Barnstormers Family Album

This page is dedicated to pictures and information about Barnstormers, and their bikes, that are still in action.

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.

1935 Royal Enfield Motor Carrier

knobby : February 11, 2020 6:29 am : Barnstormers Family Album, History, Royal Enfield

In the October/November 2019 issue of the Vintage Car Clubs bi-monthly magazine, Beaded Wheels, there is an excellent article by Bevars Binnie about a 1935 Royal Enfield Motor Carrier. This article ,and associated pictures, prompted us to ask Bevars if we could reproduce this here at Barnstormers, as its is a unique machine worthy of wider attention. With permission granted and a thanks to the VCCNZ for kindly letting us reproduce this, here is the article, unabridged for your enjoyment. more »

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Back in Time.

McSnotty : January 25, 2020 10:32 pm : Barnstormers Family Album, History, True Barnstormers of NZ.

It has been quite a while since we put up some old photographs of motorcycling, mainly because as the years pass they become harder and harder to find. Some photos have only just survived the ravages of time, but then some of these would be over 100 years, so to have survived at all is surely a miracle.

Two motorcyclists, possibly from the West Coast, on the South Island. The number plate of the motorcycle on the left has a Buller registration. Both machines are fixed belt drive, and the shape of the petrol tanks would indicate around 1910~1912. Anybody out there identify the motorcycles?

A quite badly marked photograph however it has survived 100 years so some might regard it as patina. It is of a 1910s Indian and sidecar with passenger. The registration is from the Dunedin Council and The Kewpie Cash Store is proudly displaying that its owner, F. E. Gratton, was a Returned World War 1 soldier (NZEF is New Zealand Expeditionary Force). Was the rider the owner?

A early Triumph single from late 1910s with free engine belt drive to the rear wheel. There was a clutch plate in the rear hub to engage/disengage the drive by a foot operated pedal on the right hand side of the machine. The rider must have been a keen supporter of enhanced engine performance on the principles of a free flowing exhaust as the exhaust header pipe has been removed from the collector box and is pointing outwards. No doubt to crackle away and sound cool? However I don’t think that this person is the rider and that the photo has been posed. No rider would wear a full length coat that close to the rear wheel drive belt at the risk of it getting caught. Still a great photo though.

These two photographs are from Kevins collection. They are of Louis Taylor, Grove St, Nelson. The first is easily identifiable as an early Indian, the second is of a 1913 Douglas 2 ¾ hp 350cc Model R, WM368 is aWaimea registration (Nelson district). A studio ‘posed for’ photograph the Douglas definitely shows signs of being used.

Douglas motorcycles seem to be the flavour of the month with 2 more images. And both owners seem to like small dogs. Both are the popular 2 ¾ hp 350cc models, with the first a 1922-24 belt drive model, the second is a 1925 Model CW with the new chain drive to the rear wheel.

A well togged up rider on a early 1930s BSA 500 sloper. Clearly a well used motorcycle and even though the photograph is not that detailed one can still read Dunlop Cord Balloon on the front tyre.

A favourite of mine, an early racing photo postcard. Written on the back was “Clive Langmuir on a Harley Davidson. Just one race 15 Pounds Prize Money.” The photograph was taken by Louden Photography, Ward St, in Hamilton and the photo postcard was available at a cost of 6/- per dozen.

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Pauls Handsome Machinery

knobby : December 13, 2014 10:51 pm : Barnstormers Family Album

I Like Royal Enfields, So much so I bought the company….. No just kidding, but I do have a have a fondness for the early ones.

Paul, from the UK, kindly sent us some photos of his bikes, I’ll let him tell you about them in his words.

Picture of my 1929 model 505 OHV on the way to the Banbury Run. (548)

more »

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A BSA called Arthur – 1929 S29-19 2 Port Light

knobby : July 16, 2012 10:37 am : Barnstormers Family Album
Following on from the article about Arthur Elmer, Les, his son, shared with the Barnstormers Boys a little history of himself and his 1929 S29-19 2 Port Light BSA.


