excelsior (maroon), were the Waratah tanks shipped out bare and the decal applied in Oz, or did Excelsior apply the decal even ?
Or was some level of finish done in Oz ??
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find
Post by: cardan on February 03, 2021, 02:20:16 AM
I don't know about the decals, but one thing I've learned in studying the Australian industry is that companies here were pragmatic. If Excelsior offered to paint and affix transfers for a good price, this would save an awful lot of time and mucking about when uncrating bikes off the boat. My bet is Waratah transfers went on in the UK.

Here's an interesting snippet for the Waratah story. The first reference I have is in 1911, when Waratahs were offered with a 4 1/2 hp Fafnir engine. At the time, the Canada Cycle and Motor Agency Ltd (W. A. Williams was the Manager, three Williams on the board of directors), makers of the Waratah, were importing agents for Douglas and Excelsior. Perhaps the Excelsior connection lasted all those years. 1953 is the last year I've seen mention of Waratah.

Leon

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find
Post by: cardan on February 03, 2021, 02:55:15 AM
How about this Waratah, from 1938. Excelsior? Or...?

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find
Post by: 33d6 on February 03, 2021, 03:26:27 AM
Interesting. Definitely Excelsior and in fact is the exact Excelsior model involved in the frame number query G4 571 of a few days back. It is an Excelsior ďMeritorĒ 250. The cheapest of the various 250ís Excelsior made at that time.
I always thought P&R Williams started rebadging Excelsior in the 1940ís. I didnít know they were doing it in pre war days. Thatís a very helpful photo. It adds a little more to the story.
Can I ask itís provenance?
Cheers,
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find
Post by: cardan on February 03, 2021, 03:56:48 AM
Sorry, not my usual file name structure. I clipped this out of a one page article in The Australian Motor Cyclist in March 1938.

This is getting very interesting. I've been doing some serious trawling and I'm beginning to doubt that ANY Waratah was made in Australia. At least after some date. It's that pragmatism thing: why bother to build a motorcycle if someone else will build it for you, and still give you a good profit margin.

Let's try to find a Waratah that ISN'T an Excelsior. How about this one from 1928?

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find
Post by: cardan on February 03, 2021, 04:02:19 AM
Or the 1924 model - here's both sides of the same bike, I think, even though from different newspapers.

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find
Post by: R on February 03, 2021, 04:56:38 AM
I'm sure I've read that the Waratah and Acme and several others were built up from components.
Surely they couldn't claim in any measure to be 'Australian' if they were fully imported.
I'm not sure I haven't seen pics of Bennett and Wood building up Acme motorcycles, to some degree ?

I wonder if we have left it too late to hear from someone who worked there what actually went on ?
Or if it would have been reported in a magazine someplace.
The tax or import duty folks might take a dim view if what was being claimed wasn't being adhered to ?!

But, if the Waratah was only a few shillings the difference with an imported Excelsior, it sounds like
there was no real savings - post WW2 era anyway.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find
Post by: cardan on February 03, 2021, 05:22:53 AM
Surely they couldn't claim in any measure to be 'Australian' if they were fully imported.

There's the rub: Williams Bros. most often claimed the Waratah to be "British"! This doesn't necessarily mean that they were actually made in Britain - for example Invincible JAP liked to mention the word "British" a lot, despite being made in Australia - but in the case of Waratah I'm now wondering just how many, if any, bikes were built or assembled in Australia.

There is a large Wikipedia page on Waratah, compiled by a number of authors: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waratah_motorcycles with lots of references to original articles. Unfortunately the authors don't seem to have followed through with the info in some of these.

Over here in South Australia, we had Elliott Bros producing Villiers-engined bikes in reasonable numbers through the 1920s. I happen to know they assembled them in their factory, in part because I have a box of left-over lugs in the shed that came from Elliott when they closed! But is there any evidence of Williams Bros actually making anything?

Let's explore the "all Waratahs are badged Excelsiors" idea until we come up with something that is certainly not Excelsior. Then we can think about where that came from!

I see there is a Waratah Facebook page, which neither Google nor I can see. Perhaps they know the proper story?

Cheers

Leon

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 03, 2021, 05:43:56 AM
Back to the 9D Villiers:

The Museum of Applied Arts and Science has what looks to be a tidy c1948 Waratah: https://collection.maas.museum/object/61186

Engine No. 580/31457 (compare 580/33202 on the junkyard engine)
Frame No. AU/2517

The 580 is the Excelsior engine code, and the "AU" on the frame number is interesting.

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on February 03, 2021, 07:28:25 AM
My little Waratah is almost identical in appearance to the MAAS one. I had a very good look at it when it was on display.

My engine code is 539/     and a number about 6000 more, Frame is AU/     and a number about 700 more.

I bought it at a farm clearing sale from the original owner. He bought it from P&R Williams in Sydney in 1945 with his pay from being demobbed,
and rode it (with petrol coupons) out into western NSW. At a steady ~30 mph, he said it took him a day and a half to get home.
And used three coupons.  (3 gallons !)

I corresponded with a few folks over these.
I don't think anyone has found the full history yet, beyond the bare outlines,  unless someone has unearthed something recently ?

The MAAS one has a single (redone ?) broad gold pinstripe on the tank, whereas mine has some very fine gold stripes.
(Almost worn away).

I need to refresh my memory, but the Waratah has different exhaust details to the equivalent Excelsior ?
Inc the Waratah having black mufflers.

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on February 03, 2021, 08:49:53 AM
1950 advert for Excelsiors
https://i.postimg.cc/Dw73dhFH/Excelsior-Tom-Byrne-Aug-1950.jpg (https://i.postimg.cc/Dw73dhFH/Excelsior-Tom-Byrne-Aug-1950.jpg)

And early 1951 advert, same magazine
https://i.postimg.cc/Px0QTd2q/Waratah-1951-PR-Williams.jpg (https://i.postimg.cc/Px0QTd2q/Waratah-1951-PR-Williams.jpg)
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 03, 2021, 09:34:32 AM
539 identifies a 9D originally fitted to a post war James ML. AU is the Excelsior frame identifier for the immediate post war 1946-49 9D powered Excelsior Universal. (Excelsior used Universal as a model name over a variety of low capacity machines).
The black muffler was common on many of the cheaper end two-strokes. Decoking silencers was a regular job and the easiest and cheapest way to do it was to burn the muck out. As this ruined any chrome plating why plate it? Just paint it black and save a few bob. It was no bother for the owner to give the silencer a fresh coat of paint or even cheaper to just apply a coat of domestic stove blacking. Stove blacking was a common domestic item found in just about every kitchen back then.

Iíd like to explore the ďall Waratah are ExcelsiorĒ as well but Iíve written enough this time.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on February 03, 2021, 09:47:52 AM
539 identifies a 9D originally fitted to a post war James ML.

I wondered about that.
Could the end plate on the gearbox have been changed ?
Is there anything else to identify if the whole engine has been changed  ?

The black mufflers have been well blacked.
Most of the stoved enamel still survives.
The ends of the mufflers have just a push fit.
Designed for easy decoking ?
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 03, 2021, 10:00:05 AM
Fascinating! How about a pic of your bike, R?

I had a scan though my rather slim collection of post-WW2 Australian motorcycle magazine, but nothing more to be found on post was Waratahs. However the more I read, the more it seems that most/all Waratahs arrived complete from Britain, and from 1928 on the bikes looked exactly like Excelsiors, paint work aside.

Acme, on the other hand, are described as 'manufactured' by Bennett and Wood, despite the obvious dependence on imported parts. Perhaps there was an element to assembly from a kit of parts.

The 1924 Waratahs used the single tube Sun frame set, which I don't think Excelsior used? Even in this era, all the talk is about "British made" - here's a March 1925 article that slips in "British" a couple of times in a single paragraph:

"Messrs Williams Bros., Ltd, advise that last month proved a record one for the sale of British "Waratah" motor cycles with 2-stroke Villiers engine. Selling at the wonderfully low price of 45 pounds, and dispensing "no-trouble service" in the hands of expert and novice alike, this little British lightweight has indeed won remarkable popularity in the short time that it has been marketed here."

Perhaps these machines were assembled by Sun Cycle Fittings for Williams and sent out?

Even earlier, in September 1921, a Williams Bros advert in the Sydney Morning Herald stated they were
"...sole importers of A.J.S. Cleveland and Villiers-Waratah Motor Cycles".

Still looking for anything to suggest manufacture.

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 03, 2021, 11:57:49 AM
Higher in the thread there are two illustrations of the Waratah from December 1924.

Here's an illustration of the "Sun miniature two stroke" from The Motor Cycle, 6 November 1924.

This is the fancy model, with long exhaust, footboards, 3 speed gearbox and kick starter. Of course Waratah took the cheapest version which is also described:

"Another miniature Sun uses the 147cc Villiers unit, but has final belt drive. With plain, two-speed gear it costs £27 10s; with two-speeds, clutch and kick starter, £29 10s; and with three-speed gear and kick starter, £30. The forks on this machine are single-bladed, though girder type fork costs only 5s 6d extra."

I'd be pretty certain the mid 1920s Waratahs came from Sun, complete, mostly with the cheapest spec: two speed, no kick starter, short exhaust, footrests.

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 03, 2021, 01:23:04 PM
Of course the gearbox end plate could be changed and often was, mainly due to problems with the clutch operating mechanism. The pivot arms get broken off with monotonous regularity. Itís commonplace on many of the small Albion boxes of the day.
Every so often I get someone all over dramatic with a ďspecialĒ 9D that has no engine number. I just point out he has a prewar end plate on a post war engine. Itís easy to tell. The post war end plate has a neat slightly raised flat surface  arrangement where the number is stamped on. The pre war plate has no such provision as they stamped the number elsewhere.
The difficulty lies in identifying all those early post war numbers. Roy Bacon published quite a few but far from all. Iíve been collecting the ďorphanĒ numbers for years and now I have a list of about sixty N.I.B. - Not In Bacon numbers.
Itís sad what nonsense boring old f*rts get up to isnít it.
As I have to make two silencers for my 1940 9D powered Universal Iíd be thrilled to see photos of your R. The Excelsior literature vaguely mentions a bendable tab to keep everything together but thatís about it. Photoís showing assembled and apart would be fabulous.

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: Rex on February 03, 2021, 05:32:16 PM
Can't comment on the Bacon books referred to here, but the more mainstream bikes' books are known for their errata.
Some years ago one of the glossies devoted a whole article going through one particular edition highlighting obvious errors. More of an interesting read than any sort of reference book.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on February 03, 2021, 09:17:28 PM
Ah, unfortunately my wee beastie has lost the endcaps of its mufflers.
The ends of the mufflers had simply been squashed together to muffle down the sound.
There is a slight crimp mark about 1/4" in from the end of the main body, but I'm none the wiser
how they were retained. Sorry for any confusion there.

My pics are predigital era, I'll have to find them.
Bike is currently not so easy to access to photo.

I've been pondering that this is a 1945 bike, so is it possible that Villiers would have had a surplus of
James ML engines at wars end, and they simply despatched them off to the colonies in lieu of 'correct' ones ??
Wonder if there any records of any others registered about that time ?
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on February 04, 2021, 02:44:24 AM
P.S. I did have a go at getting the mufflers remade, but it didn't quite go to plan.
The seam ended up being rather prominent. I don't know what to do about this.
And they need to be blackened. (its easier to find folks who make shiny stuff ...)

https://i.postimg.cc/nV0R0HxF/Mufflers-remade.jpg (https://i.postimg.cc/nV0R0HxF/Mufflers-remade.jpg)
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 04, 2021, 04:18:36 AM
Thank you for the photo. Itís more than useful to know how the factory did things.
Yes, the post war engine included the ML improvements, namely a larger carburettor and better crankcase seals. The prewar version was far more economy oriented with the smaller Midget carb. Each variant reflects the needs of the day.
Itís very easy to pick an original WD engine. Firstly the number is stamped vertically on the back of the gear box and secondly the number has an A suffix. An example would be AAA****A. No other 9D used either particular arrangement.

