1939 Dunelt Tradesman’s Carrier Model C/1

1939 Dunelt Tradesman’s Carrier Model C/1

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This 1939 Dunelt carrier cycle was sympathetically restored by Dave, the previous owner, and repainted in its original green with its front name transfer intact.

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As Dave lives in Bristol, he dropped it off for me to me when I had a Cyclemaster Museum display at the Bristol Classic Bike Show in Shepton Mallet. (Greg Warrick, great-grandson of John Warrick, cycle and tricycle manufacturer, examining one of my bikes in above photo).

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HISTORY OF DUNELT CYCLES

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Dunford & Elliott (Sheffield) Ltd,

Bath St, Snow Hill, Birmingham 4

Also at

Attercliffe Wharf Works, Sheffield

Dunelt Cycle Co Ltd

Rabone Lane, Smethwick, Birmingham 40

Dunford & Elliott (Sheffield) Ltd started in 1902 as steel-makers. Their Birmingham factory was established in order to make components for car manufacturers. From 1919, motorcycles were built at the Birmingham, and both bicycle and motorcycle sales were impressive.

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I very briefly owned the 1924 Dunelt, above, three years ago when I bought it on behalf of a customer. The ‘super-charged’ Model K in the advert below is from 1926.

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During the 1920s the company also marketed a variety of delivery vehicles based around motorcycle combinations. A van, a small van, truck and box carrier were advertised until 1929. They were powered by Dunelt’s own 499cc single cylinder engine.

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The advantage of a motorcycle combination with a commercial box was that the sidecar chassis allowed an alternative body to be fitted for weekend use; so you could take the family to the seaside at weekends, as in the picture below.

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But the three-wheeler commercial vehicle market was a difficult one for all motorcycle manufacturers, and Dunelt did not have the success they wished for in this area. From 1929, most of the combinations were discontinued and, by 1930, they also stopped producing their own engines. Sturmey Archer and Villiers units were used instead and, from 1933, they also fitted Rudge Python and JAP engines. All manufacturers were re-assessing their businesses as a result of the economic climate. and Dunelt’s Birmingham factory closed in 1931.

Motorcycle production ceased in 1935, though their cycle business continued.

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In 1956 the marque name was briefly revived with a Dunelt Reynolds moped exhibited at the Earls Court show, but it did not go into full production. Dunelt cycles, however, sold well in the fifties, and TI/Raleigh used the Dunelt marque for American exports. Compare the sixties American poster below with the 1954 British advert above!

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The October 2009 issue of Icenicam magazine carried an article on Raynal, providing information on Raynal’s purchase of Dunelt Cycles. With their permission, I’ve added the following relevant extracts to this Dunelt history. Please bear in mind that the following is copyrighted to Icenicam:

Raynal purchased the rights to Dunelt Cycles in 1937, buying into an established brand name, and ready access to its network of retailers. 1938 advertising finds the Dunelt Cycle Co now listed at Raynal’s address at Woodburn Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, 21.

Raynal was bought out by Tube Investments in 1950. TI acquired Raynal purely to secure the Dunelt Cycles brand, and in 1951 we find the business now listing its office address as Dunelt Cycle Co Ltd, Cornwall Road, Smethwick, Bimingham 40 (though only the next road down from the old Raynal cycle works, so the manufacturing didn’t really appear to have moved at all).

TI Reynolds Tube Manipulators produced a series of prototype model mopeds in the mid 1950s, one version of which, fitted with a Rex engine, became listed under the Dunelt brand – though never actually went into production.

February 1959 finds Dunelt Cycle Co Ltd registered from Rabone Lane, Smethwick, Birmingham 40, though apparently no more than an office from another side of the old Raynal factory block, which now seems to have been renamed ‘Attercliffe Works’ in some reflection back to Dunford & Elliott’s history from that area of Sheffield.

Dunelt branded cycles continued to be sold up to the last years of the 1960s, though headstock badges reveal these later machines of Nottingham as the brand transferred to Raleigh, so he Raynal factory would appear to have been disposed of sometime during the decade.

To download the latest issue of the superb Icenicam magazine, PLEASE CLICK HERE

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A word of thanks to Pooks Bookshop. I can’t afford to buy all the brochures I’ve uploaded onto these museum websites. Though I buy some, I photograph a lot of them at autojumbles and bike shows. I often get shouted at by stall-holders. It’s quite embarrassing. But Pooks always turn a blind eye to my photographing, and I always buy some other brochures from them to even the score. The Dunelt Commercial Van brochures on this page were photographed with my iphone at Stafford Classic Bike Show.

Published on February 15, 2009 at 9:03 am  Leave a Comment  

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