Australian Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Sphinx Motorcycles, Adelaide

Sphinx by A D Tyler of Adelaide

Image courtesy Terry Parker of the VVMCSA.

Manufactured by A.D.Tyler of Sphinx Motor Co, with address listed as Peel Street, Adelaide and Bent Street, Adelaide from c.1903 to 1912.

In 1903-04 they produced the Sphinx Brown, with an engine from Brown in the UK. Later they built water-cooled versions of the Sphinx using engines from Advance.

A fire at the works in Peel Street in May 1904 brought a halt to proceedings after only a dozen or so machines had been built.

The premises presented a sorry spectacle after the fire had been extinguished. The ground floor was almost covered with the remains of what were once costly motor bicycles and parts. The steel rims were doubled up like pieces of bent hoopiron, the tyres had completely disappeared, and altogether the bicycles looked as if they had been tossed aside on some rubbish heap.

The Advertiser, Mon 23 May 1904

The firm restarted in 1907 (possibly in Bent St) marketing imported Advance motorcycles and tricars which they rebranded. They ceased trading in 1912 or 1913.

"Motor Bicycle Handicap (two laps, open to club members only - A D Tyler, Sphinx, 2¾ hp, scr."
"Car Stopping Competition - A. D. Tyler, (Sphinx, 8 hp)."
"Starting Competition (for motor cars) - A. D. Tyler (Sphinx Brown, 8 h.p.)"

The Register (Adelaide) Monday 14 November 1904

N.B. There was a W. Tyler, a motorcycle dealer of Flinders St Adelaide 1906-1908, and a Sphinx bicycle was built in Perth WA in that era. However, very little advertising appears in Trove about A.D.Tyler or Sphinx Motor Co.

Sources: OTTW, Trove NLA, Simon Fleming,, et al

Other marques with the Sphinx name: Disambiguation

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