Now, back to Excelsior/Waratah. The post war Waratah uses the factory Excelsior frame numbers. The first thing I would do is check the pre war Waratah frame numbers to see if they also are Excelsior frame numbers and if so when did Waratah first start sporting them. This would be a start.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 04, 2021, 05:07:01 AM
Mmm... Unfortunately I don't have any 1928-on Waratah frame numbers.

The more I look, the more I think pre-1928 or so Waratahs were Suns. Even in veteran years 1915-16, a Waratah was offered with either Villiers or Vitesse engine, as was the case for Sun. In 1926 there is even an advert for a new 3 1/2 h.p. Waratah, when a 3 1/2 h.p. (500cc) JAP-engined Sun was available in the UK.

I've dug out a pile of Waratah references, and many of them say "British" or "British-built", and refer to Williams as "agents" for Waratah, rather than manufacturer.

I did find one reference - one! - from 1929 that refers to "... a tiny 147 cc solo motor cycle, the Waratah, assembled in Sydney from British components..." Maybe a few Waratahs were actually made/assembled here!

Here's a 1933 Waratah. Excelsior?

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 04, 2021, 06:03:05 AM
Could be. There is a family resemblance but the photo is of too poor a quality to have any confidence about it. After all, it is a proprietary engine and it was the fashion to slope the engine forward slightly. Plus of course the Brookland style silencer was very popular also.....
Nevertheless, it would pass for an Excelsior at a casual glance.......but I wouldnít swear to it in court.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 04, 2021, 07:43:59 AM
Mmm... I don't have the 1932 SHow issues to check on the 1933 Excelsior range.

Otherwise, on a roll here - two birds with one stone.

The 3.5 h.p. Waratah mentioned above likely used the 342 cc Villiers engine. The 1928 model Waratah - with the Brampton fork - pictured higher in the thread (another copy below) is clearly the 1928 3.5 h.p. Sun "Semi-Sports Model de Luxe". Makes sense.

At the lover end of the Sun range in 1928 was a chain drive 147cc bike with deep mudguards and a dummy-rim rear brake. Also a Waratah model.

So Waratahs were Sun into 1928, at least.

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 04, 2021, 11:48:54 AM
No 1932 Show issues? Was there a Ď32 Show? From somewhere I got the impression the Great Depression knocked it on the head.
I have quite a few Show issues myself but as they never give much credence to the grey porridge end I now tend to collect any old issue that has something of special interest. For example, only those TT issues where Villiers competed. Still looking for early thirties issues featuring the original Midget powered bikes and so on.
I do have copies of all the Excelsior motorcycle catalogues from 1928-1939. Still looking for 1940 (there was one).
So, how do we find out when Waratah made the switch? And did they only feature Villiers powered Excelsior. I donít know of any four stroke Waratah.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 04, 2021, 11:59:28 AM
Perfectly correct - no 1932 Show.

Midget? Of course there was a Waratah Midget in 1931, but no image of the bike yet.

What's this one?

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 04, 2021, 10:22:41 PM
That bike is pure Excelsior. Difficult to say exactly which model with the leg shields concealing most of the engine but certainly 100% Excelsior.
Interesting about the Midget. Iíll have to haul out my Excelsior catalogues to double check the first year of Excelsiors first Midget model. Was it 1931 or 32?
The Waratah story is rapidly coming in to focus isnít it.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 04, 2021, 11:21:24 PM
The Waratah story is rapidly coming in to focus isnít it.

Yes it is, but not in the way I expected. I see an interesting tale of business - importation, agencies and distributors - but not too much to indicate "Australian made"!

I'm not sure who made the Fafnir-engined Waratahs that were sold in the second half of 1911, but it could have been Canada Cycle and Motor Agency, Ltd, in their lovely big building.

From the end of 1911 until 1915 there is a gap - I can find nothing in 1912, 1913 or 1914 to suggest Waratah motorcycles were built, available or sold.

In 1915, W. A. Williams embarked on a four-month trip to England and the continent (bloody hell!), returning in August pessimistic about the future but having "secured stocks of the Villiers and V.T.C.(sic) machines". Presumably he had visited Sun Cycle & Fittings Co., Ltd, in Birmingham, who were producing a range of lightweight motorcycles powered by Villiers and V.T.S. engines. The first shipment of "Villiers" motorcycles arrived in Sydney before Williams, in June, with a choice of direct drive or two speeds. They were soon offered under the "Waratah" brand, with a choice of Villiers or V.T.S. engine.

From 1915 until 1928 (at least) all Waratahs seem to have been built by Sun, exactly to Sun spec, and imported. Almost certainly painted and "transferred" in England.

Then from some date - say 1930-ish - until 1952-3, all Waratahs seem to have been built by Excelsior, exactly to Excelsior spec, and imported. Almost certainly painted and "transferred" in England.

Just the one article in 1928 to hint at assembly in Sydney - perhaps experimental? Perhaps a glitch in the Sun "arrangement"?

Not exactly the pinnacle of the Australian motorcycle industry!

What year is the Waratah/Excelsior above?

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 04, 2021, 11:24:27 PM
My telling of the Williams Bros story, also a little different to existing versions:

The story of "Williams Brothers", well known in the Australian motor trade, begins with the three original Williams brothers:

George Harold Williams
Henry James Williams
William Arthur Williams

The brothers acquired the NSW branch of the Canada Cycle and Motor Agency, 625 George St, Sydney, in 1905, taking it public in 1906 as the Canada Cycle and Motor Agency, Ltd. In 1910, two other motor businesses were acquired and the combined entities re-incorporated under the same name. A magnificent seven-storey building was erected at 822 George St to house the new firm.

In 1911, the Canada Cycle and Motor Agency, Ltd, acquired the agency for Douglas motorcycles.

In 1913, the brothers took control of the bicycle and motorcycle business of the Canada Cycle and Motor Agency, Ltd, and reformed it under the name Williams Bros. The new business traded initially from the Canada building at 822 George St, but it was gutted by a massive fire in December 1913, and Williams Bros re-established at 213-217 Elizabeth St.

Enter the second generation of Williams brothers:

David Reginald 'Reg' Williams
Percy Harold Williams

Presumably they were the sons of one of the original Williams brothers, but I've yet to discover which one.

In 1914, Percy and Reg opened a motor garage in Murray St, Orange, regional NSW. After the war, the brothers combined to enter the trade in Sydney. P & R Williams, 80-82 Wentworth Ave, Sydney, opened on April 7, 1920, initially selling second-hand motorcycles. Soon they gained, from Williams Bros, Ltd, the agency for AJS motorcycles, leaving Williams Bros with the busy and lucrative Douglas agency they had held since 1911. P & R Williams was incorporated as P & R Williams, Ltd in 1922; a subsidiary of Williams Bros, Ltd.

Williams Bros, Ltd, and P & R Williams, Ltd, traded separately for the next few years. Motorcycle-wise, Williams Bros focussed on Douglas (and their own brand Waratah), and P & R Williams focussed on AJS.

In 1927, S. A. Cheney bought a controlling interest in Williams Bros, Ltd, thus also gaining control of P & R Williams. He made it clear his interest was in the motor car side of the business, mostly the Morris agency, and a major restructure followed, resulting in "the biggest motor-cycle deal in the history of the trade in Australia". A new company was formed: Williams, Ltd, under the control of D. R. (Reg) Williams, to manage the agencies for Douglas, Waratah and Sunbeam. P & R Williams, Ltd, with P. H. Williams as managing director, carried on as before with the AJS and Velocette agencies.

To give an idea of the scope of the businesses at the time of the restructure in 1927, S. A. Cheney launched legal action against Williams Bros. claiming 250,000 pounds in damages over issues to do with his purchase of shares.

The Waratah motorcycle began with the Canada Cycle and Motor Agency, Ltd, in 1911, moved to Williams Bros. in 1913, and stayed with them through the 1920s. By the early 1930s P & R Williams had taken it on, and it stayed there until the end around 1953.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 05, 2021, 05:44:42 AM
Well, that history gives some idea why P&R Williams would have changed their business policies and opted for the Excelsior line up. Same name but different firm.
Anyway, now my little snippet. The Midget powered Excelsior was announced in mid 1931 and first appeared in their 1932 catalogue. It remained in their catalogues for three years. Last year 1935.
The lovely clear Waratah photo is 1935 at the earliest. That is the first year of the common tubular silencer. Itís broadly based on the 150cc Excelsior Pioneer but is not an exact replica. It is all Excelsior but the toolbox appears to be from earlier models.
Excelsior also offered it in three specifications. With Villiers factory direct lighting, with battery lighting with battery charged by a 6 volt Dynamo slung in front of the engine and driven by chain from an extra sprocket beside the engine sprocket. And finally same Dynamo lighting with a two port engine giving an exhaust pipe down each side.
Waratah got the cheapest version.
Remember no bike friendly rectifiers in those days so batteries could only be charged from a dynamo. Hence all the messy dynamo drive arrangements.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 05, 2021, 10:29:34 AM
Brilliant. Once again Waratah aligning with the cheaper end of the Sun/Excelsior model range. Easy to imagine Excelsior using up old-pattern toolboxes on Waratahs for the colonies.

The "Excelsior agent" thing it a little confusing, to me anyway. In 1921 Williams Bros were the Excelsior agents, but it turns out this was American Excelsior - usually referred to in the UK and Australia as Big X to remove this confusion. I have another advert (from 1922) of Williams advertising Henderson (by this time taken over by Excelsior) and stating "Agents for Big X.

BUT in October 1929 [edit: not 1928], Williams Ltd were definitely agents for BRITISH Excelsior, at the same time they were selling Waratahs. Perhaps late 1929, when there was a reshuffling of agencies, is the time when Waratahs switched from Sun to Excelsior??

Here's a precis of the reshuffle in Oct 1929 [edit: not 1928]:
In October 1929, there was a reshuffling of agencies, mostly to allow Williams, Ltd, to concentrate on Singer cars at their 25 Wentworth St headquarters. P & R Williams became the N.S.W. distributor for Douglas (previously with Williams, Ltd), and Williams, Ltd, moved Royal Enfield, British Excelsior, Waratah and newly-acquired New Imperial to new premises in Goulburn St.

Anyway, here's another tubular-silencer Waratah with a known date: 86 y.o. Professor Watson taking delivery of his second Waratah in May 1936. Excelsior?

Leon

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 05, 2021, 10:42:56 AM
And another, from December 1936, six months after Prof. Watson.

Advert says 250, looks to be twin port, but inclined engine, and with same toolbox as in the "good photo" Waratah.

Excelsior again?

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 05, 2021, 11:41:12 AM
Yes both Excelsior based built to same formula. All Excelsior but not necessarily an exact replica of the current Excelsior range.
The advert Waratah is interesting. Excelsior listed two Villiers engine 250ís. The Meritor being the utility version with a plain finish and pressed steel forks and the other the Scout with a much higher standard of finish, a chromed tank and regular tube girder forks.
The advert Waratah appears to be a Meritor with the Scout type inclined Villiers engine fitted.

Unfortunately most pictures are of such poor quality that one canít be 100% sure but lucky for us Excelsior used a rather distinctive rear stand which is of great help. This is driven into my mind at the moment as Iím in the process of making one. Itís the third bike in a row Iíve had to do this. I never truly appreciated how fussy rear stand design is. They  have to be just so to work well.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 05, 2021, 12:50:26 PM
So we're thinking these very-pre-war Waratahs came from the Excelsior factory.

