This page is dedicated to our family, friends and aquaintances who rode before us. As we are just the custodians of our old motorcycles so that they may be preserved for future generations to enjoy, previous owners regarded them as lifelines for survival. The importance of their steads was also reflected proudly in photographs, some that now lie in old shoe boxes in the bottom of the closet waiting for the dustbin in the next spring clean.

Well, we at Barnstormers would like to celebrate these brave men and women by including your treasured photographs of them for all to see on this page. To contribute to this series contact us with what you would like to submit, including a brief description on the year (if known) people (including relationship to you) , place, and motorcycle (if possible) in the photograph(s).

Remember – the motorcycles have to be pre 1945, and we need your permission to publish the photograph (or if the photograph belongs to somebody else we will need their permission). This is to do with copyright.

Bruce Augers 1928 Raleigh Model 21 Deluxe restoration

knobby : January 23, 2017 5:44 am : Barnstormers Remembered, History, True Barnstormers of NZ.

I recently holidayed up at Cooper Beach ( Doubtless Bay, Northland) with Mrs K and Jr and one of the highlights of our trip was visiting Mathews Vintage Collection on SH10 just outside Taipa. Whilst admiring his fine and varied collection, I was taken with this magnificent Raleigh Model 21.

Along with the display was a typed letter from Bruce Auger explaining some of the background and challenges he had in restoring this motorcycle to this prodigious condition. I have transcribed his letter below , including typos, for all to enjoy.

There’s not much more I can add, I would have like to have seen this running and being ridden, even if it was just around the car park. Perhaps someone from the Far North VCC club could assist Winston in getting this running again and putting a video up on Winstons website, or YouTube for all to enjoy.

Purdy St
November 23, 1999

Engine No A 2162
Chassis Frame A2073
496cc SV
Model 21 Delux

Dear Mick,

In 1964 I found this motor cycle on Mr Dors property at Puketi Forest in an open shed, and scattered about the farm in pieces. The engine was in a shed with gelignite dripping on to it from a shelf – on to the crankcase causing corrosion.
Originally bought from Clarks Cycles in New Market ,Auckland New Zealand, on Thursday February 2, 1928 by a Mr Mannington.
It was later purchased by Mr Dors who still owned it in 1964 when I bought what was left of it.
The Amac Carburettor was missing when it was unpacked in NZ so it was fitted with a Brown and Barlow Sports, which is still on the machine. A Baylis Mercurey switched electric stopping tail light (English Law 1928) was fitted in NZ and it is No94. Only 100 were made and only one is known to have survived. This Tail Light was purchased by Mr Mannington’s brother when he visited England in 1928 as a present, and was fitted by the cycle shop in NZ on his return home to Auckland.
The petrol tanks I made from an old washing machine skirt steel, 18 guage, and formed by making a paper folded pattern over a borrowed OHV tank. Then I made two wooden formers and folded the crazy cut steel to fold, tuck and weld exactly to shape.
When I bought it there were these parts :- Frame triangle with broken front forks, damaged engine minus timing case and oil pump (Oldham), broken piston and main side shaft and sprocket, very sad gear box with shot bearing and gears, clutch and sprocket worn out, back wheel complete but without bearings, back mudguard and number plate holder, chains were rusty, gas generator and tail light, the head light was flattened by a lorry running over it every day. Gear change tank fitting, steering damper knob, one inverted clutch lever, front and rear stands were broken, magneto bracket, one twist grip, oil tank and pump, carburettor outside and float chamber bowl. But the biggest prize of all was a Baylis Automatic brake light, very broken and rotten – but all there – very rare, for a pattern to restore.
I had to make:- Front Hub and axle shaft with brake drum and shoes ( Rim and spokes from Britain). Front mudguard with skirt and number plate, braze and straighten forks, make fork shafts and right and left hand nuts, handle bar and all levers and head clamps, lamp brackets, top and bottom steering head bearings and damper fittings ( Head and forks), timing case and chain cover cast and machine and make Oldham oil pump complete, valves and guides (Piston from Gaggs in England), Electric weld new cooling fins in five places, oil pipes and fittings, 982 of all nuts and bolts turned on the lathe with 26TPI or correct thread to specifications and nickelled where required, magneto shield, footrest setup complete (rubber for twist grips, rubber foot rests and tank pads from England).
Kick starter pedal and gear box parts were worn out and had to be rebuilt, tool box to oil tank and leather case and actually made the locking catch to specs, back bottom fork frame, top fork frame and carrier, exhaust pipe and brackets, muffler and tail pipe bend, back wheel hub internals, axle and wheel nuts, reline brakeshoes, back chain cover and pump clip and fittings, chain case complete, 2 petrol tanks, tank cover strip, all tank fittings and filler caps, seat frame and cover ( seat springs tied to frame). Fly wheel main sprocket shaft and key way, rebuild clutch parts by welding.& repadding(with brake lining), cast brass brake pedal and machine and

