Author Topic: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history  (Read 4321 times)

Offline R

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #15 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 ?

Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #16 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

Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #17 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

Offline 33d6

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #18 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.


Offline Rex

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #19 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.

Offline R

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #20 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 ?

Offline R

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #21 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
« Last Edit: February 04, 2021, 10:12:52 AM by R »

Offline 33d6

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #22 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.

Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #23 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

Offline 33d6

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #24 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.

Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #25 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
« Last Edit: February 04, 2021, 07:47:19 AM by cardan »

Offline 33d6

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #26 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.

Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #27 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

Offline 33d6

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #28 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.

Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #29 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