Author Topic: 'New Era' mystery bikes  (Read 836 times)

Offline 33d6

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1031
  • Karma: +26/-4
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
'New Era' mystery bikes
« on: November 02, 2022, 06:06:39 AM »
I'm still plodding through the old Vic Registration Records and have come across another lot of mystery Villiers engined beasties. It's the usual story of a batch of Villiers 150cc and 125 cc nonentities all labelled as 'New Era' and all registered in either 1936 or 1937. Very much the bottom of the bottom of the market but as you know this just makes the curiousity bone itch even more.

All I can find on 'New Era' (which was very little) predates the above by at least ten years. I can't even find a hint of a whisper of a rumour about mid 30's Villiers powered 'New Era'. You think the Chell was obscure? It's positively lit up with neon lights compared to this lot.

Does anyone know anything?

Cheers,

Offline R

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1365
  • Karma: +26/-10
    • View Profile
Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2022, 08:09:05 AM »
Does it say where (in Vic) they are registered.
This may give a clue. ?

All we need now is some old Aussie advertising (The Age ?)
with someone splashing out on flogging them ...

A quick glance at Trove showed precisely nothing, however.
I swear that gets harder to search every new search engine ...

Offline 33d6

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1031
  • Karma: +26/-4
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2022, 09:02:44 AM »
Unfortunately not. We have engine number records only. These are very limited. The main records which contained ownership details, names addresses, etc, were pulped and the only reason we got these secondary records was because they contain no social information. We just console ourselves that what we have is better than nothing at all.

Itís like looking at the TV through a keyhole. You can see a certain amount  but itís just enough to let you know what youíre missing.

Cheers,

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1041
  • Karma: +18/-5
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2022, 09:40:31 AM »
No, I know absolutely nothing. Or at least I did when I read the posts above. I've had a look and now I can sound like an expert:

Kershaw, Collins & Co. Pty. Ltd., 326 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, Victoria, advertised in May 1936: "We are agents for New Imperial and New Era Motor Cycles. You can secure a New Era for £5 deposit and 10/ weekly."

I guess if you had New Imperial motorcycles, and wanted something small/two stroke to go along with them, a name like "New Era" would suit. As you say, nothing obvious in the UK.

I'll look further, but please do tell re numbers and power of engines - Villiers presumably?

Leon

Offline Rex

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1461
  • Karma: +11/-68
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2022, 05:35:45 PM »
There were New Era's produced in the UK but that was up until the mid/late 1920s and they were larger four-strokes.
Can't think they were ever big enough to export bikes though.

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1041
  • Karma: +18/-5
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2022, 09:05:22 PM »
I agree Rex - as 33d6 suggests this will be a local rebrand.

I had a look last evening, but didn't come up with too much. Kershaw, Collins & Co. sold mostly secondhand motorcycles, and their venture as "agents for New Imperial and New Era" was very brief, around May 1936. The date is probably significant: the big firm of Turner Bros., just down the street, "landed" their first shipment of Simplex Villiers motorcycles that month. We know a little about the Simplex http://classicmotorcycleforum.com/index.php?topic=5942 , almost certainly an import from one of the British firms branded for the Australian market.

An educated guess would be that Kershaw, Collins got bikes from Turner Bros, and rebranded them New Era to sit alongside their New Imperials. Something didn't work out and Kershaw, Collins quickly went back to dealing in secondhand bikes. The building they were renting at 296 Elizabeth St was sold in March 1936, they advertised New Era in May, but moved to 208-210 Latrobe St by August, where there was no further mention of new bikes.

So 33d6 I'm expecting very small numbers, with specs a subset of Turner Bros' Simplex Villiers offerings?

Not very interesting to some, but worth recording. I usually conjure up a dusty bike in a shed with a barely-readable New Era transfer on the tank, or a photo of grandpa on his first post-depression motorcycle, purchased in May 1936...

