Author Topic: 'New Era' mystery bikes  (Read 835 times)

Offline cardan

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Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2022, 10:36:27 PM »
Aubrey Melrose was well-known-everything, including various exploits with Austin Sevens. One article claims he was the first Australian to finish the Isle of Man TT Race.

Re the Melrose Pup Workman: The lightweight 122cc James was advertised in WA as the James Workman, so it's possible that the Melrose Pup was a rebadged James. That said, there were loose Villiers motorcycle engines on offer in the state at the time.

Aubrey registered his bike as a Melrose Pup, so at least one got into circulation.

Leon

Offline 33d6

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Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2022, 07:00:27 AM »
I just found another four New Era in the micro filmed stuff. This brings their numbers up to a huge total of eight. Three Villiers powered and all first registered in April-May 1936 plus one mystery package first registered on 1/4/40. The engine number isn't clear on that one. I can only decipher what I think is 1108. Pity about that. There's something I find appealing about an obscure wee banger put on the road on the first April Fool's Day of World War. You wouldn't want to be superstitious would you.
Cheers

Offline cardan

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Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2022, 04:47:42 AM »
Do we ever find these things - unidentified Villiers-engined bikes that don't quite fit with a British manufacturer? I suppose we've seen their rusty and bent frames at a swap meet somewhere and just shrugged. From the list we've seen survivors from Acme, Malvern Star, Utility (albeit JAP powered) and Waratah, so I guess that's not bad.

Probing a little deeper into the 1930s, I did find a 1935 advert from Elliotts Garage in Adelaide for the "Elliott Villiers Motor Cycle". Just what form it took I don't know (maybe a rebadged Sun product), but it does confirm my thought that Elliotts were offered at times in the 1930s.

Cheers

Leon

Acme
Barb (autocycle)
B&W
Elliott
Essex
Malvern Star (autocycle)
New Era
Page (said to be Townsville, Queensland - more info needed)
Simplex
Star
Utility
Waratah

Offline cardan

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Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2022, 05:23:50 AM »
Here's the spec of the Elliott Villiers from January 1935. Does it look like something British?

Leon

Latest 1 1/2 h.p. long-stroke Villiers engine
Large petrol tank
3-speed gears
Down draft carburettor
Immense frame strength
25 x 300 wired-on tyres (called 300-19 these days)
Leg shields
Clean type adjustable handlebars
Twist grips
New improved electric lighting
Large tool bags
Improved fork springing
Low riding position etc. etc.

Offline cardan

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Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2022, 11:38:26 AM »
The illustration in the Elliott advert is the same one as used by Wearwell for their 148cc Wolf Vixen. They had legshields on some of their other models http://www.historywebsite.co.uk/Museum/Transport/Motorcycles/Wearwell2.htm

Leon

Offline 33d6

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Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2022, 09:27:51 PM »
No argument there Leon. There seems to have been some sort of trading arrangement with various “back of house” manufacturer’s , Wolf, Diamond, Montgomery, etc, to send out batches of their bikes rebadged to names of the buyers choice. Why this is so is a mystery. Possibly to get around some tariff or customs regulation, who knows. It still happens today to meet Australian content requirements so businesses are familiar with the idea.

The art lies in identifying what name you put on the tank. Restoration is no bother as they’re all from the same song book. It’s the presentation that causes some drama as in the Shannon’s Chell/Acme case.

We all know they’re standard examples of “grey porridge” but they’re also our history so some deserve preservation. Strangely enough they can provide as much fun as the exotica in their own weird way.

Offline 33d6

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Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2022, 09:32:00 PM »
I forgot to mention the 1940 New Era. Further research shows that it had a 100cc engine but the make remains unknown.

Offline cardan

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Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2022, 12:59:46 AM »
I wonder if New Era went down the path of Acme and others and brought out an autocycle for 1940? Or is there a definitive difference in the records between 98 and 100cc?

Leon

Offline 33d6

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Re: 'New Era' mystery bikes
« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2022, 03:22:24 AM »
I really don’t know Leon.
As well as the engine number records I found this 1940 New Era got  it’s own special mention in the Vic Police Registration guidelines with the added info it was of 100cc. It would seem reasonable it was an autocycle but motorcycles powered by the 98cc Villiers Midget date from 1931 so had been around well before the first autocycle. So, could be either bike or autocycle.
Whatever it is the engine number records give the number as 1108, the registration guidelines as M1108. Neither number ring any bells.
It remains a mystery to me.