Australian & NZ Motorcycles

Foulis Motorcycles

W. B. Foulis of Sydney built at least two motorcycles, of 2½ and 7-8 h.p., in 1909 and 1910. He also built an automobile he named the "Roo" fitted with a horizontally opposed twin-cylinder engine of his own design and construction which first appeared in 1910. In 1917 William Foulis formed a partnership with Rupert Jeffkins, an automobile racer who had competed in the Indianapolis 500 of 1912, which Rupert and Ralph DePalma led for the first 195 (of 200) laps before their car blew up. They pushed the car across the finish line and still finished in 11th place, thus achieving world fame. The Roo project was abandoned after the third car was built due to the onset of war.

In the 1930s Foulis produced flat-four engines for Southern Cross cars. The chairman of that company was Sir Charles Kingsford Smith - the firm ceased production in 1935 after he vanished over the Bay of Bengal.[1]

The following is a list of entries received by the Motor Cycle Club of New South Wales for its two days' reliability trial to Goulburn and back... Class A, up to 3-h.p.: R. R. Upcroft, 1¼ Motosacoche; L A Simpson, 1¼ Motosacoche; S Daldwin, 2 Moto Reve; W. Foulis, 2½ Foulis;...

The Sydney Morning Herald Fri 1 Oct 1909
(Foulis finished in 7th place with a loss of 299 points.)


The Western Suburbs Motor Cycle Club held a speed judging competition on Saturday... The entries were as follow:— ... W. Foulis, 7-8-h.p. Foulis; ...

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW) Wed 7 Sep 1910


...departed on a trial trip for Melbourne. The 'Roo' is a neat little runabout, which bas been built entirely in Sydney by the well-known motor engineer, Mr. W. B. Foulis. It is 2-cylinder opposed engine, with a bore of 3 9-16ths and a stroke of 4¾ inch, developing about 20 h.p. The construction is exceedingly light, yet substantial, and the car has shown herself capable of a good turn of speed.

Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) Wed 19 Sep 1917

Sources: Trove NLA, Wikipedia.

Notes. 1. The "Smithy" story as related by Wikipedia (2021) is not quite accurate. See Queensland Vintage Car magazine Feb 2017 available as a PDF at Shannons.

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