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rebuild clutch parts by welding and repadding ( with brake lining) , cast brass brake pedal and machine and nickel. Make and cast carburettors, new housings and float bowls & tops, then turn up slides, jets, make floats and fittings, springs and petrol pipes and unions ( 3 complete carbs, 2 with needles, one with gauze, I think it had a needle type carb).
I met the original owner, Mr Mannington, and had a very informative talk with him, he gave me the Docket and Plug. It runs quite well and sounds the part on a Splitdorf spark plug that it was fitted with by the first owner in 1928, when he changed it he kept the plug in his treasures with the original docket dated Thursday February 2, 1928, Clarkes Cycles, Auckland, New Zealand, which proves that the bike was made in 1927 and shipped out to NZ as a 1928 model ( those days it would have taken more than a month to have it for sale if it was made in 1928). But by specifications it is definitely a 1928 Model 21 Delux.
Head lamp P & H Gas annealed and forced back into shape roughly, had to anneal about 20 times and beat and then spin on the lathe, came out oversize so had to shrink and beat again to size ( got given an old mirror and jet) beat out front and cap and used an old clock glass to complete, after nickelling and painting it looks almost like new after many days of tinkering with it.
Magneto supplied by Mick Sleap to be rewound which took some time to do. Never done one before but it tested out and works well. Made up a horn from parts from England. Made plug and valve caps. It was hard to find Carbide to the lamp generator but did get some. Bought new tyres, tubes, tapes and fitted. Painted and lined to specs. I aquired a spare magneto Armature professionally wound in case my effort gives out. Raleigh Spares for valve springs and gaskets and tank transfers and many many thanks to John Diamond for help with the specifications for the making of parts, exhaust etc and for nickelling and painting information.
While trying to build up the aluminium crank case with gas welding , it kept exploding and bit blew off as a result of being saturated with gelignite over the years.
Parts off the bike had been given to other bike owners and other parts used to repair farm equipment in a Heat Robinson sort of way , so I could not have them.
This restoration has taken 25 years to original specifications.

Bruce Auger


Sadly Bruce passed away in March 2013 but not before receiving his 50 Years award from the NZ Vintage Car Club. Following is a little history about Bruce and his exploits over the years. Thanks to Dave Duirs for providing this information and Winston Matthews for digging it out and sending it through.



As a perfectionist, Bruce Auger created an enduring legacy for Far North vintage motoring by way of his total dedication to restoration detail while enjoying tinkering with and driving older vehicles.

Born in Greylyn in 1928 he and his family moved , via Maungatapere, to Ohaeawai in the Far North in 1934 where Bruce attended Kaikohe High school from 1943, showing an interest and aptitude in engineering and carpentry and, no doubt, old cars.

Trained in the printing and engraving trade at the Kaikohe Northern News, many customers were European and one of his achievements was to engrave the Lord’s Prayer around the edge of a threepenny bit. As a film projectionist for nineteen years, he travelled over much of the Far North, as far as Waiharara. Bruce did a stint with the railways to get fresh air into his lungs, but the pay was not too good.

