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Fuel tank from an Aurora motorcycle

Date made: 1920

Description: A fuel tank from an Aurora motorcycle, the only motorcycle commercially produced on the Isle of Man. The firm was started by J. Graham Oates, First World War veteran, Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT) rider and adventurer. Oates quickly lost interest in the firm and it was not a success. The donor's father Thomas Arthur Corlett (b.1903) worked for him at the Aurora factory in Ramsey briefly in 1920. Many years later (approx 1951) he noticed this tank, still with Aurora decals, in George Young's scrap yard in Ramsey and was able to acquire it (the donor was with him on that occasion). Two 'Aurora' decals still adhering (one each side) and on top a rectangular decal 'The manufacturers of the Aurora motorcycle recommend ... Mobil B'.

(Pp. 357-358. Motorcycle Sport, August 1988) : An Aurora brand motorcycle was made in the Isle of Man. Machines were planned for the 1920 TT. Jimmy Oates built a machine known as a Moonbeam, probably in the backyard of his family home, 5 Mona Terrace, Douglas. He changed the name to Aurora when he went to the Picture House and saw a film, Aurora Borealis. He was supported in his venture by his father who rode with him on Good Friday 1919 on a ride to the summit of Snaefell. The father sat on a cushion placed over the rear carrier. They went straight up the hill. Oates went into partnership with George Parsons Crellin of Ballachurry, near Ramsey, who injected £500 of venture capital. A workshop was established in Queen’s Hall, Ramsey. The first sale was made to someone in Scotland. Two machines, fitted with Dalm engines, were entered for the Jnr TT of 1920. Jimmy Oates failed to qualify on one but Norman Sclater from Liverpool managed to do so on the other. He retired at Hillberry on the first lap of the race. There was a tendency for bits of the machine to fall off. Oates left the firm and the Island and soon afterwards it closed because of financial problems.

See Sound Archive recording SA 0135 - Thomas Arthur Corlett talks about the manufacture of Aurora motorcycles in Douglas and Ramsey.

Measurements: 55cm x 25cm x 10cm

Materials: metal: iron, steel, paint: other

Object name: tank

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 2018-0075

Subject tags : #TT&MOTORSPORT


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