Re­turn of the Ner-a-car

Old Bike Australasia - - OUT’N’ABOUT -

Gaven Dall’Osto

has been do­ing the rounds again. Here’s his lat­est dis­cov­ery... Many years ago (Life Mem­ber of the HMCCQ) John Fin­glas shared a pri­vate mu­seum with his dad Jack. They had over 100 bikes in the col­lec­tion and amongst them was a 1923 Ner-a-car. Th­ese were not very com­mon in Australia at the time and although com­plete in a vis­ual sense it still needed a few hard- to-source com­po­nents to have it on the road. Back then there was a mo­ment in time where the Fin­glas fam­ily had the Ner-a car on dis­play at a public event when the very first Surfers Par­adise Me­ter Maid, An­nette Welch also was in at­ten­dance. An­nette sat side-sad­dle on the Ner-a-car for a photo which made the news­pa­per and John still has a copy of that photo to­day. I won­der if An­nette ever thought that her photo would once again be pub­lished in a mo­tor­cy­cle mag­a­zine in 2015. Iron­i­cally it ap­pears that re­cent me­dia re­ports pre­dict that me­ter maids are soon to dis­ap­pear from Surfers Par­adise streets for­ever. Un­for­tu­nately some time af­ter that day the mu­seum was dis­banded and John had a one-day sale to thin the col­lec­tion to just his per­sonal se­lec­tion. The Ner-a-car was one that was sold all those years ago. Re­cently though, John was con­tacted by some­one who be­lieved he had just ac­quired what was John’s old Ner-a-car. A meet­ing was planned for a Satur­day morn­ing where the new owner Bob Pritchard would bring the Ner-a-car to John’s house for con­fir­ma­tion and a re­u­nion. I went along that day to record the event. Bob was a panel beater and had been work­ing on some old Es­sex cars for a col­lec­tor when he no­ticed a small twowheeled ma­chine un­der a can­vas sheet. Bob had to sat­isfy his cu­rios­ity and asked ‘What ‘s that un­der the sheet?’ “It’s an old Nera-car I bought years ago” was the re­ply. Long story short, Bob was very in­ter­ested and a deal was done. He man­aged to find out that it was part of John’s mu­seum sale and tracked down John which set the scene for the re­u­nion. The bike was pretty much ex­actly as it was when it was sold and in­cluded a few boxes of loose parts. There seemed to be no de­te­ri­o­ra­tion at all over this pe­riod of stor­age. The paint and panel work were in in­cred­i­bly good con­di­tion. Restora­tion is un­der way and the plan is to have it on the road by the end of the year. Bob’s son Barry is also in­volved and has con­vinced his Dad to leave the patina in­tact and just go about hav­ing the me­chan­i­cals re­stored. They have al­ready done ex­ten­sive re­search and have sourced miss­ing kick start gears. Barry in­forms me that this ma­chine was in fact an Amer­i­can model circa 1923. The Ner-a-car is a unique and in­ter­est­ing ma­chine with a ‘C’ sec­tion chas­sis, large mud­guards, step through de­sign and a clever cen­tre hub steer­ing sys­tem. Sort of half mo­tor car, half mo­tor cy­cle in its build con­struc­tion. Low slung with a com­fort­able rid­ing po­si­tion it was ap­par­ently very easy to ride and was also ideal for the lady mo­tor cy­clist. Ner-a-car was also made in the UK un­der li­cense but again it had a very short pro­duc­tion life. A truly won­der­ful day when old friends get re­united, new friends are made and an old mo­tor cy­cle looks like com­ing back to life.

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