Author Topic: Warrior motorcycles made at Great Linford, Buckinghamshire circa 1920s  (Read 273 times)

Offline Johngos

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Hello.

First a confession, I know nothing about motorcycles, so I hope you won't mind my joining to ask a question.

I run a local history website for the village of Great Linford in Buckinghamshire, and have recently discovered that there was a motorcycle manufacturer based in the village in the 1920s.

It traded under the name Warrior Motorcycles, but I can very little about the business, other than a few mentions in newspapers of the time.

I have a piece on my website which mentions the business; look here for the biography of Lewis Uthwatt.

https://www.greatlinfordhistory.co.uk/other-notable-uthwatts-great-linford.html

Might anyone have come across any information on the business? Might there be any photographs out there of a Warrior motorcycle?

Many thanks,

John

Offline R

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Re: Warrior motorcycles made at Great Linford, Buckinghamshire circa 1920s
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2022, 10:18:03 PM »
There is a (small) entry for Warrior motorcycles, no illustration in
"The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Motorcycles" by Erwin Tragatsch.

___________________________________________________
Warrior England 1921-23
Concentrated on one model with the 247cc Villiers engine.
___________________________________________________

Which gives us a rather large clue.
Its a smallish two stroke powered utility/commuter type bike.
As was very popular in the immediate post WW1 era.
Villiers of Wolverhampton supplied (just) the engine, the rest was sourced
 from numerous other suppliers and assembled into a complete bike.

Edit. I think this is the engine in question, a 247cc Villiers would be a larger version.
Whether it went back as far as 1921 maybe our resident Villiers authority can comment.


Finding a suitable pic in a bike of that exact era is not so easy, I'll work on it.



« Last Edit: January 12, 2022, 09:21:44 PM by R »

Offline R

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Re: Warrior motorcycles made at Great Linford, Buckinghamshire circa 1920s
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2022, 10:35:12 PM »
This is more the right era engine and type of bike for our era of interest.
Levis were probably one of the biggest sellers at that time,
so the Warrior would have been directly competing .



Note that belt drive and chain drive and clutches and gearboxes were all in the mix then, at varying levels of cost and sophistication.

Offline cardan

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Re: Warrior motorcycles made at Great Linford, Buckinghamshire circa 1920s
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2022, 03:18:15 AM »
Hi John,

I'm no expert on Warrior, but I have come across them as part of my research into Australian-made motorcycles.

My understanding is that some/all Warriors were built up from the "Spark" motor set, which was offered by the Sparkbrook Mfg Co in Coventry. The "set" was a kit of parts from which a motorcycle could be assembled - lots of small makers in the UK and the colonies used motor sets to "build" their own motorcycles. So, for example, a "Torpedo" motorcycle built by Charles Hay in Launceston Tasmania might be identical to a Warrior from Great Linford in Buckinghamshire if both were assembled from the same "set".

Anyway, in my file for Torpedo I have this photo of a Warrior.

Cheers

Leon

Offline cardan

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Re: Warrior motorcycles made at Great Linford, Buckinghamshire circa 1920s
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2022, 03:49:10 AM »
Warrior motorcycles were available in Sydney, Australia in 1923.

Leon

Offline 33d6

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Re: Warrior motorcycles made at Great Linford, Buckinghamshire circa 1920s
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2022, 04:04:21 AM »
 My turn.

That photo of the Warrior above was published in a booklet, "Vintage Motorcycles Illustrated", published by George Rance in conjunction the English VMCC back in 1970. The caption reads "A 1923 Warrior, 249cc. List price Pounds 33/15/- . A Warrior at one time held the record for London-Edinburgh, 435 miles in 19 hours, 30 minutes, claiming not a single adjustment en route.

Curiously, that same Warrior is a survivor and is listed in the VMCC Register but fitted with a 343cc Model 6B Villiers engine so a little bigger than George Rance thought. I would assume it would be still surviving but who knows where.

The frame number given is B709 but as the engine number is K709 and was stamped on before it left the Villiers factory I suspect Warrior just copied the Villiers number. That would certainly simplify keeping track of both.

Essentially then John, you get the message this type of bike was bought in kit form and usually built up by the local push bike shop with hopes of expanding the business in to motorcycles or possibly into a full blown motor garage selling and servicing the local motors. Was not an uncommon story.   

 

Offline R

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Re: Warrior motorcycles made at Great Linford, Buckinghamshire circa 1920s
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2022, 04:35:46 AM »
Well that was a surprisingly detailed reply in a relatively few moments !
Its a small world ?
Wonder what percentage of Warriors were exported then ?

Also, now, why would the Warrior photo be called as 249cc rather than 247 cc ?
Is this significant in any manner.  Or incorrect somewhere/somehow?

