Here's an interesting relic, rescued about 5 years ago from a swap meet in Clare, in the mid-north of South Australia. Luckily the first three digits of the registration number were decipherable, and made it easy to date the remains to 1914. In keeping with other Lewis motorcycles of the period, the frame is all Chater Lea components, and the number under the pedal bracket fits into the usual Lewis sequence. No problems. But hold on, what about those front forks? The standard Lewis item was the Chater Lea fork with the leading links controlled by a coil spring up near the headstem. This machine was clearly fitted with the fork most commonly seen on LMCs, with the springs for the leading links carried down the rear of the main fork. Most uncommon, but as with all Australian manufacturers, deviation from catalogue specifications should be expected. Another possibility is that the machine was assembled by Lewis but sold by someone else. Sadly, the registration records of the period do not list makes of machines, only owners.
Although the frame has had the hacksaw taken to it at some stage, it is actually in pretty good condition. The bracket on the tank rail (seen hanging down, but should project out to the right) is for the change-speed quadrant for an Armstrong 3-speed hub. I know, because the one on the shelf in the shed fitted like a glove! A bit of measuring and comparing other bikes and photos soon had the machine identified as a V-twin. Lewis were using the 6 h.p. Precision at the time, although during the war they switched to using the 6 h.p. JAP. After a bit of asking around, I came up with a suitable Precision motor which also seems to date from 1914. The photo doesn't show the hole in the bottom of the crankcase, nor the worn bores of the thin-walled barrels.
At present the bike leans against the back bench in the shed. I can't get excited about hub gears, so a pair of heavy-weight Chater Lea wheels are resting with it. I keep an eye out for a tank and other bits. A long-term project, but a rare machine.