When the Waratah model range was expanded to include the 'new' 250cc - in August 1935 - the article clearly says "This cycle, which is manufactured in England..." (Sydney Morning Herald, 16 Aug 1935)

I'm pretty happy to say that all Waratahs from 1915 to 1928 came from Sun, and it's looking good for all 1935-1953 Waratahs from the Excelsior factory.

Can we try to bridge the 1929-1934 gap?

Let's have another look at the 197cc bike from March 1933. Here's a summary of the article that goes with the rotten pic:

Waratah 1933 Models Arrive

"now being introduced to Queensland"

"These British machines..."

1.47 hp to 2.5 hp (presumably 147cc, 197cc and 250cc)

Model illustrated is:

1.97 hp (197cc) Villiers, semi-inclined, single exhaust on the left.

Three speed, clutch and kick starter.

New type of saddle tank, finished in red and black, "saddle let in at the end".

"The frame is built completely around the engine, allowing for very high ground clearance."

25x3.00 balloon tyres

Lucas electrics, 6V, with headlamp, generator, battery and tail lamp.

Other things I notice are flat strip mudguard stays, a "fill in" toolbox under the seat, and a rear carrier with very rounded corners.

How does all this tie in with Excelsior?

Leon

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 05, 2021, 11:27:24 PM
That summary could describe more or less any Villiers powered machine of the era. I don't find it of great help. It's easy to identify any Villiers powered Excelsior of the period as that two unique features. These are the style of saddle mounting and their pressed steel forks.

The saddle mounting is unique. I have included a photo of a frame of the period so you can see what I mean. I don't know of any firm that did anything quite the same.

Excelsior also started using pressed steel forks at this time but they were unusual in that they were pierced so as to look vaguely tube like at a distance rather than the solid sheet style as later became the norm. This is very clearly illustrated in the 1931 Excelsior catalogue as seen on Sheldons EMU. Oddly enough this doesn't show up that well in ordinary snapshots so I don't have any that clearly illustrate them. Excelsior used them on all the Villiers powered bikes for a few years to then slowly drop them for the later style. 1934 and 1935 saw them only on single models in the range as if they were just using up stock in hand. The later solid sheet style had taken over.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 06, 2021, 02:08:15 AM
Sorry I can't provide clear photos! Does the bike look broadly like a 1933 197 cc Excelsior?

I have reached the end of what I can sensibly do.

Attached is a Williams, Ltd, advert from the Sun on the same day as the announcement of the reshuffle of agencies in October 1929. (Don't know why I said 1928 earlier.)

In their new motorcycle showrooms at 119 Goulburn St they have "latest model Waratahs, which are guaranteed to be unchanged for 1930" AND "Small British Excelsiors, two-strokes, which are almost ridiculously cheap, and electrically equipped".

In 1930, I can't find any adverts for Williams selling Excelsior. I assume that pragmatism prevailed and from 1930 Waratahs were re-badged Excelsiors. In 1932, real Excelsiors reappeared in the hands of Hazell and Moore at 36 Campbell St; presumably by then Williams Ltd arranged with Excelsior for supply of Waratahs - perhaps at the low end of the market, perhaps with some older parts, perhaps some slightly altered design - and to have the Excelsior agency available to another business in town, selling "real" Excelsiors.

Around the Motor Show in January 1929, the press were saying that Waratahs were "assembled in Sydney from British components". Presumably they had been told this by Williams Ltd. Perhaps they were, during early 1929. They are referred to as British or British-made at all other times I can see between 1915 and 1953.

Not much of an "Australian-made motorcycle" then?!

Anyway, the hypothesis is in place. Can anyone supply better story? Corrections welcome. Frame numbers from known "certified" 1930s Waratahs double welcome.

Cheers

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 06, 2021, 03:08:28 AM
Well, the hypothesis has been raised. As you say, a review of known Waratah frame numbers would go a long way.

Now of course, what should be done about the Waratah Wikipedia entry? Whoever wrote it tried their best but we have more to add to it plus I think we can put to rest the urban myth about Norman motocycles being involved in the mix. I see no connection there at all.

There was a Sydney based Waratah site floating around a few years ago. Does it still exist? Iíll have to look.

Cheers,
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: JFerg on February 06, 2021, 06:34:02 AM
Here's a P&R Williams red herring for you, Leon.

In late 1923 they bought two Barr & Stroud engines, a 350 and 1,000cc V twin.  Not been able to find a trace of either since, but conventional logic would be that they were each built into a machine of some description.  Both engines were on the same order.

cheers,
JFerg
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on February 06, 2021, 06:37:22 AM
Just FYI, this is a pic I found of an Excelsior of the same model as my 45 Waratah.
Its a lot closer in every detail than I remembered.
Except the red panel/decal on the tank, obviously.
It is of course a resto, so anything needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

(http://www.britcycle.com/bikes/Images/AKaufmann_003.JPG)

Beware of editing Wiki, I've gone in and done some obvious and needed corrections.
And before I'd even finished, someone was editing the errors back in !!
Make sure you keep/save a true copy of your texts/additions/corrections.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on February 06, 2021, 06:41:25 AM
Here's a P&R Williams red herring for you, Leon.

In late 19234 they bought two Barr & Stroud engines,

What year was that again ??

The motorcycle press of that era may have some mention of them, has anyone searched ?
Some Sydney newspapers had a motorcycling page, in I think Saturdays paper.
the SMH in particular.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 06, 2021, 07:27:46 AM
Here's a P&R Williams red herring for you, Leon.

In late 19234 they bought two Barr & Stroud engines, a 350 and 1,000cc V twin.  Not been able to find a trace of either since, but conventional logic would be that they were each built into a machine of some description.  Both engines were on the same order.

cheers,
JFerg

I love a red herring John!! And this is the best sort.

What did they do with them? Not build two B&S Waratahs, because at this time (1923-4) it was Williams Bros (the elder generation of the family) and not P&R Williams (the younger generation) who were importing and selling Waratahs.

But did they build them into bikes? I don't know! If they did, what did they call the bikes? Very interesting. I think both Percy and Reg did a bit of motorcycle sport - but I suppose they used AJS.

Percy and Reg were young, and would have been interested in B&S, yet surely they would have been busy with the AJS agency for the whole of NSW. Think of all those bikes coming in and going out. Big business. Why would they want two loose engines? And if they were busy, spare a thought for Williams Bros. Even ignoring their crazy-busy car business, they were NSW agents for Douglas. Here's a pic of part of a shipment of 366 Douglases arriving in one hit in 1924!! This goes some way to explaining why they would have Waratahs shipped in from England, rather than have a few guys out the back brazing frames out of Sun lugs. Then filing. Then emery taping. Then stove enamelling. Then assembling. Then... it wasn't that sort of business.

Cheers

Leon

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 06, 2021, 07:50:17 AM
Hi R,
Oh itís so entertaining. The postwar Universal is markedly different from the pre war version. All they share is the 9D engine, wheels and front fork. Remarkable how much they changed. Pre war is better of course, goes without saying.

And I shall have quite a giggle with JFerg when next I see  him. Did you know the B&S sleeve valve is the nearest a four stroke can get to being a two stroke? All ports with no poppet valves?

Ainít forums grand?
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 06, 2021, 08:54:35 AM
Ainít forums grand?

Indeed.

Re Barr and Stroud. Too busy. Just flog them off. Sydney Morning Herald, 13 September 1924.

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: JFerg on February 06, 2021, 10:52:59 PM
That is brilliant, Leon, fantastic.  Thank you.  A red herring no more!
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: JFerg on February 06, 2021, 11:02:58 PM

What did they do with them? Not build two B&S Waratahs, because at this time (1923-4) it was Williams Bros (the elder generation of the family) and not P&R Williams (the younger generation) who were importing and selling Waratahs.


My finger fault on the date.  The order was placed on 13 Nov, 1923 for delivery "on account of Messrs P&R Williams Ltd, Sydney", and was despatched on the 17th.  Both engines complete with AMAC carbs and ML magneto.

At least we know what didn't happen to them.....
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: JFerg on February 06, 2021, 11:15:21 PM
An even redder herring.

Two other engines, a 500 and a V twin, were despatched to Sydney in April 1923, but just to a shipping mark "S294", which is tantalising.  That 500 is in Ever Onward, but how and why it travelled from Sydney to Wilcannia still in the packaging remains a mystery.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 07, 2021, 01:00:38 AM
British readers should drive from Sydney west to Wilcannia - a lazy 950 km of big country - to fully appreciate the weirdness of the journey of the B&S. The last 250 km from Cobar to Wilcannia there is, pretty literally, nothing.

The dates associated with the P & R Williams B&S engines are interesting. Shipping was usually only 6 weeks, so the engines would have sat around before being sold on. I bet the brothers had plans!

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 07, 2021, 04:06:34 AM
WARATAH

The ĎWaratahí name was used on motorcycles between 1911 and 1953, perhaps the longest running Australian motorcycle brand. The Williams brothers Ė W.A., G.H. and H.J. Ė acquired the NSW branch of the Canada Cycle and Motor Agency, 625 George St, Sydney, in 1905, and grew the business dramatically, acquiring other businesses and moving into the purpose-built, seven-storey ĎCanada Buildingí at 822 George St early in 1911. The Waratah brand Ė named for the floral emblem of NSW Ė appeared on bicycles in 1908, and the first Waratah motorcycle, powered by a 4 Ĺ h.p. Fafnir engine, was advertised in the final months of 1911. If built in the Canada building, these Waratahs were among the small number of Waratahs assembled in Australia. A distraction in 1911 was the acquisition of the Douglas agency, which quickly became highly lucrative. In 1913 the brothers restructured the cycle and motor parts of the Canada Cycle and Motor Agency, Ltd, into a new private business: Williams Bros. A fire gutted the Canada Building, causing chaos and a search for new premises. In 1915, W. A. Williams travelled to England and gained the agency for Villiers- and V.T.S.-powered motorcycles, presumably from Sun Cycle & Fittings Co., Ltd, Birmingham. The first machines arrived at Williams Bros, now at 44 Campbell St, in June 1915 and were advertised initially as ĎVilliersí, but soon after as ĎWaratah-Villiersí. The V.T.S. engine joined the Villiers from October; either could be had with single- or two-speed transmission. Supplies continued during and after the war, very closely following the low-end models from the Sun range, all using Villiers engines. By 1928 the Waratah range included quite Ďmoderní saddle tank bikes with the Brampton fork and drum brakes alongside quite primitive machines still using the Sun single-tube frame, dummy-rim brake on the rear and none-at-all on the front. It is likely that all Waratah motorcycles between 1915 and 1928 were imported, complete, from Sun Cycle & Fittings. By this stage, the Williamsí business interests had passed to the next generation. P. H. (Perce) and D. R. (Reg) Williams opened a motor garage in Orange, NSW, in 1914, and after service in the war teamed up again to open P. and R. Williams in Sydney in 1920, a firm that became a subsidiary to Williams Bros. By the late 1920s, Perce and Reg were largely responsible for the Williamsí motor empire, which held many motor car and motorcycle agencies through three firms: Williams, Ltd, P. and R. Williams, Ltd, and the British Motor Cycle Co., Ltd. Waratah motorcycles were handled by Williams, Ltd, and at the time of the Sydney Motor Show in January 1929 it was reported that the 174 c.c. Waratah was being Ďassembled in Sydney from British componentsí. This local assembly was likely temporary. During 1929 Williams gained the agency for (British) Excelsior motorcycles, and briefly advertised two-stroke Excelsiors alongside Waratahs. Soon Williams dropped Excelsior; the Waratahs they continued to market bore strong family resemblance to the Excelsior machines and were advertised as ĎBritish madeí. P. and R. Williams handled Waratah from about 1931, and it is likely that the machines Ė 125, 148 and 250cc motorcycles and a 98cc Villiers Junior autocycle in 1939 Ė were all built by in England by the Excelsior Motor Co. and shipped to Australia complete. Waratahs were last advertised during 1953.

