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1905 Chater Lea JAP Pictures

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Many thanks to Howard Burrows for these “before and after” pictures of his bike and the piece of history below:

“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 “JAP” 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!”

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  • Year: 1905
  • Decade: 1900s
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