A Small Australian Collection Grows

1 / 2
5 HP Bartram.
2 / 2
12 HP Root & Vandervoort.

6 Hill Street Leichhardt NSW 2040 Australia e-mail

Some of you may remember my article in the July 2000 edition of
GEM. Since that article was written a few more engines have
followed me home, including two large and interesting ones.

First up is my 1915 Bartram. It was built by Kelly and Lewis in
Victoria for J. Bartram & Son in Melbourne, who were large
machinery merchants and distributors. Kelly & Lewis built
engines for a number of different companies (including names such
as Bartram, Hornsby and Triumph). My Bartram is a type A-K and is
mounted on the original factory transport which has ‘J. Bartram
& Son Melbourne’ cast into the wheel hubs. Cooling is via a
large water tank with a screen for the water to run down. The water
is circulated by a water pump driven off the camshaft, this
eccentric also has the magneto flick attached. It is a vertical hit
and miss engine, which is governed by not allowing the intake valve
to open. The big end is splash lubricated, the piston has a drip
oiler, and the main bearings have their own oiling points and also
get some of the splash lubrication. The ignition is from a high
tension flick type Dixie magneto. My parents (Michael and Gwen
Livingstone) paid the deposit on this engine as my 30th birthday
present. They also brought it up from the country for me after
picking it up, a round trip of 1000 kilometers. It was seized when
I got it home, but after about four hours work I had it running.
This engine had won best original engine at a show in 1996, but had
been stored outside for some time. The water tank has a small leak,
which meant it would fill with water during the rain, then slowly
leak out of the timber frame of the transport. This has resulted in
very rotted timber under the tank. I now have two nice beams ready
to go under the engine, and the fuel and water tanks are currently
being repaired. I hope to soon have this engine ready to show. It
is currently stored at my friends Ron and Liz Sullivan’s place
due to my lack of space.

The other large engine to come into my life just shows how badly
this ‘old iron’ disease can take you. I was e-mailed about
some engines for sale, which were not too far from Sydney, so I
went up to have a look. I was after something small, as I have very
limited space in my yard. Sitting out front, wrapped in a tarp was
a large engine. I made a quick peek under the tarp, decided it was
too big, and went to look at some smaller engines.

On my next trip up there (Ron had bought an engine, so I went up
for another look) we took the tarp off the big engine for a proper
look. It turned out to be a large, hopper cooled, Root and
Vandervoort Triumph line engine in fairly good condition. I took a
number of photos of the beautiful looking engine, but decided it
was too big for me. Ron said ‘One of us will eventually end up
with that big engine.’ It was thought that this engine was
around 8HP or larger, but its true rating was unknown, as the tag
is missing.

On the trip home, and in the following few days, I thought about
the R&V. Finally I couldn’t stand it anymore and rang up
and made an offer on it. So I am now the proud owner of a R&V.
The next weekend I made a trip up to work out how to get it home. I
had my (well it is my father’s) 6×4 trailer with me, so I
thought I might as well bring part of it home.

I must add at this point that the engine is painted ghastly
colours. It had been a garden ornament during recent years, and has
about six layers of house paint covering every part of it. This
appears to have protected the engine extremely well, but it does
make removing parts very difficult. The other modification to the
engine is that it has been converted to high tension. The spark
plug adapter is very nicely done, but the mount for a high tension
flick magneto looks awful, though it obviously worked.

On the first trip I brought home the piston and rod, rocker arm
and pushrod, and the flywheels and crank. The flywheels and crank
almost completely filled the trailer, but at least I had part of
the engine home.

Armed with the engine number and some part numbers, I contacted
Peter Lowe who is compiling a register of surviving R&V
engines, and trying to piece together the history of these engines.
I gave him the engine number (which is GL46667) and he happily
informed me that I did not have an 8HP R&V, but a 12HP. I was
pretty excited at this news (as was he), as so far he knows of only
two surviving 12HP engines mine and one in the USA. As far as is
known, 12HP is the largest surviving size, but I am sure there are
some more large R&V engines out there.

If anyone would like to be added to the register please contact
Peter Lowe, 9 Jamefield Drive, MacLean, 2463, Australia.

On the next trip I brought home the rest of the engine. This
really made the trailer sit down, but it did not seem to worry my
old Ford, and the engine sure looked impressive traveling along
behind me.

Now that I have the engine at home I am making slow progress on
its restoration. I hope one day soon to be able to write an article
about its successful restoration. I do need some help, as I am
missing a few parts. The most pressing problem is the fact that the
governor has been snapped off the engine, leaving only the mount.
So I am missing the entire assembly. I am also missing the
crank-guard, magneto, and the air pipes off the kerosene
attachment. The only thing which is really keeping me from getting
the engine going is the missing governor.

If anyone can help me with locating any parts, or information,
or would just like to discuss Root and Vandervoort engines, please
contact me.

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