In October 1962, after an initial meeting in Whangarei, the Northland Branch of the VCC of NZ was eventually established at Kaikohe to accommodate members north of Auckland and Bruce was amongst those present. Circumstances changed rapidly and it wasnt long before a Whangarei Branch was established and eventually the Northland Branch disbanded and joined Whangarei which ultimately became the Northland Vintage Car Branch. In 1976 it was the turn of northern members to form the The Far North Branch to cater for the likes of Bruce who had developed a strong interest in old cars.

Initially he had a 1935 Austin 10 followed by an A30 and then an A50 and an early Triumph. Over the years a Vanguard and ’39 Chev were in his stable together with an association with sixteen motorbikes. He fitted independent electric brakes to the Vanguard, enabling the Vanguard to beat the faster Zephyrs on race track corners. Always ready for a challenge, Bruce was navigator in Vic McCready’s 1920 Minerva which represented the Northland VCC Branch in the 1965 International VCC rally in Christchurch. To add a bit of spice the guys drove from Cape Reinga to the Bluff and back at 22 miles per gallon, being the second car to cross the new Auckland harbour bridge.

1965 was the start of his affair with his uncle’s 1925 Buick McGlaughlin DX, the deal being that it should not be altered. This was difficult as the vehicle was set up as a truck which Bruce was keen to restore. The model, the only one to leave the factory as right hand drive, was brought to New Zealand by Lady McGlaughlin of Scotland after she had haggled with McGlaughlins, the Canadian car body builders. It languished in storage because it was not considered suitable by her friends, they being British and her car Canadian! Eventually someone from Dargaville purchased it but, after a pub visit he ran off the road and it required some patching up by the local blacksmith. It then became a Whangarei to Auckland taxi before Buce’s uncle acquired it, damaging the engine on the way home to Okaihau when he ran over some newly dumped road metal. A frame was attached and it was used to tow a saw mill before the body was removed, hung up in the rafters, and the chassis transformed into a traction unit with Bessemer diff and cast wheels all driven by two Dodge 4 engines in tandem. However, over twenty five years Bruce patiently gathered the body, which thankfully was still hanging in the shed in a reasonable state, and other parts including the original engine, 1925 pig skin for the upholstery and Canadian beech for the spokes to restore the car to its original glory. Mr McGlaughlin,at 92, visited and wanted to take it home, making Bruce a big offer which was refused. Four gallons of paint and twelve of thinners which came with the original car, were used to add the final touch to what is now a superb treasure, the only one of its era globally. Detail was the essence and as the vehicle had been registered as a Dodge because of the early engine change, a lengthy beaurocratic “battle” ensued to secure the rightful registration right down to the DB 1925 number plate which satisfied the official that it was Dodge Brothers but Bruce was happy that it signified the D(X)B(uick). The car was a star at the Buick 100 years celebrations in Napier. Bruce and Mollie still have the car and have arranged for its continuous use and safe keeping.

Part way through this project the Buick work stalled as Bruce reckoned it would be cheaper to work on one of the motorbikes. About 1964, probably during one of his pig hunting exploits to the Puketi forest, Bruce found scattered about a shed what turned out to be the remains of a 1928 Raleigh 21 Deluxe motorcycle with many bits damaged or missing. Over the years he tracked down the original owner, sourced original paper work and embarked on a restoration to original specifications which involved hours of panel beating, casting and machining of petrol tanks, hubs and axles, mudguards, handle bars, lamps, timing case covers, “making” an Oldham oil pump, total cast and machine of the carburettor, bolts and nuts turned to specification the list goes on, to a total rebuild which would be a story on its own. The beautifully completed machine has been donated to the Matthews Vintage Collection where it is proudly and thankfully displayed together with one of his Miele bikes, a testimony to twenty five years of patience and dedication. He reckons that in hind sight, this project was probably dearer than the car refurbishment!