And I'd comment that that Longdown St Newtown address is very modest premises, very modest indeed.
And possibly somehow different a century ago, but not much. ?


Offline 33d6

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Re: Warrior motorcycles made at Great Linford, Buckinghamshire circa 1920s
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2022, 05:03:06 AM »
Easy enough, I've been an overseas member of the VMCC for an awfully long time and happen to have both publications I refer to. The Warrior has always stuck in my mind because of the odd London-Edinburgh claim. It's just one of those offbeat items of trivia that somehow stick in your brain and never go away.

Why the booklet refers to the engine as a 249cc instead of the 343cc as per the Register I don't know but as the Register entry quotes the capacity as 350 plus gives an engine number correct for a 1922-23 343cc Mk 6B Villiers I tend to believe the Register rather than the promotional booklet. 

I can also say I've yet to find any Warrior in the Victorian records (but its early days yet).

Offline cardan

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Re: Warrior motorcycles made at Great Linford, Buckinghamshire circa 1920s
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2022, 06:08:34 AM »
Without thinking too deeply, I would have said that a Warrior survives in Australia, or at least survived into the 1990s when I saw it somewhere, probably at the Bendigo Swap Meet. I half remember it was painted with electric blue, probably from a spray can!

So for years if you'd showed me a "Spark"-kit-bike I would have said "Oh yeah, a Warrior or something..."

Knowing what I know now, a "Warrior" in Australia could be a UK Warrior (see the advert), or a locally-built up machine wrongly identified as a Warrior because of the photo in the book that 33d6 mentions. Back then, pre internet, the photo would be enough to identify the bike positively as a Warrior.

Of course these days the opposite is true: if Spark-set bike was found in Australia it would probably end up being called a Torpedo rather than a Warrior.

I have filed 33d6's frame number thoughts for the next time I see a Spark bike.

Cheers

Leon

Offline R

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Re: Warrior motorcycles made at Great Linford, Buckinghamshire circa 1920s
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2022, 06:53:51 AM »
Someone has online a 1923 Sparkbrook and Spark catalog, inc a list of parts with prices.
DIY, indeed ...

http://www.lathes.co.uk/sparkbrook/index.html

Be interesting to see how the price for a whole bike v's the components would pan out.
And if that gave you enough nuts'n'bolts !

Offline R

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Re: Warrior motorcycles made at Great Linford, Buckinghamshire circa 1920s
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2022, 09:11:15 AM »
There may be more of these about than you may think.
Interesting colour.


Offline Johngos

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Re: Warrior motorcycles made at Great Linford, Buckinghamshire circa 1920s
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2022, 01:31:42 PM »
WOW!!!!

I am bowled over. Thank you so much for all the amazing answers and photos. Simply amazing.

I'll have to update my website now  :)

Regards

John

Offline Mark M

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Re: Warrior motorcycles made at Great Linford, Buckinghamshire circa 1920s
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2022, 02:04:24 PM »
I recommend following the link to the local history group and then reading the biography of Louis Uthwatt further down the page. He was born in Ballarat Australia but came to England where he seems to have started the motorcycle business. The details of his life include some interesting asides about the Warrior including evidence of export activity. A rabbit hole beckons!
Incidentally, I live not far from Linford and know where the Rectory is.
REgards, Mark

Offline cardan

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Re: Warrior motorcycles made at Great Linford, Buckinghamshire circa 1920s
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2022, 06:18:00 AM »
"The British Motorcycle Directory" says Warrior headquarters was in Newport Pagnell, but Google maps puts this only a mile or two from Great Linford, so I guess we're all good. They give 1923-24 as dates.

I had a quick look in the Show issues of The Motor Cycle for 1923 and 1924, but no mention of Warrior there - a very small concern indeed! Perhaps, as R points out, there are more around than we suspect, and maybe the place to look is Australia. I like the lilac one, but we can also do red:

https://nationalmotorcyclemuseum.com.au/gallery/australian/Warrior-PA043.htm

But do keep in mind that a restored Spark-set motorcycle branded "Warrior" may not have been a Warrior from new. It may have started life as a Spark, or a Torpedo (from Tasmania), or possibly some other Australian brand. Frame numbers would be interesting - apparently on the steering head web for a Spark.

Cheers

Leon

Offline R

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Re: Warrior motorcycles made at Great Linford, Buckinghamshire circa 1920s
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2022, 06:32:48 AM »
Perhaps red had faded to lilac !

We wonder if motorcycles that were imported would have been recorded by Customs ?
This may be a source of info - if it could be accessed ?
Gov't Depts rarely throw anything out.

Hmmm, where would one start ?