I would doubt that very few of us who are over a certain age have not heard, seen or played with a Villiers 2 stroke engine of some sort. Whether it be powering a motorcycle, power cycle, lawn mower, chainsaw, or any other multitude of mechanical contraptions., they seemed to be everywhere when I was growing up.
A great addition to any workshop display, a 350cc Villiers powered chainsaw. Must have been extra quick at cutting with those twin mufflers.
My first engine that I ever owned was even a Villiers, a Midget engine from a lawn mower. I was about 9 years old and Grandpa McSnottys neighbour was having a clear out. Sitting on the garage floor destined for the scrap was the little engine. My interest was rewarded with a challenge, if I could carry it home it was mine, keeping in mind that in the rural area home was about 300 yards up the road. This was not going to deter me, I humped the little power plant out the gate, and up the road until I was out of sight, hid it in some long grass and then trotted home and got my trolley. Nothing was going to stand in the way of such a treasure. And yes I still have that little engine.
Another neighbour even had a Villiers powered reel lawn mower, something that as a youngster I found very interesting. Especially as it had been fitted with a small ride on carriage which allowed a speedy cutting of the grass. When an offer was made for me to try out the Super Grass Mulcher I wasn’t going to say no. However with little or no experience in operating this serious bit of grass cutting kit the offer was quickly recinded when I lost direction of it and managed to mow straight through Mrs Tuckers prized rose garden. Hell, I was only 10 and all that power was just eye watering.
Lawn mowing at its best.
Early small capacity 2 stroke motorcycles were quite unique in that very few manufacturers made their own 2 stroke engines. Bigger marques like Velocette, Royal Enfield, BSA, and Triumph had their own design as well as their bigger 4 stroke models in the vintage years, with Dunelt and Scott adding their efforts to the mid range capacity market. Velocettes GTP 250 must have proven a popular model as its production period was from the early 1930s to the late 1940s. But generally the majority of small 2 stroke machines were Villiers powered.
It has taken me a long time to really appreciate how important the manufacturer Villiers has been to the early motorcycle years. Their engines have allowed small manufacturers to build motorcycles where by outsourcing their engine requirements minimised production costs which had they had to design and build their own would have prohibited them from being part of a growing motorcycle empire.
The Villiers Engineering Co. Ltd manufacturing works was in Wolverhampton and they certainly would have been busy supplying the multitude of motorcycle manufacturers with engines. The popularity of the Villiers two-stroke engine is undoubtedly due to the simplicity of design and construction, low cost, easy to maintain and freedom from trouble.
Not all engines are covered in this manual, we have chosen to publish relevant information on the earlier engines that had separate gearboxes, mostly Albions. But it is a good read as it has detailed history on the development of the various engines.
And of course there are listings for Villiers pistons in both the Cosovomo Piston catalogue and the Hepolite Piston Catalogue.
Click on the front cover below to view the 83 page manual.
It is a 15M PDF so you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.