Perhaps the real visual showpiece of this man’s skill is his restoration of vintage hubcaps, many of which were unrecognisable before he put his magic touch of detail on them. Frank Walker had quite a collection and did the paper work or research and Bruce and others contributed old hub caps which he duly beat, plated, polished and cut the polish to make them look old. The collection is now prominantly displayed on a board in the Far North Branch clubrooms, a reminder to members of the dedication and expertise that Bruce built into a hobby which has immortalised part of the country’s motoring history.

Bruce, with Mollie who so often kept his dinner hot while he was in his shed, has contributed a great deal to the spirit of vintage motoring with his enthusiasm, skill and wealth of knowledge, all of which makes his Fifty Year membership badge a small but very deserving award.

Dave Duirs July 2012


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Early Beach Racing in Southland.

McSnotty : June 30, 2016 11:14 pm : Barnstormers Remembered, Events, History

These three photographs have lingered around in my files for quite a while with the hope that more may appear, but no. They came from a small private collection of photographs from Dunedin and with the registration numbers on two of the motorcycles being issued by the Dunedin Council the possibility that these are from the southern region is strengthened. They are from the early to mid 1920s and show that even though beach racing was still in its infancy there was no shortage of interest.

A very proud owner on his ABC. The ABC was a 398cc horizontally opposed 4 stroke twin cylinder machine that was years ahead of its design. It had a 4 speed gearbox and was capable of 70mph. 30 years would pass before another machine of similar design was to appear in the shape of the Velocette LE. Other visible motorcycles are the Indian to the left and the Harley Davidson just to the right. There are 3 other machines not clearly visible. Are you impressed with the young school lad still in uniform complete with cap. Who knows, this young person may have been inspired by such events and could have gone on to be a successful racer.

This Harley Davidson rider looks to have the determination to win. His motorcycle is a pre 1924 loop frame model once again with a Dunedin registration. It has been prepared for competition with the removal of chain guards and headlight for that extra advantage from weigh savings, and the handlebars appeared to have been bent down significantly for a low racing pose. Unsure of the motorcycle to the left, it may be a very early Norton, but whatever it is the entrant is definitely keen. The motorcycle has a fixed drive possibly with a variable speed engine pulley. Not really a great threat to the ABC, Indian or Harley but hey, he was out there doing it (and as Knob says “somebody has to come last”)

Motorcycles getting ready on the start line. Not of a great quality but it clearly shows 6 motorcycles surrounded by an eager public both young and old. Location is unknown, maybe Dunedin somewhere? And perhaps Burt Munro is hiding amongst the crowd (well there was an Indian racing). If anybody can identify the beach we would love to know. You can let us know through our contacts page.



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NZs First Female Motorcyclist?

McSnotty : April 17, 2016 1:52 am : Barnstormers Remembered, General, History, True Barnstormers of NZ.

Early photographs of female motorcycle riders are scarce with the sport of riding motorcycles regarded as the domain of men. So it was a pleasant surprise to come across a photo postcard depicting what looks like a female rider dressed and ready posing in front of an early fixed speed Triumph. The scene is labelled as Motor Reliability Trials and dated 24th April, 1909. According to newspaper reports from that period the trials were run by the New Zealand Motorcycle Club and started from their club’s rooms at 52 Willis St in Wellington. The route was 84 miles to Waikanae and back. There were 28 competitors of whom one was a lady from Hastings. The lady rider experienced a mishap negotiating a water-course approaching Waikanae and retired.
Being a photo postcard it was printed off a glass plate negative so has excellent detail. This is evident in the second close up photo of the motor. The cleaness of the machine and the glean of the paint work would suggest that the motorcycle is quite new.


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Taumarunui’s First Motor Vehicle.

McSnotty : January 1, 2016 12:37 am : Barnstormers Remembered, History, True Barnstormers of NZ.

Over the years there have been many interesting articles written about early motoring/motorcycling in New Zealand. The problem is that most have disappeared into the dusty archives of historical libraries or into skip bins full of old waste paper to be recycled for more newer interesting articles on motoring. They call it the full circle.

