Brief History of the Marque: Rex Acme
Founded by brothers William and Harold Williamson as a car manufacturer in Coventry in 1899. In 1904 they turned to motorcycles building 456cc singles and 726cc twins. Made the first telescopic forks in 1906, and introduced several other innovations including rotary-valve engines and in 1908 were the first to angle the top tube downward to lower the riding position. Company fired the founders in 1911 and under new boss George Hemingway went on to make own engines, as well as producing a series of JAP-powered machines for Premier. Took over Coventry-Acme in 1919 to become Rex-Acme in 1922. The range included 15 models by 1926, from 172cc to 746cc capacity, but as the depression deepened sales decreased. Sidecar manufacturer Mills-Fulford purchased the company in 1932, but dropped motorcycle production the following year and shortly thereafter ceased manufacture of sidecars.
Much of the information above courtesy Ron Skala rskala at televardot com
October 21, 2001
More Rex-Acme History
- 1921 A new marque was started with a lightweight model. This was either single or two-speed with a two-stroke Morris engine. They also produced a JAP or Blackburne four-stroke. Unusually, there was also the adoption of the locally made CAM engine with very large finning and a detachable head.
- 1922 Brought the introduction of a miniature with a 170cc two-stroke engine. It shared many similarities with the Hobart and Wee MacGregor machines.
- 1924 Rex-Acme motorcycles were successfully raced at the Belgium and Ulster Grand Prix. They also unveiled 250cc and 350cc ohv models with Blackburne engines. Wal Handley, who was one of the best riders and tuners of the times, guided the company in its racing exploits. He later became Works Manager at the Earlsdon factory.
- 1926 Handley's strong influence saw the arrival of a wider range, with many options available. A new four-stroke, with a 173cc ohv AKD engine and Albion three-speed gearbox, replaced the miniature two-stroke.
- 1927 There were good results at the TT, when Handley won the Lightweight; as well as the world one-hour record - 91.21 miles/145.94km covered in the sixty minutes.
- 1929 The depression was approaching, Handley had moved on and Rex-Acme was in the doldrums. In an effort to turn things around they produced a plethora of models and there were at least seventeen different ones on offer that year.
- The depression years. Rex-Acme still offered their full list plus a range of others using Villiers, Blackburne, JAP and Sturmey-Archer engines, as well as a speedway model.
- 1931 A further range was announced, including one with a Rudge Python engine, but it was never built as production came to an end.
- 1932 The name had been bought by sidecar manufacturer Mills-Fulford, who launched models using JAP engines.
1933 Two more models were added, with Villiers and JAP engines, but later
that year motorcycle production stopped and sidecar manufacture
ceased shortly afterwards.
Thu May 14 2009
jiboiajogo at yahoo.com.br
Rex Acme Barr & Stroud 350cc engined
I would like to have a cutaway drawing of the Barr & Stoud motorcycle engine, showing clearly the rotary sleeve valve and its way of work.
Rio de Janeiro
Mon Dec 29 2008
tkplant at eircom.net
Rex Acme Unknown
Can you please help me to identify the motorcycle in the attached photo.
[Photo was originally titled "Joe Murphy.jpg"]
Wed Nov 07 2007
r.jackson at tauntondeane.gov.uk
Does anyone know WHERE in Coventry the Rex factory was? I believe it was Osborne Road, but when did it cease to be the Rex base, and what did the factory produce after Rex closed?
Thu Sep 06 2007
p.poole2007 at tiscali.co.uk
hi,i have just aquired an old motorcycle of about 1926,i have been told its either a rex-acme or a rex engine no is H2396, frame no 30888,it has an albion gearbox no ZE560,hope someone can help,thank you.
Image is in the Rex-Acme gallery. Ed.
Mon Aug 27 2007
p.poole2007 at tiscali.co.uk
hello,have you any literature on the rex-acme minor 170cc,photos and technical info as well.thank you.
Sat May 05 2007
anthony.groves at tesco.net
1928 Rex Acme
I have one, how much is it worth?
See the page on Vintage Motorcycle Prices
Fri Oct 21 2005
sezammy at hotmaildot com
Or is it an Ackland of Southampton? My info, and I suspect it is wrong, is that Ackland were acquired by Rex-Acme [?Rex & not Rex-Acme] and info that Ackland existed from 1914-1924 is quite wrong in which case where did Tragatsch get his info. Any thoughts? Bruce Main-Smith
July 11, 2000
I am currently the owner of a Rex Acme , and am in the process of restoring it. Can any one give any info of the 147 2t Rex Acme with a v10c engine, or any info on the history of Rex Acme. -- Thanks -- RobBowden1 at aoldot com
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