Australian & NZ Motorcycles

Planet Motorcycles, Australia

John Oliver of Planet Cycle Works in High Street Kew, Melbourne, had produced conventional motorcycles under the Planet and Planet Aero marques. His son Monty related that John had arrived home a little the worse for wear after a session at the local, then sat and drew up the plans for this behemoth on a piece of brown paper - reminiscent of another Australian story, the sketch of the Vincent V-twin on the back of a beer coaster (of which Phil Irving gives a rather different account). Construction took place between 1913 and 1915, and when The Planet became a reality it could reputedly achieve the very respectable speed of 85 m.p.h - but just where he found roads suitable for such extraordinary speeds is a mystery, bearing in mind that the recently set record for a run from Sydney to Melbourne averaged 18mph along the Hume Highway - a narrow dirt road lined with gum trees and rutted by carts and carriages. In the sixties and early seventies parts of the old dirt highway were still plainly visible running parallel to the two-lane concrete-coated road.

Source: Museum Victoria

Further reading: The Hume Highway with a foreword by Peter FitzSimons

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