We recently had the pleasure of welcoming over thirty members of this group to our museum.  They had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed looking for the various “curiosities” we had hidden around the museum and trying to identify them.  Altogether they spent about two hours with us and all agreed it had been a great day.

(OASIS stands for Old and Seriously Into Speed and is a loose conglomerate of members of various motoring clubs.)

One of their group was unable to join them for this occasion but wrote the following note.

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This visit to the City of Canada Bay Museum would have brought back many memories.

My dad worked for Victa as a Chief Engineering Inspector.  My father-in-law was Supply Manager for Sunbeam, who bought out Victa. 

I was an apprentice toolmaker at Rider & Bell in Rhodes from 1967-1972.  We made the brass helmets up until they introduced the fibreglass ones – then we made half-helmet for wall planter boxes.  We also made Thriller whistles and many other whistles – Boson, dog, duck callers and a mini-thriller (can’t remember what it was called).  We also made the S/S patterned cups for Darrell Lea chocolates, plus many Easter moulds and plenty of BMC parts (that’s where my interest in Minis, Marinas and the P76 originated).  In fact, the last tool I made was a follow-on die for the clip that attached to the elastic strap (a bit like a picture rail hook) that held the spare wheel upright in the P76.

When I was studying Mechanical Engineering an engineer in Leyland brought in a photo of the drawing of the P76 bonnet, proving it was wider than the then current Holden!

All great memories and I wish I could join you, but we will only be a week away from our trip to Phillip Island, starting from our home city, Dubbo.  We do quite a number of visits to Sydney, as still plenty of relos live there.

Note:  Genuine helmets have a serial number plate near the rim with “Rider & Bell” engraved thereon.  I did heaps of pantograph engraving there too, including timber branding hammers, Qantas date ticketing stamps, bowlers’ badges etc.

The founder of Rider & Bell was Ted Rider and his son George continued the business.  He lived next door to the factory (it’s still there) and George was a Mayor of Concord, too.

I haven’t visited this particular museum, but the Museum of Fire at Penrith has a brass helmet and the display label was incorrect – they had “Ryder & Bell”.  I told the guy to just look inside the helmet for the serial number plate to see the correct spelling.

I believe they are worth in excess of $1500 now!

I’m happy for you to report my story and if anyone wants more info then please contact me. 

David Laing

If you want to get in touch with David, please send an email to heritage@canadabayheritage.asn.au and we will pass it on.

 

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