Well, the article below escaped from that cycle and first appeared in an interesting monthly publication called Roll Back the Years that covered the early days of Taumarunui and its surrounding areas. That was 35 years ago now and even though the first volume has gathered a little bit of dust sitting on my bookcase it still provides an interesting insight into how things were and how far we have come.

It is reproduced here with full acknowledgement to the efforts of Ron Cooke who was the editor and publisher of Roll Back the Years. Read on —

How about that! The very first vehicle registered in Taumarunui was a motorcycle. Notice the number plate, which our sources tell us stands for Taumarunui 1. Apparently all vehicles in the early days were registered with the local authority.

The postcard reproduced above has been loaned by one of our subscribers, Don Sanders, of Hamilton, whose father Dolf is shown proudly standing with his brand new Bradbury bike. On the back of the postcard, postmarked 29/6/1910, was a newspaper clipping which reads :

The first sale of a motor-bicycle in the King Country was recently reported by the Taumarunui Press. The buyer was Mr Sanders, builder, of Manunui. The machine is at present being tested about Taumarunui. It is a ‘Bradbury, 3 ½ hp, free engine and is a remarkable hill-climber. The Press says that it ran up the Rangaroa hill as easily as on the level ground. Mr D. Brown is the Masterton agent for the “Bradbury”.

Mr Sanders tells us that he purchased his fathers old bike after it was found under a house where it had lain for many years. He intends to restore it, with the aid of the photograph, to its former glory.


Footnote 2016 – Don Sanders is no longer with us however he did complete the restoration and used it on a few rallies.

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Some More Early NZ Pioneers.

McSnotty : December 5, 2015 4:36 am : Barnstormers Remembered, History

The Barnstormers library has slowly been amassing some more photographs of early motorcycling in New Zealand and it is about time to do something with them. We have arranged a selection of interesting machines and riders, in a few the quality is not what a lot of people would expect however some are over 100 years old and the messages shared with some of them, or the detail held within makes them well worth putting up on the site.


One of the earliest photographs advertised as “a boy on a pushbike with a motor”. The make is unknown but the condition of the motorcycle would indicate that it is not very old which could date it as pre 1910. The photo was purchased from a dealer in Dunedin. And the caption from the younger rider – well that would have to be “I wish I was bigger!”


An interesting photograph from photographer FB Hought, Christchurch. Possibly a combined dealer advertising venture on the enjoyment of motorcycling as the machines have their makes advertised on the front mudguard instead of their registration number. Dates from around 1910.


A genuine photo postcard from Blenheim dated 1915. Photo postcards were personal photographs made into post cards that you could send to your friends. And these gentlemen believed that the world should know how proud they were on their machines. Suits were the order of the day as riding attire. Motorcycles are (from left) Rudge Multi, unknown, and a 4hp Douglas.


Another photo postcard, this one still has the message on the back, though hard to read and not of motorcycling interest. Once again suits are the riding norm and Raymond and Clarence do look smart. Don’t recognise the registration prefix.


An original photograph with the caption on the back “taken at Motokarara about 23 miles from Christchurch, where 300 of us motored. Getting ready for the motorcycle and sidecar race”. Photo is about 1915 and the 300 seems rather excessive but it is clearly visible. Would have had to been a very special event indeed.



These are of Ted, his bike (an AJS) and possibly Teds wife and child in what looks like their Sunday best. No place given.



Two photographs from the same family perhaps? Good shots of a well used pre 1925 Harley Davidson and sidecar taken around the early 1930s. Interestingly this motorcycle has been fitted with acetylene lights, most Harley Davidsons sold were fitted with electric lights.


And for something different – an Indian and sidecar with electric lighting. A rural setting with the rider wearing his vest and shirt sleeves rolled up. Junior is probably sitting on the tweed jacket in the sidecar.


A riderless loop frame Harley Davidson. The unusual aspect of this photograph is that the motorcycle is fitted with disc wheels, seldom seen but really easy to keep clean. Sidecar is fitted with an all weather hood so the rider must have thought a lot of his passengers comfort. The registration prefix TBC belongs to Timaru Borough Council.


