Shannons will feature a true rarity in the form of a 1912 Peerless single at their 2020 Winter Timed Online Auction this 19-26 August.
The Peerless was the product of A.G. Healing & Co. Pty. Ltd., who had started motorcycle production in 1910, using German-made Fafnir 3 1/2hp IOE engines in Chater Lea frames. By 1912, the Melbourne-based company was manufacturing their own frames and suspension components, while the Fafnir singles had been upgraded to side-valve units.
Australia’s largest motorcycle manufacturer in the pre- and post-WWI era, A.G. Healing & Co. distributed Peerless motorcycles throughout Australia. But oddly, it seems that the Peerless name was limited to interstate sales, with bikes sold within Victoria carrying different branding.
The success of the Peerless in the nascent Australian motorcycle market can be attributed to the fact that they were made to suit local conditions, with dust-proof engines and repositioned magnetos, as well as larger fuel tanks and higher ground clearance than most imported motorcycles. Improvements over the years included engines upgraded to Precision and JAP v-twins, saddle tanks and the addition of 3-speed gearboxes.
Between 1910 and 1923, thousands of Peerless motorcycles were produced, but early examples are rare today, with only four or five 1912 models thought to still be in existence.
The example on offer through Shannons was formerly owned by Robert Saward, author of the book ‘A-Z of Australian-made motorcycles 1893-1942’. The frame number points to it being one of the earliest from the 1912-1914 period, probably constructed in August-September 1912.
Well known in veteran motorcycling circles, the bike has participated in a number of National Veteran Rallies, including the 2003 event held in Wangaratta, the 2005 event in the Barossa Valley and the 2013 event in Parkes. More recently, the owner rode the Peerless in the 2014 Adelaide to Darwin Centenary Veteran Rally, but retired and the bike has spent the last few years off the road.
While it runs a period-correct Fafnir 3 1/2hp motor and retains a non-working Lucas acetylene lamp, P&H bulb horn and period-style saddle bags, this bike’s regular use saw a number of more modern features added over the years, including a rear vision mirror and modern lights and reflectors.
Eligible for the upcoming National Veteran Motorcycle Rally to be held in Manjimup, WA on 17-22 October, 2021, the Peerless would also make a fabulous club or display motorcycle.
Guiding range is $15,000 - $20,000.
Twelve other motorcycles have been consigned for this auction, covering mainly pre- and post-WWII British classics, as well as Ducatis and a rare Puch SGS 250. The bikes are part of a 149-lot auction that includes automobiles, commercial vehicles, petroliana, garagenalia, collectables and heritage number plates.
Consignments are located in both Sydney and Melbourne, with the Sydney showroom open for inspections under reduced hours, but the Melbourne showroom is closed under Stage 4 COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
For more information on individual lots and further details on the 2020 Winter Timed Online Auction, go to: https://www.shannons.com.au/
NOTE: As an Australian-made heritage object, the Peerless is subject to the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act (1986), which means any overseas purchaser may need to obtain an export permit to ship the bike outside Australia.