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Wolverhampton engine assembly shop ?

Posted By: Rohan

Wolverhampton engine assembly shop ? - 09/14/18 9:51 pm

Some recent discussions centred on Wolverhamptons' role in assembling engines and gearboxs for Norton Commandos,
circa 1969 to 1976, so many tens of thousands were made in this time.

This would be in the old Villiers factory in Marston Rd, now renamed as Norton Villiers.
Are there any Commando era photos of inside this engine assembly shop anywhere, they seem conspicuous by their absence ?

The Wolverhampton history website mentions that 'approx 80 bikes per week were assembled into Commandos in Wolverhampton,
and the rest of the engines/gearboxes were transported overnight to Andover', where they were assembled into Commandos.

So, is there any way of determining which bikes were built where ?
Probably only of academic interest, but it would ne nice to dot all the iiiii's and cross all the tttttt's.

Also, how were they transported to Andover - by lorry - but engines in particular are fragile items,
they'd have needed to be crated or in tubs or on trolleys ?
And are heavy in quantity, were they craned on/off ?
Did Norton Villiers own their own lorries, or a local transport firm do this.

All the questions the history books never address..

Pics of engine assembly areas at Plumstead seem to be somewhat lacking too ?
Pics of the old Villiers assembly operation are plentiful - but they did operate there for 50+ years...
And proudly showed it off.

[Linked Image]

???

Posted By: Rohan

Re: Wolverhampton engine assembly shop ? - 09/14/18 10:15 pm

No need to guess how/who Triumph used to move their bikes.


https://i2-prod.birminghammail.co.u...ERNATES/s1227b/Triumph-motorcycles-9.jpg

Edit.
How did they stop the bikes all bumping into each other ??
Posted By: Triless

Re: Wolverhampton engine assembly shop ? - 09/14/18 11:10 pm

I believe the letter P on crankcases denotes Plumstead built engines, but crankcases such stamped would have been moved on when operations at Plumstead ceased ! I personally believe that things were chaotic with all the premise changes at that time continuation of records wasn't considered as important as getting production up to volume !
Posted By: Rohan

Re: Wolverhampton engine assembly shop ? - 09/15/18 1:27 am

There is mention someplace the 1st Commando engine number that was Wolverhampton built.
And they mention dropping the /P for them.

They also mention that something like 300 or 400 engines came up from Plumstead with the move.

There is also the minor matter that Villiers kept building stationary engines after the Norton Villiers takeover,
and that this continued after the demise of NVT, under the name of Wolverhamption Industrial Engines Ltd,
(from the same address ?).

Posted By: Rohan

Re: Wolverhampton engine assembly shop ? - 09/16/18 7:54 am

Pics of Tri*mph engines built at Meriden at this time aren't too difficult to find.
It even mentions the engine builders name was Len...

https://c7.alamy.com/comp/G80GED/bu...rs-triumph-motorcycle-factory-G80GED.jpg

Perhaps the chaps at Wolverhampton were camera shy ?
Or off limits ?
Posted By: Triless

Re: Wolverhampton engine assembly shop ? - 09/16/18 10:01 am

Nope ! Just second echelon !
Posted By: Rohan

Re: Wolverhampton engine assembly shop ? - 09/16/18 9:37 pm

That doesn't explain the total lack of photos though.....
Posted By: Triless

Re: Wolverhampton engine assembly shop ? - 09/16/18 10:42 pm

I was being a bit "tongue in cheek ", Rohan . But I do think the shortage of skilled workmen in the British motorcycle industry was a bit endemic at this time ! I think it was in Len Mosely's book about Velocette, that he said soon as they had trained a lad up to a proficient standard, they went to higher paying jobs in the car industry ! I also think this was related to certain quality control issues, too, and outdated factory layouts weren't conducive to volume production which was the aim . After a rather complicated factory layout at Plumstead, Norton's facilities at Wolverhampton and Andover were a bit scattered !
Posted By: Rohan

Re: Wolverhampton engine assembly shop ? - 09/17/18 9:08 pm

Originally Posted by Triless
I was being a bit "tongue in cheek ", Rohan .


Yes I gathered that, and I thought I'd skirt around that bit.
But in some respects you are right - the press took the side of the folks at Meriden, and Mr Poore was portrayed as the big bad industrialist....

'Scattered' sure sums up the british motorcycle industry generally, although in WW2 such separation helped avoid being easily bombed into oblivion.
Small enterprises that grew into large businesses often cannot easily expand all under the same roof explains much of the scattered nature,
and finding cheapish premises for struggling manufacturers adds another element to that story.

Posted By: Rohan

Re: Wolverhampton engine assembly shop ? - 09/19/18 9:32 pm

This is how Villiers transported engines.
In 1959, but to customers.

[Linked Image]

This also happens to be in Australia...
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