Author Topic: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history  (Read 4322 times)

Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #150 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


Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #151 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


Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #152 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

Offline 33d6

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #153 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.

Offline 33d6

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #154 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.

Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #155 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

Offline 33d6

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #156 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?

Offline cardan

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Re: Junkyard Villiers find - Waratah history
« Reply #157 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