Author Topic: Simplex in South Australia?  (Read 959 times)

Offline 33d6

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Simplex in South Australia?
« on: August 22, 2023, 02:51:52 AM »
I’ve now cleaned up the Simplex engine number records and can answer the odd question about them but want to ask one of my own.
Simplex were sold by Turner Bros, 291 Elizabeth St, but in the back of my mind is that they had strong South Oz connections? That they were just a branch of a South Oz firm? That they also sold Levis that were imported through South Oz? Whatever the case, I mentally associate Turner Bros with South Oz.
If so, did they also sell Simplex there. Simplex numbers are low compared to the Utility. For the number involved it doesn’t seem worth the bother.

Offline R

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Re: Simplex in South Australia?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2023, 05:47:12 AM »
We have discussed Simplex Villiers before.
https://classicmotorcycleforum.com/index.php?topic=5942.0

Turner Bros were headquartered in 1923 in Swanston St in Melbourne.
Home of the Invincible JAP.
https://cybermotorcycle.com/gallery/classics-i/images/Invincible-JAP-1923-Turner-Bros.jpg

https://www.slv.vic.gov.au/pictoria/a/3/9/im/a39372.jpg
Motorcycle and bicycle shops of Milledge Bros. at 287-9, Cottman & Co. at 291-3
and Turner Bros. at 295 Elizabeth St., Melbourne] [picture]

No doubt Leon can add to this ?
Many of the biggies seem to have had branches all over the place ...

Offline cardan

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Re: Simplex in South Australia?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2023, 01:07:39 PM »
In 1915 Turner Bros were headquartered in Melbourne (at 17 Elizabeth St), but were also at "Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth". In Adelaide they were selling their Turner JAP as well as British Ariel. (I have to say "British Ariel" int his context because we also had Australian Ariels!) But they packed up shop in Adelaide in 1917 and (I think) never came back.

I don't see adverts for Turner's Simplex motorcycle in Adelaide. I have "about 16" for the number of Simplexes - is that still about right?

In the late 1930s E.T. Fisher & Co were selling Levis in both Melbourne and Adelaide.

Cheers

Leon

Offline 33d6

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Re: Simplex in South Australia?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2023, 02:00:25 PM »
Thanks Leon,
For some reason I was confusing TurnerBros with E T Fisher and tangling the two together.
All told I have now listed a grand total of 35 Simplex not counting the odd one that may have been misfiled and will pop up in due course. The bike records were poorly managed when compared with the car side.
The breakdown is ,
1x98cc. First registered in 1944 I suspect it is not original but something’s built by someone for minimal fuel usage at the time.
5x122cc
22x148cc one of which had its engine swapped for an earlier 172cc Sport.
3x196cc, one the base 2E fixed head cast iron piston jobbie and the other two alloy head, alloy piston, Super Sports. The earlier 172cc engines were the Sport or Super Sport TT not just plain Super Sport.
Finally, 4x250.
As usual the “cooking” 148cc model dominates. It appears to be the cheap working bike of choice back then.


Offline cardan

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Re: Simplex in South Australia?
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2023, 05:16:56 AM »
Thanks for the update. The rego records have produced some amazing info: a few years ago we didn't know that Simplex motorcycles existed, now we know dates, the different models, the number of each and whether the engine was changed! Wow.

Pity we don't have a single photo or illustration of a Simplex, but we do know that all had Villiers engines, and most or all had Burman gearbox. "Twin port" was often stated - do we think that the 148cc engines used would have been twin port, or the cheaper single port? Tempting to think they were "Excelsior-esque", perhaps mirroring the Waratahs sent to P&R Williams in NSW.

We also know that the 125, 148, 196 and 250 models were all available "elec." (presumably lights powered from the Villiers flywheel), while there were also "De Luxe" versions of the 148 and 250. My guess would be these had real lights powered by a separate generator and a lead-acid battery?

Just so you know, I snip info that were share here and paste it into a file (in this case "simplex.txt") that goes into the simplex folder - one of 600+ folders in the australian bikes folder. In a typical folder there might also be 5-10-20 articles snipped from the newspapers, as well as any photos, catalogues, etc. This now amounts to a truly prodigious amount of info!!

Cheers

Leon


Offline 33d6

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Re: Simplex in South Australia?
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2023, 09:11:28 AM »
As the twin port Mk 12C  148cc engine has a different engine number prefix to the otherwise identical single port Mk 15C we can see at a glance in the records which engine was used. So far all of these Australian market bikes have had the the twin port Mk 12C as original equipment. No exceptions found as yet.
Replacement engines are a different story. It’s amazing what engines some enthusiast could stuff in a bike,
As there were no practical AC to DC rectifiers available for these machines at the time various firms used the flywheel magneto for ignition but added DC dynamos and batteries for steadier lighting in De Luxe models. Basic models stayed with the Villiers AC.

Also, as I am churning through the S records I have found two ‘Sport’ motorcycles. Both Villiers powered but with a difference. Both used the 1923 only 148cc MkVIIC. The first 148cc Villiers was the MkVIC of 1922 which is easy to find as it found a long life in lawnmowers and the following Mk VIIIC coming in 1924 lasted for even longer.
The MkVIIC came and went in 1923 only so makes it quite clear when ‘Sport’ motorcycles were around.
Don’t ask me why the choice of name.

Offline cardan

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Re: Simplex in South Australia?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2023, 01:46:52 AM »
Thanks for the 12C info - I need an annotated Villiers wall chart!

Although the Sports Motor Cycle Depot was in action for about 27 months (late 1923 to early 1926), I reckon there was probably only one shipment of "Sports" motorcycles, around August 1924. They could have been someone's 1923 leftovers. Is the engine recognisably VIIC? The cycle parts were pure Sun.

Leon

Offline 33d6

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Re: Simplex in South Australia?
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2023, 05:40:09 AM »
At a glance the Mk’s VI, VII & VIIIC look identical. It takes a little knowledge to tell them apart. The engine number prefix is the easiest give away.
H for MkVIC, L for VIIC and W for the VIIIC. The basics are simple enough but Villiers would add another letter prefix or two for ‘specials’.
For example, in its introductory year Douglas fitted a horizontally mounted Mk XIIC to its 150cc Bantam. The standard prefix for a Mk XIIC is GY, the Douglas variant is GYH.
That’s an easy one, but some engines have up to a five letter prefix most of which no one can really identify, it’s more an inspired guess. As the basic mechanicals stay the same it doesn’t really matter but try telling an owner that.
I’m working on an annotated wall chart but new variations pop up with great regularity.

Nice to know about the ‘Sport’. I’d be quite tickled to own one.