©Leon Mitchell and Robert Saward, 2021
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 17, 2021, 02:43:35 AM
Still going with the Waratah story; so far it's looking pretty much as outlined above. I did find one more reference to "built in Sydney" in 1926, but this is contradicted by other contemporary references to "British". In fact the "British" thing is very strong from the first two-stroke machines in 1915 until the end around 1952, together with words like "arrived" and "landed". Only one actual confession about the origin: "Built by a well-known English firm of motor cycle" in July 1924. Frame numbers and design are consistent with Sun Cycle & Fittings Co., up until 1930. Here's a summary of "the language":

1911-09-09 Manufacturers and Importers of Excelsior, Douglas and Waratah Motor Cycles, Massey, Red-Bird and Waratah Bicycles

1915-05-22 Sole Importers of "Douglas" and "Villiers" Motor Cycles

1915-05-22 "Villiers" motor cycles landing this month

1915-08-14 "Waratah-Villiers" We build this machine to suit Australian conditions

1915-08-21 [W A Williams re his trip to England] I managed to secure stocks of Villiers and VTC [presumably VTS] machines

1916-06-24 Agents for Douglas, Excelsior and Waratah Motor Cycles

1916-11-15 Waratah Motor Cycles - All British Made

1921-09-30 Sole Importers of AJS, Cleveland and Villiers-Waratah Motor Cycles

1922-10-03 Agents: Douglas, Big X and Waratah Motor Cycles

1924-07-11 Williams Bros have received a shipment of Waratah motor cycles

1924-07-12 Built by a well-known English firm of motor cycle manufacturers...

1924-11-08 The 1 1/2 h.p. Waratah; a shipment of these wonderful lightweights has just arrived.

1925-03-20 ...last month proved a record one for the sale of British "Waratah" motor cycles...

1925-07-19 Williams Bros Ltd, sole Sydney agents for the British-made motor cycle Waratah...

1925-ish Instruction Book for British Waratah (Villiers) Motor Cycles. Buy a British Waratah

1925-11-01 Waratah - Britain's Best Value Motor Cycle... made from the highest grade materials by British workmanship.

1926-01-15 The British Waratah motor cycle and the lightweight American Excelsior are also interesting features of the cycle display.

1926-01-18 ...from the little Waratah, which is built in Sydney by them, and is of only 147 c.c. capacity...

1926-03-21 The Waratah (Villiers) - Britain's wonder lightweight Motor Cycle

1926-05-15 The All-British Waratah

1926-05-15 The sturdiness of this British lightweight...

1926-11-06 The 3 1/2 hp Waratah... British Built Throughout

1926-11-21 Williams handles the agency for Douglas and Waratah motor cycles

1926-11-21 ...the British Waratah... prices will definitely increase in December, owing to the increased prices in England, effective since the 4th October 1926.

1927-07-23 The British-built Waratah motor cycles, for which Williams, Ltd, are the distributors

1929-01-08 ...a tiny 147cc solo motor cycle, the Waratah, assembled in Sydney from British components

1931-09-03 ...the Villiers Midget engine... will be obtainable in New South Wales in Waratah motor cycles. The first models to arrive are on view at P and R Williams, Ltd.'s showrooms

1933-03-16 This British lightweight, the 1933 1.97 hp Waratah...

1933-03-16 [1933 Waratah range] These British machines...

1935-08-15 An interesting new arrival in Sydney is the new Waratah motor cycle...

1935-08-16 This cycle, which is manufactured in England, has always had a Villiers engine

1935-12-19 Several shipments of Waratah motor cycles, landed since the announcement of new models last September, were sold practically on arrival...

1951-08-01 The British Lightweight by which all others are judged
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on February 18, 2021, 01:24:06 AM
Looks like you have totally demolished any possibility that Waratahs were anything but an import.

Now, about those ACMEs that Bennett & Wood were building up  ??
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 18, 2021, 02:10:00 AM
Aghh... I will have to look into Acme a bit more. But at least IT IS SAID that the Acme was manufactured by Bennett and Wood - that's a start!

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 18, 2021, 03:56:56 AM
Well at least Iíve ridden an Acme.
Maybe we can start by killing the old furphy that the coming of the BSA Bantam ďkilledĒ the Acme. Not so. Villiers stopped making the 9D Engine Acme used at the same time BSA announced the Bantam. That is what stopped the Acme as we know it.  Regardless of the Bantam the 9D powered Acme was finished. No power unit, no Acme. Not without a complete redesign to suit the next generation of Villiers engines anyway.
Next, Iím sure Iíve come across a history of Bennet & Wood somewhere that had pictures of the Acme being built up from imported lugs and componentry. It was the usual cottage industry stuff as done by two men and a dog.
There was always weird and wonderful stuff going on depending on the import regulations plus general duties and tariffs applicable at the time. I suspect the Acme was more aimed at avoiding these add on costs than any great idea of building anĒAustralianĒ motorcycle.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 18, 2021, 04:39:26 AM
That's an interesting story about the end of the 9D and the Acme. I'd love to see photos of them being made: I've had a look and the newspapers don't have too much to say about the actual manufacture, other than to say, loud and clear, that it was made in Australia by Bennett and Wood. Perhaps the attached article sums it up best: not entirely Australian made, but not a bad effort.

Do we know who made the components? Forks most obviously.

Cheers

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: john.k on February 18, 2021, 06:22:36 AM
I think youll find that whole piece was made up as a "block" by B&W,and supplied to the paper along with a couple of quid for the editor.....I was supposed to start an apprenticeship with a company that made up these advertizing/news items for papers and magazines ...all arc lights and strong acids....the blocks were photo engraved on zinc plate,and the block and a proof delivered to the customer.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: john.k on February 18, 2021, 07:24:32 AM
B&W was a big business ,and I suspect too much Sydney real estate......they fell victim to asset strippers after the 1980s recession,like so many old companies with  city properties  .....LNC took them over in 1984.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 18, 2021, 08:05:52 AM
Oh you cynic!! :)

These puff pieces were a feature of Australian motoring journalism from the turn of the century when Harry James wrote copy for the Dunlop Co. that was published in country papers right across the country. My favourite Acme one contains the line: "The "Acme" is a lightweight machine and lacks that customary "open daylight appearance", having a large streamline tank..." Once you've seen such deft turn of phrase in six different papers you get the feeling it is not coincidence!

But, then as now, the story is usually not a massive lie: big firms don't consistently advertise their machines as "made in Australia" if there is not some reasonable amount of assembly and paint. Either side of WW2 is a funny era and I'm not sure how it worked then, but I'm sure there would be at least some "kit" element to the Acme.

In the veteran days the stories I like best are those where the local cycle works invites the locals to "come and see our motorcycles being built". It's a fair bet that there were motorcycles being made!!!

Re Acme forks: I notice the pre-war and post-war versions are quite different. Presumably the whole fork would have been made in the UK.

Cheers

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: john.k on February 18, 2021, 12:59:56 PM
B&W wasnt cottage industry......they had a large cycle factory in Redfern?,and I d think it quite likely the bike was made there......Seems they also made a moped with a 50cc motor as well.......Australia wasnt always the crap hole it is now with everything made in China ,and half the population on some kind of disability pension.















Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 18, 2021, 11:41:27 PM
Yes B&W were one of the bigger, older firms, going back to veteran days as Bennett, Wood, Roche, Ltd. Before the Acme they marketed the B&W Wasp and Hornet, which (I think!) were something imported and rebadged. I haven't come across an Acme autocycle, so do tell. If it's postwar, technically I don't have to be interested!!

I assume experience with the Wasp and Hornet informed the Acme: perhaps the Acme was a locally-assembled development. The Wasp used the same pressed fork as the pre-war Acme.

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 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.



Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R 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.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan 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
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 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?


 
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: john.k 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.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan 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
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan 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
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 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?     
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan 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
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan 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
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 23, 2021, 06:01:36 AM
The B&W Wasp (125cc) and Hornet (148cc). c1938 I think?

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 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   


Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan 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
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan 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
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 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.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 24, 2021, 02:21:44 AM
Excellent. That one was easy.

Just back to the Acme fork, if I may. Here are the pre-war and post-war forks. Sackville and Webb (?), respectively?

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 24, 2021, 03:37:38 AM
That is correct Leon, got it in one.

Also note the different Villiers headlights. Flat back prewar, bullet shape postwar. Tracking the various Villiers headlights over the decades is yet another world of mystery. Plus what people illustrated in their catalogues and what they admitted to in the written specifications adds a further layer of fun. Different toolbox pre and post war as well.

Back to the B&W/Wolf tie up. My 1936 Wolf catalogue shows their first Unit model but is quite different and obviously not the B&W Wasp. My 1937 catalogue doesn't have the Unit model at all. The 1938 catalogue has the Unit back again and is as per the B&W Wasp. I don't know if my 1937 catalogue is incomplete or Wolf didn't do a "Unit" for 1937.  Can you throw any light on this?

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on February 24, 2021, 04:20:44 AM
Any chance of a scan or pic of this Wolf beastie.
Not often seen in the wild ...
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on February 24, 2021, 04:25:46 AM
Perhaps I'll eat those words.
The world is littered with them

https://cybermotorcycle.com/gallery/wolf/images/Wolf-1932.jpg
https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/hBgAAOSw56Re3mcY/s-l1600.jpg
https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/aGcAAOSwyQtV7ZD~/s-l500.jpg
https://www.picclickimg.com/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/z/TbQAAOSwGmddfhsA/$/WOLF-Motorcycles-Range-98cc-250cc-_57.jpg
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 24, 2021, 04:41:36 AM
Also note the different Villiers headlights. Flat back prewar, bullet shape postwar. Tracking the various Villiers headlights over the decades is yet another world of mystery.

So if there was a period photo of an Acme with the pre-war muffler, toolbox and fork but a bullet headlamp? :)

My Wolf photos are said to be from the 1937 catalogue, from http://www.historywebsite.co.uk/Museum/Transport/Motorcycles/Wearwell2.htm . One of my favourite websites.

So Bennett and Wood looks OK: Wasp and Hornet from March 1937 through 1938 as rebadged Wolfs, followed by Acme from March 1939 "built" by Bennett and Wood. I don't mind too much "couldn't compete with the BSA Bantam" as a reason to cease production in 1949, but the end of the 9D the same years is also worthy of note.

Utility is not bad, if a bit confusing. Are there surviving photos or perhaps a catalogue? I don't have any real evidence supporting the "rebadged Montgomery" story, but it's certainly plausible.

Cottman Colt is probably ok, as rebadged Model A Royal Enfield, but I can see anything prior to 1939, which is the year RE went to a vertical engine and single-down-tube frame. A surviving CC has the 1939 RE frame, a 1939 RE engine number, but (confusingly) an earlier cylinder with the central exhaust, as used with the twin-down-tube frames. The CC brochure shows the 1939-on RE layout with the exhaust on the RHS. The surviving CC had strange all-encompassing engine plates - not sure if these were an RE feature, but they don't look right.

Waratah is ok.

Simplex was Turner Bros effort c1936 - they were in all sizes 125, 148, 196, 250 - and were imported, but without an illustration I can't say more. Interestingly Turner Bros were at 291 Elizabeth St in 1936, a building owned by W. T. Cottman, who was the Singer car distributor at the time. In 1940 Turner Bros vacated 291 - they had the building next door at 295 - and Cottman moved in to 291, so it bacame home of Triumph, Indian, and the Cottman Colt!