1929 – 1972 A BSA called Arthur

My Dad, Arthur, had a good mate, also called Arthur, who I guess to avoid mistakes, was always referred to as Artie. As my middle name is Arthur, and in memory of both of them, my BSA is also now known as ‘Arthur’. In 1931 Artie’s older brother, Reg, bought the BSA second-hand from Bennett & Wood (BSA agents in Sydney), and rode it North 600 miles (960km) to Brisbane.

In April 1932 this picture was taken(below) with Reg in the saddle and Artie on pillion, about to leave Brisbane to ride down to Sydney and return, to be among the first to motor across the newly opened Sydney Harbour Bridge. This was a 1200 mile (2000km) round trip on gravel roads, following which the bike was in daily use in and around Brisbane. more »

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Flat Tank – Barnstorming in Australia

knobby : December 16, 2009 8:16 pm : Barnstormers Family Album

Here’s a couple of photo’s of an awesome Chater Lea with a brief history from its ‘Barnstormer’ owner. Thanks FLAT TANK – Keep the faith… Knobby

This photo was taken during the recent National Veteran Motor Cycle Rally held in Albany Western Australia. The rally is a week long run with each days riding approaching 100kms with the longest run being 140kms.

The day after the rally I entered the local Poker Run and promptly did another 100kms, apart from an initial “nip-up” on the first day owing to the oiling system losing a packing gland (its a vacuum system) and a few problems with the local fuel, exhaust pipe fracturing etc it was a great rally….can’t wait for the next one in Queensland.
This machine was found back in the late 1950€™s by Ray Corlett one of the founders of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club of Australia (NSW). Ray was driving home after work and suddenly realised he was in traffic behind a small truck with what looked like a pair of handlebars protruding up above all the rubbish on the tray of the truck, Ray pulled the vehicle over and questioned the driver as to what he had on board, he had got the job of clearing out a deceased estate and was taking all the rubbish to the tip€¦the complete motorcycle was in the middle of all the rubbish€¦..Ray quickly did a deal and the bike became his. He kept the bike for some years before passing it on to his good friend Bill Sewart, Bill expertly restored the bike and rode it for many years in club events before selling it to me in July 1997. On advice from the Chater Lea expert in the UK the position of the magneto was changed to the front of the motor€¦.wrong advice I would have thought.

The bike has a JAP engine of 720cc with automatic inlet valves and goes very well indeed for such a contraption, it is aided by a Millenium 2 speed hub in the rear€¦.which makes it a very usable early veteran.

I have a photo of an almost identical machine with €œJAP€ on the tank. The bike is basically a Chater Lea frame & forks, Millenium rear hub with JAP engine.

I claim this machine to be the oldest V twin JAP in going order in the world€¦€¦I have heard of earlier bikes but never seen a photo€¦..until I do see some proof I say this is the oldest!”

I would be interested in contacting anyone with info or parts available for this bike, my email address is  flattankatbigponddotcom

My main interest is in veteran motorcycles….happy to talk to anyone about them.


The Chater Lea is circa 1909 and the Matchless is circa 1910.
The Matchless was owned by Thomas Green, Secretary of the Sydney Bicycle & Motor
Cycle Club and he was heavily involved with the running of the first Australian TT
race in 1914 at Goulburn NSW. The Sydney club were the organising body for the TT.
Thomas actually raced the Matchless in the TT and it stayed in the Green family for
decades, until a slight accident which made the bike unrideable. Not a great deal is
known as to the details of the accident but I think it was at that stage the later
steering head and forks (1914) were fitted to the bike.
It was repaired professionally and when finished the repairer told George Green
(Thomas's son....Thomas was long dead) to come and pick up the bike and pay the
bill. After a couple of reminders this did not happen and when a chap walked into
the repair shop and asked if the bike was for sale the answer was yes! He bought it.
The new owner took it to the next VMCC run only to be told "that belongs to George
Green"...he contacted George and everything was worked out and even though the bike
belonged to George it was left to the chap after George died.
For anyone who has a copy of "The James Flood Book of Motorcycling in Australia" it
is written up on pages 60,168 & 169.
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