Leon

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1041
  • Karma: +18/-5
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2022, 01:55:22 AM »
... the big firm of Turner Bros., just down the street, "landed" their first shipment of Simplex Villiers motorcycles that month...

Actually "over the road" - in 1936 Turner Bros were at 291 Elizabeth St (the Cottman building in this post 1940 photo http://classicmotorcycleforum.com/index.php?topic=5942.msg27657#msg27657 ) and Kershaw Collins were at 296 Elizabeth. They moved to Latrobe St in Aug 1936, but were back in Elizabeth St, at no 232, by 1938. Lots of shop-shuffling.

Leon

Offline 33d6

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1031
  • Karma: +26/-4
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2022, 08:55:39 AM »
As you say Leon, very small numbers. Three 150 cc Villiers powered bikes all first registered in August or September 1936 and one 125cc Villiers powered bike first registered in July 1937.
The 150cc bikes are all Mk XIIC powered and the 125cc bike is powered by the Villiers 8D. This is the initial offering of the unit construction 3 speed unit before it received its 1939 upgrade to the 9D.

Why Kershaw, Collins & Co thought they needed an economy lightweight alongside  their New Imperial agency is a puzzle. New Imps consistent best seller throughout the 1930ís was their 150cc Model 23. Why did they seek out a competitor for their best seller? Iíll have a possible answer when I finish the current tray of cards. After New Era comes New Hudson and then New Imperial. I will then know whether the Model 23 was as popular in Victoria as it was in the UK.

Everything will come clear in the end.

Cheers,

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1041
  • Karma: +18/-5
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2022, 10:50:20 AM »
So interesting. Thanks.

The list of not very exciting "British" lightweights with Villiers engines sold under local brand names in Australia the 1930s now looks like:
Acme
Barb (autocycle)
B&W
Malvern Star (autocycle)
New Era
Page (said to be Townsville, Queensland - more info needed)
Simplex
Star
Utility
Waratah

I think we decided the Speed cyclemotor was postwar? Any others?

Leon

Offline 33d6

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1031
  • Karma: +26/-4
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2022, 01:24:24 PM »
Donít forget the Essex.


Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1041
  • Karma: +18/-5
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2022, 10:00:04 PM »
OMG, how could I forget the Essex Villiers, "Britain's Supreme Achievement"!?
Acme
Barb (autocycle)
B&W
Essex
Malvern Star (autocycle)
New Era
Page (said to be Townsville, Queensland - more info needed)
Simplex
Star
Utility
Waratah

Offline 33d6

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1031
  • Karma: +26/-4
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2022, 10:08:05 PM »
Add SAís modest contribution, the Elliot Payneham.
What a pity most of the early records are lost. Iím sure QLD an WA also had their mystery brands that we donít  know about.

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1041
  • Karma: +18/-5
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2022, 10:30:13 PM »
Brands we don't know about? Impossible!

Not. Yep there will be some we don't have yet, although I wonder if NSW isn't where a few fringe brands might turn up? Or perhaps B&W, Acme and Waratah might have provided too-fierce competition.

Re Elliott: my list is for the 1930s. My opinion in Elliott is: "In the early 1930s there was some rebranding Ė for example the Scott Trivan was advertised as the Elliott Trivan Ė and some Villiers-powered imports (Elliotts were agents for Sun, and then Wolf lightweights) may have carried the famous Elliott name."

Leon

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1041
  • Karma: +18/-5
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2022, 11:23:06 AM »
Iím sure QLD an WA also had their mystery brands that we donít  know about.

Like the "Melrose Pup" from Western Australia in 1938?

Offline 33d6

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1031
  • Karma: +26/-4
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2022, 09:55:46 PM »
Eggzackerly. I think a Melrose Pup Workman would be an excellent stablemate for my 1939 Montgomery Terrier and 1940 Excelsior Universal. All powered by that same Villiers 125. I can just imagine the sheer envy from admiring visitors.

Wasnít AubreyMelrose a well known speedway rider?