These 1930s efforts in badge engineering are not particularly important, but it's nice to get the record straight. As for whether imported bikes with Australian names should appear in a book on Australian motorcycles, I'm relaxed. If you came across a "Cottman Colt" or a B&W Hornet or a Utility JAP you won't find mention in a UK book!

Cheers

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: Mark M on February 24, 2021, 10:35:40 AM
I asked Graham Scarth Chairman of the Royal Enfield Owners Club in GB about these Cottmans as I have a passing interest in late 30s Enfields.
He said: I found the discussion started by "Murdo" on the classicmotorcyclesforum site
where he eventually gives a frame number of 10094. This is seven below the
start of our records in 1937 so would be a duplex front down tube frame (no
photos posted) if it was a Model A or possibly a Model T.
Also found photos of a Colt undergoing restoration and it is definitely a
rebadged Model A of the 1939 on type with vertical engine and all welded
frame shared with the Model D and S / SF with separate oil tank.
I could just see an A prefix number on front of crankcases but not clear
enough to read the digits. The frame has an extra triangulating tube added
just behind the steering head gusset plates, not present on other RE frames
for these models that I have photos of.
I hope this helps.
REgards, Mark
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 24, 2021, 11:36:07 AM
Thanks Mark.

Murdo's 1937-ish frame is presumably real RE.

The photos of the Cottman Colt under restoration are here: https://historicvintagerestorations.com/portfolio/cottman-colt-225cc-1936-motorcycle/

In one of the photos I get A6554 for the engine number, which is I think 1939. The gusset  that Graham mentions must surely be an Aussie repair from the 1940s - surely the RE factory would never do anything that agricultural! Nice to confirm that the Cottman is just a rebadged Model A. As I noted above, the restored CC has the central-exhaust cylinder, but not sure if that is original as even the CC brochure shows the 1939 right-hand exhaust.

Cheers

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 24, 2021, 01:12:01 PM
Do you know the exact date or history of that Acme ďperiodĒ photo Leon? Is it factory fresh or one that has been on the road for a while and possibly had a slight headlamp dingle. There just isnít enough information available to make any practical comment.

As for the frame gusset on the Colt that is about par for the course for British Lightweights of the period. It show's a typical frame breakage repair. Two of my Excelsior have the same repair. Personally I think it arises from a combination of not being able to grease the front forks effectively and unsealed Australian secondary roads of the day. They were rough. Stiff forks transferred much of the battering to the main frame loop which lozenges causing the top tube to break. The repair invariably includes a strengthening gusset.

My further response includes replacing all grease nipples with modern zerk type so I can use a decent grease gun and really get grease into the forks. It makes a real difference. As you can gather I detest those el cheapo straight nipples factories always fitted and what I think about those nasty brass Pom-Pom grease guns is unrepeatable.

I suppose it all depends on whether you want to have a stock catalogue show bike or a riding bike. Lightweight two-strokes are too much fun to just have them as show ponies.

Cheers,

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 24, 2021, 09:17:31 PM
Do you know the exact date or history of that Acme ďperiodĒ photo Leon?

Unfortunately no, but it came from something to do with the postal service, and given a female rider I'd guess wartime. The bike looks pretty new.

Searching, I came up with another Acme photo from April 1940, clear enough to show the bullet headlamp rather than the "tobacco tin" version shown in all the 1939 photos. So I guess it was available from 1940? Were the headlamps specific to Villiers?

Cheers

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 25, 2021, 05:03:22 AM
They were a common Villiers headlamp but sometimes you find Miller stuff entangled in there. Sometimes marked Miller and sometimes with the VEC badge on them. I have no idea what the connection was.

I've just spent a few minutes measuring both the flat back and bullet shape types to find they are identical in all ways except for the "bullet" shape extension on the rear. The internal parking battery bracket across the back is in exactly the same place in both. All the extended bullet end does is give a little more internal space behind the battery mount. I suppose that may allow re routing of the wiring to give slightly better access to the parking battery. It's a pain to get in and out so most owners I know have tried it once to see what it's like then gave the whole nonsense a miss. I put the parking battery thing down to just one more of those mysterious English rituals that mean nothing elsewhere.

As far as when the bullet type headlamp was introduced it may very well be they were just on the verge of use when WWII started as shown by the Acme ad. Some made it on to bikes but mostly they didn't and had to wait until peacetime came around again. Its just a general rule of thumb that flat back are pre war and bullet type are postwar. Possibly they may have been ready for general release on 1940 ranges. I don't think we'll ever know.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: Mark M on February 25, 2021, 05:04:31 PM
The parking battery thing was a GB law requiring parked vehicles to exhibit a sidelight at night on the traffic side of the vehicle. When this came in and when it was lifted I can't say. Many drivers of cars had small weatherproof bulb holders connected to a battery pack which could be clipped over the wound up windows to satisfy this requirement. I just checked the RAC website and it says this is still in force but applies to roads with a greater than 30mph speed limit and only to vehicles actually on the road. GB Construction and Use regulations require that the pilot light works when stationary and the engine is off for the same reason.
REgards, Mark
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: Rex on February 25, 2021, 05:56:08 PM
Given the amount of battery-less small bikes on the road it must have been largely ignored even then.
I remember as a kid in the 1960s there were still cars parked in my parents road at night with either those little red and clear lights clipped on the driver's window or those road works paraffin red lanterns hanging off the door handle.
 A rule consigned to the past by the time I started driving though.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 27, 2021, 06:14:38 AM
Sounds good - I think that with the changes in Acme spec there is at least an idea how to date one in a photo.

Against my better judgement, I also had a look at the "Australian" autocycles, in particular the prewar or early-war versions. Of the makes we've been discussing, I don't see one from Utility or Cottman, but Waratah had the Waratah Junior (first mentioned in public in June 1939), and Acme had the Acme Junior (certainly from mid-1941, although there is a later advert for a 1940 model). Both were powered by the 98cc Villiers Junior, and I'd guess both were imported bikes, rebadged. I've not seen an illustration of either, but I'd like to if anyone has one.

Malvern Star certainly had autocycles from 1940, and in all likelihood they built their own cycle parts from the beginning. They had a huge bicycle manufacturing facility (in 1940 they claimed that 4,000,000 Malvern Star spokes were used annually), and could knock up a decent frame. Just postwar, they were particularly proud of the all-welded frame on their autocycle, rather than the usual brazed-up tubes and lugs. Anyway, here are four iterations of the Malvern Star if anyone is interested.

From what I can see, Malvern Star autocycle frame numbers fitted into the general Malvern Star sequence - see https://www.bicycles.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=51805&start=0 . In the 1940s, 1Mxxxx means made in Melbourne in 1941, 8Mxxxx is 1948, 0Mxxxx is 1950, 51Mxxxx is 1951 etc.

Cheers

Leon

 
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 28, 2021, 04:01:00 AM
Somehow I canít get enthusiastic about auto cycles of any nationality. Later mopeds yes, they usually have a bit of style but to my eyes auto cycles have always just been overweight shop delivery bikes. No style at all. I also learnt to ride on my motherís Malvern Star push bike. Bloody great heavy thing it was. Not remembered with fondness.
Any way, the Malvern Stars as shown. The top three are fitted with the later Junior de Luxe (not Junior) introduced around 1940 and made throughout WWII providing economy transport for certain occupations that were on call 24/7. The classic one always quoted is the midwife. Babies do not arrive to schedule.
The bottom photo shows the last style of Malvern Star auto cycle fitted with either a 1F 2 speeder or 2F single speed engine. They appeared in the dying days of the auto cycle. They sold poorly. Their day was over.
Auto cycle sales were directly aimed at cyclists, not motorcyclists so you usually find they even have seperate sales catalogues and are not shown in the makers motorcycle catalogues.
About the only use I ever found for auto cycles was to give someone a taste of what early veterans were like to ride. High, rickety, with no brakes and underpowered.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on February 28, 2021, 05:51:16 AM
Sorry to inflict pain! So the Villiers Junior (non-deluxe) is the one with the diagonal fins?

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on February 28, 2021, 06:41:32 AM
Yes. Introduced 1934, fixed head, diagonal fins and cast iron piston so the later JDL with alloy head and piston was a great leap forward (but from a very low base).

Essentially I think the introduction of the original 98cc Midget powered speed Great Depression bikes in the early 30's quickly showed there was a viable market for the powered pushbike autocycle type machine. Mainly by non motorcyclists who just wanted a bit more convenience and range than was offered by riding their pushbike. Villiers then stepped in with their 98cc Junior which included a built in single speed transmission and clutch to make operation a lot more convenient.

Silly as it is I confess to being partial about these Great Depression ultra lightweights even if they would find it a battle to get away from an autocycle. They kept factories ticking over which otherwise might have gone to the wall.

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 01, 2021, 12:57:13 AM
Interesting. I'd be pretty confident that we had very few Villiers Junior autocycles out here. In 1937 there is some chatter about them being in use in England, and suggesting there could be a market out here. At there end of January 1940 there were reports about the Villiers Junior de Luxe, with its flat-top piston etc., with reference to "Wilfreds" in use in the UK and specific mention of Raynal. It seems pretty likely that Australian firms - like Waratah and Malvern Star - mostly skipped the Junior and only took up the autocycle with the Junior de Luxe. Of course a few of the earliest Waratahs in June 1939 (presumably Excelsior) might have used the earlier engine. Luckily, it doesn't matter too much!

Cheers

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 02, 2021, 02:49:56 AM
As promised higher up, here are a couple of renderings for the "Utility" tank transfer.

The first is fixed to what looks to be a vintage Sun two-stroke petrol tank. So far as I can see, there were no Utility motorcycles before about 1934 (please correct me if I'm wrong), so perhaps the tank is from a renovated machine sold by Utility Motor Cycle Co. The transfer has a large 6-pointed star, with additional sun rays, and a banner across the front "UTILITY MADE IN ENGLAND".

The second rendering comes from a Finlay Bros catalogue of spare parts from c1950: they offered transfers for a range of machines, mostly British but also Utility and Acme. Presumably this is a later version of the Utility transfer, or perhaps a transfer additional to the large "star" version.

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 02, 2021, 06:45:10 AM
A trick you may like to try, if you still have that tank, is to rub/dab across it gently some strong phosphoric acid.

This brings old paintwork back to life something marvellous, even if only temporarily.
It will need gentle sponging off with water afterwards, or a white bloom may set in.
This is excellent for seeing old fine pinstriping details etc - removing some of the rust effect helps considerably.
But you knew this ....
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on March 02, 2021, 06:48:31 AM
Thanks for that Leon. I can't really see that Sun style Utility transfer on my Montgomery/ Utility. I thnk it would take up the whole tank. The bottom one seems much more likely. I have mixed feelings about the whole Montgomery/Utility thing. It will be good to have a confirmed provenance for the bike one way or the other but honestly, what bragging rights are there in riding a bike called a Utility. It would have to be  the most boring and unimaginative name ever.

I checked the Vic Police List of Machines for Utility years. Only listed 1931-34 then a gap until 1938, 1939, and 1940. Listed as fitted with only J.A.P or Villiers engines.

For our English friends a 1940 Utility would not be unusual. I think we got a hefty proportion of 1940 production. We were your biggest overseas market at that time. Makers seemed quite keen to get their bikes out here before getting them requisitioned in the home market. I suspect the export market was more profitable than a home requisition. For something that is supposed to be quite rare, in my motorcycling life I've owned a 1940 VB Ariel, a 1940 Model 2A AJS and currently have a 1940 Excelsior. I also know of another 1940 AJS, a 1940 Matchless and a 1940 Triumph Speed Twin, all local here in Victoria. So not that uncommon.

On other things, would the Finlay Bros catalogue include a sample 'Simplex' transfer?