Purchased from Blenheim of a proud rider and his late 1920s BSA sloper.




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Out For a Ride in . . . . . . . . . . 1912?

McSnotty : July 4, 2014 8:32 am : Barnstormers Remembered, History

Good quality photographs of early motorcycling groups are quite hard to find, so when this scene came our way I definitely thought that it was worth sharing.

The photograph was taken outside the Fielding Post Office about 1912 (a general consensus amongst a few knowledgeable people). The period chosen is centered around the riding gear and type of motorcycles. The bikes all appear to be single cylinder machines with belt drive, some even appear to be fixed belt drive. The riders are well dressed and with goggles and flat caps cut dashing figures that are clearly out for a good days ride.

The motorcycles from left to right could be   . . . Bradbury, Triumph, ? , Triumph,  ? , Norton,  ? ,Triumph, BSA, Triumph,  ? , Matchless,  ? , Humber, Humber, Humber, and Indian .

To enlarge click on the photograph.

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More Barnstormers to Be Remembered.

McSnotty : October 23, 2013 8:08 am : Barnstormers Remembered

Time is definitely marching on for our old hobby, and with it more and more of the pictorial past is disappearing. We have managed to put up a few more period photographs of the early years including an interesting page from a photograph album from 1929. Enjoy…………….

more »

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Arthur Elmer 1918-1983

knobby : July 16, 2012 10:37 am : Barnstormers Remembered
We here at Barnstormers love hearing from, and about those who rode before us.
Here’s an article written by Les Elmer about his Dad, Arthur, and a couple of his exploits as a pioneer motorcyclist.
Les also kindly provided us with an article on the history of his S29-19 BSA here. Thanks Les

My Dad, Arthur, was born in September 1918. During the 1930’s, like many young men of his era, Dad rode a motorbike. Bikes were then cheaper to buy and run than the relatively more expensive motorcar.

Arthur Elmer (20yrs Old) with Levis in 1938

In 1938 prior to WWII, Dad rode a Levis 350 cc of which he was inordinately proud, as can plainly be seen from the snappy suit and his stance in this photo. Prior to this Dad owned an Indian Scout. Of course motorcycles were, and still today considered by many, inherently dangerous, although probably more so for the bike rather than the rider in the 1930’s, when speeds were slower and the mostly gravel roads less forgiving.

more »

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Jack Kirner – Vintage Motorcyclist.

McSnotty : May 5, 2011 10:59 pm : Barnstormers Remembered, History

Rex Knight is a person who probably has his own interesting stories about motorcycling having grown up with a father who was already into bikes and finished his last restoration of a long stroke featherbed Manx Norton at the healthy age of 84. However Rex has a different tale to tell, this one is about a person he met through his friend Jim Stevens by the name of Jack Kirner. Jack was a friend of Bill Stevens, Jims grandfather, and the two of them spent many a happy trip touring the South Island breaking in new tracks in the 1920s. It was first published in Twin Eagle magazine in 1994 and titled Two For The Road. Rex has kindly given us permission to retell Jacks story more »

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Canterbury Capers.

McSnotty : March 22, 2011 10:44 am : Barnstormers Remembered, Events, History

Some of us will live to what would be deemed ‘a ripe old age’, boring others with our own personal stories of how good life has been, reminding todays youth of how easy they have it, whilst others will not be so fortunate. This would never be more true than for the residents of Christchurch and more so for those who perished in the recent earthquake on February 22nd. From the innocent life of a 9 month old baby through to people in their 70s the quake was random in its destruction, deadly in its blow. If there is one thing that has come out of this disaster is unity, locally from caring neighbours, to those who have no names but are visible by their actions, to the whole of New Zealand, and then the rest of the world. It will take a long time for the wounds to heal, and for some this will never happen, but one thing that will remain unchanged is that for the 168 people declared dead (so far), and for the 50 that are still missing and may never be found their families can be rest assured that they will not be forgotten.

Barnstormers are not interested in showing any of the devastation that has resulted from the earthquake, there has been enough stories, pictures, and film footage blasted around more »

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