Andrew Brockhoff from Coober Pedy contacted me regarding a 500cc 1967 Lilac R92 Electra. His machine is Frame No,F9-1121, Engine No. R2-1121. It is believed to have been one of six of this model imported into Australia with this engine number being the highest in that batch. Andrew had purchased this from the family of the deceased Wal Smith of Hornsby Heights who had receipts dating back to when he purchased the machine in 1992. He is attempting to trace the earlier history of the bike. It has been established that it had previously been purchased from a dealer in Lismore. Andrew has been in contact with Ralph Walker, the creator of the Marusho/ Lilac Register in the USA. The Lilac Co. Ltd is believed to have ceased production in 1967 and was known as Marusho in the USA. In attempting to trace the machine’s history Andrew has ascertained that of the six imported, two were obtained by Modak Motorcycles, Melbourne. David Beanham’s uncle, Harry Beanham was the proprietor of All Parts and I seem to recall several Lilacs at the auction held after his death. I also contacted David who told me that his uncle had found the Lilac machines to be of a technical interest. He accumulated a few of them and spent a considerable amount of time attempting to get them to run correctly. David’s father Robert imported two of the Lilac 500 cc machines and he believes that only 130 of these bikes were made. One of those two his father purchased later went to the UK and was listed for sale in a Bonhams Auction in 2007. David tells me that this model had a problem in that they sheared the bolts securing the flywheel. His recollection is that the 250cc machines were sold by Le Mans Motors, Sydney.
An article on the R92 Electra was published in Two Wheels, May 1968 indicates that the test bike was supplied by Mahler Motors, 464 Pitt St, Sydney. This business is believed to have closed in 1980. The test report is a favorable one and does appear to indicate that this is a new model recently released in Australia. Perhaps with the factory supposedly closing the same year there might not have been any further examples of this model coming into the country. Editor Jim was able to enlighten me here and advise that Bill Mahler was the Lilac Agent which was set into the railway wall almost opposite Omodei’s. The proprietor was actually Wilhelm (Bill) Mahler and that this business may have later been incorporated into London Trading.
Andrew is seeking contact with anyone who might be able to assist with the location of records from Mahler’s Motors or elsewhere that might shed some light on the importation and or previous owners. He would also like to hear from others who have owned such a machine as well the opportunity to purchase an early 250 V twin Lilac.He can be contacted by email on char[email protected] or phone 08 8672 5792. See you next issue, Pete
LEFT AND ABOVE Lilac R92 Electra 1967.