Cheers,
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: Rex on March 02, 2021, 09:15:03 AM
Given the rush to change to a war economy and the need to produce war materiel I doubt any of those bikes are really "1940" but are the last of the 1939-produced bikes.
Apparently the factories' new model year was around August time so if they were made in Aug 39 (and there couldn't have been many of them) they would class as 1940 models, but the chances of Civvie bikes being produced in 1940 and exported Down Under are slim to none.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on March 02, 2021, 11:53:11 AM
Thatís always been the case Rex. The model year has never had any relationship to the calendar year so roughly the initial 20% of production of any model year was made in October, November and December of the year before.
So, they were examples of the 1940 range and numbered and sold by the factory as such even if made late 1939. Just as happened every year.

Remember our seasons are the reverse of yours. These bikes would be getting out here for the start of our summer riding season. Theoretically spring brings out the buyers but how true that is I donít know.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: Rex on March 02, 2021, 06:07:54 PM
Indeed, but I'm struggling with the concepts of a) the UK government letting bikes be exported after the start of the war (August), and b) valuable shipping space being used for commercial items like bikes for general sale in Oz, plus the obvious danger in losing the ship itself on the way there.
A certain well-known bike journo hack claimed some time back that his Sunbeam was an obscure model made only in the 1939-40 (the strange looking model with the over-large timing case) until someone corrected him by saying that the only thing being made in the Sunbeam factory at that time was aircraft avionics and gun sights.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 02, 2021, 09:10:49 PM
I don't understand it fully, but as 33d6 says we certainly had 1940 models of most British bikes out here. I guess they were built early in the new model year - say August/September 1939 - and the foreign capital available from their sale was needed for the war effort. I like the attached advert, for 1940 model Panther and James, from 24 January 1940. The bikes are described as "just landed" so were likely shipped in December 1939. The heading "You Positively Can Buy Genuine 1940 Model Panther and James" suggests that the population probably found it hard to believe at the time.

By February 1940 things seem to have dried up. Only places like Queensland were announcing "new shipment", and these were probably shipments from distributors in Melbourne or Sydney.

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 02, 2021, 09:49:53 PM
Thats if Oz wasn't receiving left over 1939 models being peddled as "1940" models ??

War was declared the 3rd Sept, so they wouldn't have had much time to build many new seasons models ?
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 02, 2021, 09:58:28 PM
I don't think so, for a couple of reasons. The buying public were as smart then as they are now, and (mostly) companies didn't tell large lies in their advertisement.

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 03, 2021, 04:52:32 AM
But back to Utility - the bike with the inspiring name.

R: I don't own the tank with the Utility transfer - in fact i can't even remember where the photo came from! Funny that it's a vintage tank with a (seemingly) later transfer.

33d6: The Utility timeline laid out higher up has no Utility motorcycles prior to 1934, so can you say more about how the police records are generated? Did the police say in 1931 that Utility motorcycles existed, or was it asserted retrospectively? Perhaps the rego records could play a part here, if we could find out when the first Utility was registered.

I've searched back through old Exhaust Notes (magazine of the VMCC of Victoria) and come up with a couple of photos of Fred Delphine's Utility, from the February 1985 issue. Date? Is it obviously Montgomery?

Cheers

Leon

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on March 03, 2021, 07:40:38 AM
I can't help further with the Utility information Leon. Essentially, in pre computer days, as vehicle registration was a police matter all Victorian Police stations outside the metropolitan area were issued with a very large book listing all types of vehicles, car, truck, tractor, motorcycle, road sweeper and so on that were required to be registered for road use in Victoria. This monster book gave the basic identification details for every make and model put on the road here. As anyone could bring any vehicle into any police station to get it registered the policeman on duty had to have some idea as to whether the vehicle presented was genuine or not. This book gave him the information he needed to know. If what you presented didn't fit the book you had to explain why not and prove your case.
I don't know what degree of accuracy the police aimed for but they certainly treated it as their Bible. If it wasn't in there or the details didn't fit you needed a very good story.
Regardless of the above I'm sure there must have been some errors. There was bound to be but to what extent I don't know.

Those photos of the Utility transfer are just what I wanted, definitely in period with my machine. I have no knowledge of the Delphine machine. I can't remember it at all.

Cheers,
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: murdo on March 03, 2021, 07:51:29 PM
The photos of the Fred Delphine Utility above show the exact wheels and forks that are hanging in my shed that came from the Royal Enfield model A that I found in a tip a few years ago.
There is also a Waratah in the Nabiac Museum but I don't have a picture of it and am unable to get there to get one until I heal up a bit.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 03, 2021, 11:03:09 PM
I don't know what degree of accuracy the police aimed for but they certainly treated it as their Bible.

That book would have had needed more entries in it than Tragatsch's "Encyclopedia of Motorcycles" ?
What did other states do ??

I'll quote a more recent (counter) example of that.

During the Y2K computer saga (remember that) someone here took their Matchless down to be registered,
the first time in quite some years.  On his return, we asked how it went.
"They said the computer didn't know about a Matchless, so it was registered as a Yamaha".
And he had the rego papers to prove it   !!!!!
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on March 04, 2021, 12:24:49 AM
You're right R, it's a big book of 363 pages rather larger than A4 and printed small in 9 point size type. The cover also advises it is only Volume 1 up to 1956. I don't know if they ever did another volume.  The police sold a huge lot of Vol 1 off back in the 1980's or so. Can't remember exactly when as local swap meets were flooded with them for years and very few people were interested at the time. I kept looking at them for a couple of years before I bought my copy. Slightly different nowadays.

Obviously all this sort of printed stuff came to a halt with computerisation and then the internet.

I don't know what other States did. The sheer size of Australia meant the States initially had little to do with each other and devised their own systems and procedures for dealing with motor vehicles. We're still working at standardising road rules and regulations across the country and any proposed change regularly brings out State rivalries and paranoia.

As far as the Utility wheels and forks go, the front forks look like common proprietary pressed steel Webb to me. I don't know if Royal Enfiels bought them in or not. I would suspect it would be a straight commercial decision. What would be the cheaper option? Buy in or make our own? The wheels are a different proposition. Royal Enfield made and sold their wheels to others and were known as a quality product. Montgomery/Utility would certainly have bought their wheels in. Did they buy Royal Enfield or something else? You'd need to inspect each wheel very closely for the manufacturers identifying marks to find out.

 
   
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: john.k on March 04, 2021, 12:27:44 AM
In Sept 1939 ,all motorcycle exports were banned as well as civillian production ,however in October 1939, exports to the Commonwealth and Empire were authorized,with a total ban on exports to Europe,even though demand was high.In March 1940 ,the Board of Trade released stocks of steel ,aluminium and rubber,for the manufacture of 30,000 motorcycles for export...so its likely any further production was 1940 models,until the new 1945 or 1946 models came out. .....Jones Panther Book
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 04, 2021, 09:00:10 AM
That's an interesting snippet about early WW2 bikes, John, and fits in well with what we saw in Australia in 1940.

I found one image of a 1939 250cc Montgomery JAP, and in all ways (including the unusual frame detail abound the seat tube) it looks identical to the Delphine Utility JAP. So the story that Utilty JAPs were rebadged Montgomery JAPs has some legs. Not sure about the two strokes as I've never seen a photo, illustration or description of one.

Leon

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 13, 2021, 07:28:12 AM
Have we covered Malvern Star yet ?

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/45/52/4f/45524fd3d9af8a916f4e7b2be2afe15b.jpg

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 13, 2021, 07:43:32 AM
We have, somewhere up there! :)

http://classicmotorcycleforum.com/index.php?topic=6172.msg30186#msg30186

I'd go for a ride on the one in your photo! Hope I haven't caught something.

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 13, 2021, 08:47:12 AM
Well covered, in fact. I must have blinked.

I'd BUY the one in that pic if it was close by and not $$$.
Probably a vain hope these days.

Whats the difference between the ones with the stubby little tank,
and the big long tank ?
Was it just fashion, or was there some reason for the change.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on March 13, 2021, 09:30:08 AM
My auto cycle riding mileage is limited. Very much by choice I might add. The best I can say is that it is an excellent introduction to riding early veterans. High, rickety and zilch power. They might have been fractionally better when brand new but everything is so spindly that the slightest amount of wear makes them rather sloppy.
I can never quite understand the enthusiasm for restoring them as there are next to no events to ride them in. Thereís a few in the Uk but thatís about it.
What can you do with them?
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: Rex on March 13, 2021, 10:12:12 AM
A query you could ask about many of the smaller/older bikes though. Unless there's a run specifically for such bikes and you can trailer it there, it's more ornament than use.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 13, 2021, 10:02:05 PM
Aha. This is out of this months Old Bike magazine - a  Veterans & Tiddlers Run. Think it was near Melbourne somewhere ?
Man on Malvern Star enjoying hisself ...

(https://i.postimg.cc/50L0HFG8/Malvern-Star.jpg)

Locally here there is a blue smoke rally.
Aimed more at small capacities, rather then Suzi waterbottles.

I was in the UK a while back, and at the Classic Races at lunchtime a whole gaggle of mopeds and tiddlers
appeared on the track and did laps. Something to keep an eye on in the pause in racing.
Looked like they were enjoying themselves too.


Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on March 14, 2021, 03:00:43 AM
Itís one of the last Malvern Stars having a 2 speed Villiers 1F engine as used in the likes of the James Comet. Itís moved on from the original single speed Junior De Luxe autocycle but was no match for the incoming 50cc European moped such as the NSU Quickly.
The 50cc mopeds took over the various taxation and licensing concessions many countries offered leaving the older 100cc  autocycles and such like out in the cold. The market had moved on.
Even in a veterans and toddlers run autocycles are at a severe disadvantage.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 14, 2021, 03:44:51 AM
Even in a veterans and toddlers run autocycles are at a severe disadvantage.

They can still duel amongst themselves.
And probably not even break the speed limit. !!

I'd have one just for quick shopping errands. ?
Be in and out before the tintop masses have even found a carpark...
Wonder what the rego fee/insurance is like ?
Electric bicycles may be grabbing some of that niche ?
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on March 14, 2021, 07:19:55 AM
Shopping errands were what they were built for and yes, the electric bicycle fits exactly the same niche but with no on road rego costs. Rego/insurance varies from State to State. Way, way back Victorian rego was very kind to under 100cc machines but that's been gone for a long time. It was certainly gone when I had my first A100 Suzuki back in the 70's.

My own yen is for one of the original Great Depression machines fitted with the first 98cc Villiers Midget and two speed box. Only faintly better than an autocycle but a proper motorcycle with a good story behind it. Have the engine, all I need is the rest..
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 14, 2021, 11:44:49 PM

My own yen is for one of the original Great Depression machines fitted with the first 98cc Villiers Midget and two speed box.
Only faintly better than an autocycle but a proper motorcycle with a good story behind it. Have the engine, all I need is the rest..

Can we find a picture of that, not sure that I've met one, or ever seen one.
And pics seem a little tough to come by.

Meanwhile, I've seen a moped for sale, an EasyRider no less.
A little slice of (more recent) history ?
https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/RYIAAOSwDQVgQho2/s-l1600.jpg (https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/RYIAAOSwDQVgQho2/s-l1600.jpg)
Even if all NVT connections seem to have been removed
What goes around comes around ...
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 14, 2021, 11:53:10 PM
This is said to be 1939.?  Are we getting close.
Lets see if this will link
https://cybermotorcycle.com/gallery/rex-se/images/Rex-1939-Midget-Sport-DMu.jpg (https://cybermotorcycle.com/gallery/rex-se/images/Rex-1939-Midget-Sport-DMu.jpg)
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 15, 2021, 12:37:58 AM
The Excelsior version was advertised as the cheapest motorcycle available on release here in mid 1931; and it probably was. I'm assuming the Waratah Midget, advertised from September 1931, was a rebadged version of the Excelsior, but I've not seen a period illustration or a survivor to verify this.

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 15, 2021, 12:50:26 AM
Whats the difference between the ones with the stubby little tank,
and the big long tank? Was it just fashion, or was there some reason for the change.

I don't know. The stubby little tank with the flat top seemed to be fitted to most of the original wave of machines (James, Raynal, Excelsior...) in 1937, while the long tank that completely fills the frame was very popular with the Junior Deluxe models from 1939, and the little tank with the point at the top was the fashion postwar. I wonder if the tanks were supplied with the engine unit as part of the "kit"?

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 15, 2021, 02:18:43 AM
This, said to be a 1931 98cc Excelsior was shown as sold recently.

https://uploads.carandclassic.co.uk/uploads/cars/excelsior/11465102.jpg (https://uploads.carandclassic.co.uk/uploads/cars/excelsior/11465102.jpg)

Not a bad likeness for your Excelsior advert pic ?

Peculiar that the Waratah version is so hard to find.
Depression era low sales numbers and all that ?
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 15, 2021, 05:32:42 AM
That's a bit shinier than the original in 1939! Pity the radius of the front guard is way too big for the wheel.

There might be a surviving Waratah Midget, but unless it survived with its original paint how would you know it was not an Excelsior?! As pretty cheap things in the early 1930s, I guess many would have survived through WW2, but after that... very scrapable!

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on March 16, 2021, 12:19:00 AM
Well it's nice you seem to understand why I find these Great Depression Midgets more interesting than autocycles. They are motorcycles, even if rather feeble ones, not powered bicycles.
Several factories made them, Coventry Eagle, Dot, Excelsior, Gloria, (Triumph pseudonym), Sun and Wolf and all got through the depression years if not the war that followed.  Survival rate is better than you think and the spares situation is better than most. About the only engine parts not available off the shelf are the plain bronze bush main bearings. The Albion 2 speed box is much the same with the only ball race in the box being a common metric size number 6204.

I believe the trick is restore them realistically. To the standard they came from the factory. These were the cheapest motorcycles the trade ever built. To my mind that carandclassic Excelsior is wildly over restored. I find that level of restoration misses the point. Charterhouse Auctions had a far closer to original interpretation of the same Model 0 Excelsior for sale last year. Lot 238 in their August sale last year. I don't know if you can still access it on line.

Mostly these Midget powered bikes were offered in the 1931-35 period. Villiers introduced their 123cc 8/9D 3 speed  unit construction engine in 1936 at much the same price as the Midget/ Albion gearbox combo and more or less swept the Midget powered bike away overnight. Midget engines still sold well in other areas. For example, most that turn up today are ex-lawnmower. 

Researching these little beastie was part of my Covid 19 lockdown entertainment. I was surprised at how much I turned up and how many survivors there are. They have survived just as well as any other bike of their times. 



Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 17, 2021, 12:16:54 AM
I think we'll have to find you the remains of a Waratah Midget!!
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 17, 2021, 03:56:24 AM
Just bolt it into one of these kit 'boardtracker' motorcycles. ?
A quick coat of colour if you don't like non-indian red ...

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/b6AAAOSwRJ1gHeAK/s-l1600.jpg
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 17, 2021, 03:58:56 AM
Wash my mouth out with soap ...
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on March 17, 2021, 07:07:58 AM
Fitting the 2 speed box is the tricky bit.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 17, 2021, 09:15:22 AM
Would it bolt in a Bantam frame.
There's that mouth again.

I keep coming back to this ...
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4a/New_Hudson_98cc_Autocycle_-_Flickr_-_mick_-_Lumix.jpg

Utterly impractical I know, and someone has spent lots on this one too.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on March 17, 2021, 12:38:48 PM
New Hudson. The BSA equivalent of the Gloria. What was it about BSA and Triumph that they wouldnít sell a Villiers powered machine under their own name. I suppose it was because neither ever managed to build a successful two-stroke of their own but had to use the designs of others.

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: Rex on March 17, 2021, 04:34:05 PM
More like two-strokes were always seen as the poor relation, and fit only for the district nurse to run about on.
Don't taint the gene-pool, and all that.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 17, 2021, 09:27:50 PM
Maybe.

But BSA sold a heck of a lot of Bantams.
And at some point in the 1950s, Villiers were celebrating their 2 millionth engine.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: Rex on March 18, 2021, 09:08:04 AM
But Bantams were in the 1950s and later, so  obviously the marketing thinking changed post-war.
Given the vast industrial conglomerate that BSA was, I doubt that any marketable niches were left unexplored.
They even produced Lee Enfield rifles on licence, much to the surprise of an American gun enthusiast on YouTube who said he always thought they were made by Royal Enfield in Enfield. ;D
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 19, 2021, 11:42:17 AM
I came across photos of two different Utility JAP motorcycles, both said to be c1938, in Mike Kingwell's book "Touring and Sporting Motorcycles in Australia 1910-1966". Both photos were taken in the Geelong area. "Full size" front forks, so are they both 500s? Rebadged Montgomery?

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on March 20, 2021, 03:27:20 AM
Difficult to tell, Leon. Montgomery seemd to change the specification at the drop of a hat.I suspect it was a case of fit whatever they could get for a good price. Certainly by the late thirties they were fitting pressed steel forks and tube type girders to both their 250 and 350 models. The standard model of both got pressed steel and the de luxe model tube type. The 500 seemed to get tube type on both standard and de luxe. So those bikes could be of any capacity but I assume either 350 or 500. They seem a little too hefty for a 250.
Then again they used some components across the range. For example the rear wheel mounted in the same fork lug on everything throughout the range. It does look a little overdone on my little beast. Not only that the lug had a protrusion each side for the chain adjuster. They just bashed the unwanted protrusion off to majke it either a left hand or right hand lug. They did not clean off the remains.
In close up the Montgomery is not elegant!!
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 20, 2021, 11:35:44 PM
So where would these Enfield pressed steel girders fit into the scheme of things.
Enfield like to make everything themselves (mostly) would they have bought them in ?
They are 25" c-to-c  or 27" tip to toe, so heavyweight.
Like the Montgomery, fitted to the std models, the Deluxe got tubular steel girders.

https://i.postimg.cc/1zZzMm10/Enfield-pressed-steel.jpg (https://i.postimg.cc/1zZzMm10/Enfield-pressed-steel.jpg)
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 21, 2021, 12:20:53 AM
What year are these R? They are a bit different (holes, top headlamp bracket...) to the 1938/39 fork used on the Cottman Colt.

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 21, 2021, 12:45:00 AM
They came with, but not attached to, a Model J project.
The (Deluxe) tubular fork has identical dimensions.

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2gUtKGsThNA/VsS5sbDBpNI/AAAAAAAAsPA/j4IGd53zRlY/s1600/Royal-Enfield-1937-Sport-J-499cc.jpg (https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2gUtKGsThNA/VsS5sbDBpNI/AAAAAAAAsPA/j4IGd53zRlY/s1600/Royal-Enfield-1937-Sport-J-499cc.jpg)

The Std and Deluxe varieties of most models appeared in the mid/late 1930s.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 21, 2021, 08:45:30 AM
Interesting. I'm not sure if Enfield made the forks, but I suppose they had the capability. The Cycar from the early 1930s used a pressed-steel frame and fork, so if they made that they had some decent presses. Motorcycle-wise, they probably pressed Enfield brake drums and hub flanges?

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 30, 2021, 11:54:17 PM
There may be no end to the number of Australian-assembled autocycles using the Villiers Junior de Luxe unit, c1940.

Here's the Barb entry, built by Finlay Bros in Melbourne. One of the lower-end models, with rigid fork and looking very bicycle-like. Finlay produced a huge number of Barb bicycles over the years.

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 31, 2021, 12:19:30 AM
With a passing resemblance to a New Hudson, perchance ?

https://uploads.carandclassic.co.uk/uploads/cars/new_hudson/11128735.jpg

But then they all looked the same !
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: R on March 31, 2021, 01:22:05 AM
Or a FB

(https://live.staticflickr.com/4121/4800811687_f6e4db22c0_w.jpg)

With engine covers, we note.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 31, 2021, 02:50:22 AM
It certainly could have been bought in, but I'm going to pretend that Finlay Bros made it!! They knew a bit about making bicycles since James Finlay started building bicycles in 1869 - the year that 'The Barb' won the Sydney Cup for the second year in a row. Probably based on a Barb tradesman's bicycle. Finlay Bros had the agency for Villiers engines, so no problem sourcing the engines.

Leon

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on March 31, 2021, 04:01:43 AM
Surprise, surprise, that Francis Barnett does actually have ďsprungĒ forks. There is a block of rubber at the bottom of the head stem which I assume gave some degree of  fork movement as you bounced through the bomb craters.
Those original blocks of rubber have long since gone to God. They have either collapsed or gone rock hard so few current riders have any idea of their effectiveness. I have no idea whether replacements are available and even if they were who would know if they properly reflect the original action.
Not that I have the remotest interest in finding out. Past expeditions on my mates New Hudson have completely cured me of any desire to own an autocycle.

On other matters I am still awaiting an answer on the Montgomery/ Utility question from the AOMC. They do warn it can take some time. Unfortunately Cardan has now added a further question  only the AOMC can answer. What do they have on the Barb?
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 31, 2021, 04:42:38 AM
Unfortunately Cardan has now added a further question  only the AOMC can answer. What do they have on the Barb?

No! No! No! I have that massively-snowed-under feeling, so I'm happy to find out about the Utility question, but I can live with no knowledge at all of the Barb autocycle (other than that it existed).

This is mostly because motorcycles from Finlay/Barb have an interesting story that starts in the early days with BSA/Minervas, running through Barb-GEM motorcycles with the Danish GEM attachment driving the front wheel by friction, through regular machines with Fanfnir and Arno engines up to WW1, then... so the 1940 Barb autocycle is just an addendum.

The number of bikes registered, and the dates of registration are extremely useful to story telling. I've just been working through South Australian records and learning lots. Unfortunately the SA records are corrupted by a flaw that our British friends avoid: when you sold your bike and bought a new one, you could keep your old number. Two huge problems for historians: if the old bike was still alive when sold it could be reregistered, so you get very old bikes appearing with new rego numbers (say a 2 hp clip-on Minerva registered in 1921) AND the new machine never appears.

One of the problems I've been looking at is: When did Bill Smith stop calling his motorcycles Burg and start calling them Favourite? In January 1918 South Australia changed the names of about twenty "German-sounding" towns and locations, so Petersburg (after which the Burg was named) became Peterborough. But during 1918 and 1919 there were a number of Burgs registered, and NO Favourites. The first Favourite registered was in 1920. But Peterborough is a pretty isolated town. What if customers traded in their Burgs with Bill Smith for new Favourites, and kept their old numbers? The Burgs registered in 1918 and 1919 could be all second-hand, and counting Favourites registered, or ruling out 1918 or 1919 build Favourites could be dangerous.

Thanks goodness for the British "rego number for life" scheme. Until the numbers merchants, of course.

Leon

[Edit: I've just had a thought I should have had before. I wonder how new numbers were allocated in the SA system? Let's say Bill Smith in far-off Peterborough has a sparkling new Favourite on the floor of his showroom. A customer comes in on his old Burg and wants the new bike. If he keeps his old number, he can just swap the plates from the old Burg to the new Favourite, maybe fill in a form, and ride off into the sunset. What if he wants a new number? Write to Adelaide, wait for new number to be allocated and posted back to Peterborough? Perhaps there was a big incentive for country motorcyclists to keep their old numbers, particularly if buying from a country manufacturer/dealer?]
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on March 31, 2021, 08:02:57 AM
Ha! You are learning the practicalities of registering your motorcycle in country towns in the so called good old days. Easy peasy now with wham, bam thank you ma'am, computerisation and God Wot but a little bit of forethought needed back then.
The Victorian way was for each country police station to keep a bundle of numberplates on hand ready to issue. No writing to town required, no re-issue of previous numbers allowed. (Note for our UK readers. The authorities want you to display a numberplate? Certain size, certain colour and so forth? Then they better supply'em----and they did.)
In my own case I rode my unregistered ex WD M20 BSA down to the local cop shop, got it registered, a pair of numberplates was given me for later attachment (BK520, strange how you remember these things) and I then took my licence test on it. From unregistered, uninsured with unlicenced rider to all legal on the road in one stop at the local cop shop, no questions asked.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on March 31, 2021, 12:04:08 PM
No bundles of plates here in SA: I have lists of number/name/address from 1906-1914 and number/name/address/bike from 1915 to the late 1920s, and there are no geographical or dealership groupings, so it looks like each number came from a central source, one by one as requested.

The other problem I'm having is weird, one-off machines listed: whatever could a 1 1/2 h.p. Brennetts be in 1919? A new make of Australian-made motorcycle? Pity there is not local Brennetts Cycle Works or similar. Something made up? My favourite is a "Golikel", but who'd make up Brennetts? A typo? Plenty of possibilities if the name was Bennett rather than Brennetts. I can easily spend an hour or two searching old newspapers before deciding I have no idea!! (in the case of the 1 1/2 Brennetts, given the low power it could be a motor attachment or even a motor wheel, and Brennetts could be the make of the bicycle. But given the rego system, it could be a 1906 Brennetts. Aghh...)

Cheers

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on March 31, 2021, 01:39:01 PM
I think we keep forgetting that like the whole automotive industry, no one knew the rego system would grow like crazy as more and more vehicles came on the road.
I think the admin system was often playing catch up as things just grew and grew hence the sometimes messy paperwork. And in the early days clerks were entering stuff they really didnít know much about.
Certainly it was regularly revised and upgraded in trying to keep up but rarely ever got better than the bare minimum needed to operate.
Entertaining isnít it.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: Rex on March 31, 2021, 04:04:37 PM
More appropriately I'm sure those clerks, admin and letter stampers never thought anyone would be arguing 70+ years after their best efforts over whether it was a "4" or an "H" in the ledger or on the frame.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on April 01, 2021, 12:49:27 AM
You're so right Rex.
Anyway, Montgomery/Utiliity update. Had a preliminary phone call this morning with printed confirmation to come.
My 1939 Montgomery is just that and not a Utility. On top of that, there were NO 9D powered 125cc Utility. The 9D powered Montgomery wasn't sold as a Utility. There are none in the AOMC records. The smallest Utility recorded were powered by the 148cc Mk12C, engine prefix GY.
Montgomery did sell bikes powered by this engine in the early thirties but I have limited Montgomery information and don't know exactly what years these were. Nor do I yet know what years these particular Utility are. I only know they exist.
I was also interested to learn that AOMC have roughly some 300 Utility on record.  I don't know whether they were only sold out of their Melbourne shop and this is all of them or whether some were sent interstate for sale elsewhere. Perhaps Leon can tell us if Utility were sold in SA?
So, as usual, getting some answers invariably leads to more questions and we still don't have absolutely concrete information on the Montgomery/ Utility tie up. Known but not proven yer'Onor.
Hopefully though, I have opened the door a crack to the AOMC records.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on April 01, 2021, 04:04:22 AM
Interesting. 300 Utilitys, eh?

I did speculate earlier that the Utility Villiers bikes may have been Excelsior, but I, too, have no real idea! I do know that some Utilities were unbelievably cheap - from 29 pounds 10 s in 1934. A couple of months later, a 250 Utility JAP was 62 pounds. I suppose the very cheap bike was "midget" powered, perhaps a rebadged Excelsior as in the case of Waratah in Sydney?

Some adverts refer to a 148cc Utility, but I've not seen anything explicitly referring to a 125cc.

Were Utilities sold outside of Victoria? I don't think so - there is very little mention of Utilities outside of Victoria. One registered in Tasmania, one for sale in Albury, etc. but seemingly no commercial advertising. There are no surviving SA rego records from the 1930s - lost in a fire.

Of greatest interest to me is the date a Utility motorcycle was first registered. Advertising would suggest around 1934, but it may be that they were being sold without advertising from 1931 when the Utility Motor Cycle Co was formed. Even more interesting would be if there were Utilities registered in the 1920s, in which case the late 1920s Sun tank with the Utility transfer may be more significant.

I'm happy to leave the detailed history to a dedicated Utility historian. I have 540 other makes to worry about too!

Cheers

Leon

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on April 03, 2021, 02:07:51 AM
And C is for Clement JAP, the Sydney equivalent of the Utility?

Sydney Clement's business at 46 Wentworth Ave, Sydney, was Apex Motor Cycle Spares, and up until 1936 that seems to be what he sold. Some pretty interesting ones, for example in May 1936 "J.A.P. brand new genuine Spares. Late model 500c.c. O.H.V., complete Engines, B.S.A., Triumph, Norton, etc." Then he scored agencies for "Red Panther" (think Pride & Clark in the UK) and Levis, and began offering the Clement JAP. He even got as far as appointing agents around the state for the Clement JAP, before the war intervened.

Here's the 1937 Clement: I suspect another rebadged Montgomery? Pity that Montgomery literature from the period is so sparse on the web: perhaps because they were dumping their production in Australia rather than trying to compete at home.

Once again the unusual frame detail around the seat lug. Also, I suspect the "mini megaphone" on the end of the silencer is another Montgomery style point.

I can't find anywhere George Clement claiming to have built the Clement, but equally he didn't sell it (as Williams Bros sold the Waratah) as "British".

Cheers

Leon

Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on April 03, 2021, 02:23:40 AM
Here's an Australian advert for Montgomery from Sept 1934. Many similarities with the hand-change Utility pictured above. http://classicmotorcycleforum.com/index.php?topic=6172.msg30283#msg30283

The advert is from R.A. & F. Findlay Motors in Melbourne, who were linked (somehow) with Findlay & O'Connor, the main selling agents for Utility. http://classicmotorcycleforum.com/index.php?topic=6172.msg30148#msg30148

Also, here's a little pic of a Montgomery Terrier (one of the smaller models) from the 1930s. Note the "mini-megaphone" after the silencer, as seen on the Clement JAP.

I'm pretty sure that Utility in Melbourne and Clement in Sydney were selling rebadged Montgomeries in the late 1930s. I doubt any manufacture was involved.

Cheers

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on April 03, 2021, 07:35:41 AM
Youíve got to watch how Montgomery used Terrier as a model name. They seemed to use it in a generic fashion with anything 350cc and under being a Terrier.
I have a copy of their 1936 catalogue with the top of the range 500cc models being Greyhounds and all else referred to as Terriers. Very confusing.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on April 06, 2021, 02:17:52 AM
Iíve now received the formal reply to my AOMC Montgomery/Utility search. It adds a little more info to the first, informal phone call.
Although now definitely a 1939 Montgomery (1939 is UKVMCC confirmed) its first registration was January 1941. Why so big a gap Iíve no idea. WWII was well underway by then so whether that held up shipping it out or people stopped buying for awhile when war was declared or whatever I donít know. Itís just another piece of the jigsaw. All I know is the date it was registered, what rego number it was issued with for it to then disappear from view until I got the hideous remains a lifetime later. I can track the remains back a few owners so I might try and back track a little further.
I do know what it is, I do have concrete evidence of it entering the Victorian registration bureaucracy so I know it is lifelong Victorian machine.
AOMC also advised they have some 75 or so Montgomery in the engine number records so not a big seller under their own name. I suppose Iíll now have to find out who the local agent was.
All this fora very ordinary little bike. But a bike with a local story which makes it so much more interesting.
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on April 06, 2021, 07:54:39 AM
I suppose Iíll now have to find out who the local agent was.

That's a very interesting question. I have a couple of suggestions but no definite answer.

I assume that the 33d6 Montgomery is a 125 Villiers?

Here in Adelaide (700km north west of Melbourne), E. T. Fisher was still offering new 125cc Montgomerys in late 1940, about the date your bike must have been sold. The attached advert is from 29 Sept 1940. Now E. T. Fisher also had a presence in Elizabeth St, Melbourne... Unfortunately, while selling Montgomerys in 1940 they were also teetering on the edge of insolvency, so there is more written in the papers about bankruptcy than Montgomery sales. They owed the bank over 7000 pounds.

Another possibility is that the bike came in through the "Utility" channel, but since Utility didn't offer the 125 the little bikes were passed on elsewhere for sale. They could have been sold by one of the large houses (think Mayfair Motors) who usually sold secondhand bikes.

300 Utilities vs 75 Montgomerys is a surprising stat. You didn't get an answer to the date of the first registration of a Utility?

Cheers

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on April 06, 2021, 02:02:34 PM
Sorry Leon, youíve now got all I got. Iím just pleased you told us about E.T.Fisher. Were they not Levis agents as well?

As far as further info from the AOMC goes I am will have to tackle them about  general research rather than specific information about my personal machine. I really need a specific research proposal that I can approach them with. What exactly is it that you and Rob are up to?
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: cardan on April 06, 2021, 11:42:28 PM
Just a simple task: a second edition of Rob's 1996 book 'A to Z of Australian-made Motorcycles'.

We've put a few thousand hours into it so far. The 'problem' is that there is more info available now - for example digitised newspapers and collated Victorian registration details - so that even a 'quick' revision of an existing entry can open a can of worms.

Using "Utility" as an example, the first edition says they were sold between 1931 and 1940, yet there is NO Utility motorcycle advertising before 1934, even though Utility Motor-Cycles Pty Ltd was formed in 1931. Thus my interest in the first registration date of a Utility. In the scheme of things it doesn't really matter whether the correct date is 1931 or 1934, but in principle the date can be known, and it would be better to use the correct date...

There are more esoteric Victorian examples. The Clyst was built by A. E. Head of Yarram, country Victoria, c1914, and was written up in the James Flood Book of Motorcycling in Australia in 1982, with a couple of fabulous photos of Dr Rutter's Clyst, powered by a JAP twin, with Truffault fork and Armstrong hub gear. The story (repeated in the 1st edition of A to Z) was that this was the only Clyst, but I know there was at least one other, a 4 hp JAP single built in 1913 offered for re-sale in 1914. How many more were there? Maybe the Victorian records can say how many Clysts were registered? But it doesn't matter too much - "a small number" would be an adequate description for the book.

Or the Cottman Colt. (You can tell I'm doing the "C"s.) The 1st edition says 1935 - 1941, I'd say 1939-1941, the rego records say??? And numbers? An informed observer from the time says "several hundred" but what if the rego record says 40 or 400? If it's a number that could be had at a glance, I'd be interested to know it.

As I mentioned above, the incomplete South Australian rego records are useless for solving the "how many" question. If there were 3 ZZZs listed, you can't say "at least 3" because it may be the same bike registered 3 times with a new number each time. Or if there was only one YYY listed, you can't say "only one" because there could have been 10 others where the new owners kept their old rego numbers to put on their new bike.

Cheers

Leon
Title: Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
Post by: 33d6 on June 18, 2021, 03:44:43 AM
There has been developments.
After much discussion here about the old Victorian rego records now held by the AOMC, (Association Of Motoring Clubs) and accessing them for our research purposes I have just started doing voluntary work with the organisation sorting and checking same cards. It still may not come to anything. The Domestic Manager also has to be happy with the arrangement if it is to be anything practical but I think it'll be ok.
The opening deal is I sort and check for the AOMC and if we are happy with each other I also sort and check the oddball makes that interest me/us.
On my first visir I have learned a lot. Most of which is esoteric stuff of interest only to old obsessives but it's a start.
Watch this space!