MATUKU – Matiatia Motorboat + Villiers Engine


photo ex David Glen

Over the Xmas / NY period David snapped this nice little low wooded motorboat tucked /  wrapped up in the NW corner of Matiatia at Waiheke Island. She has  a nice sheer, anyone know her history? see below

Now If She Needs A Motor?


Mike O’Dwyer sent in these photos of a wee 7hp Villiers air cooled, diesel, hand start, with integral fuel tank, engine. Mikes not sure  of it’s date of manufacture but investigations have found it would be around the early 1960’s. It has manuals but these are un-dated.
The engine belongs to Mike’s father (who qualified as an A Grade mechanic back in the day), he fully reconditioned it in 1980 and it’s only clocked up about half an hour since.
Anyone able to date the engine & provide anymore info on them?

She would suit a small open launch……..  If anyone is interested they can contact Mike via ww and he will put them onto his father to discuss further.


25-01-2016 Update from Alan Good

The boat is named Matuku, this may not be its original name was she was renamed by her owner some years ago when she was moved to Te Matuku Bay, Waiheke Island.
Alan has advised that she is a Bailey & Lowe, c.1887, approx 30′ long, with a schooner bow. At some stage she has been re-powered with a Daedong diesel.
Amazingly she is still owned by same family, a descendant of the ‘Lowe’ in Bailey & Lowe.


16-02-2016 New photo ex Alan Good


The cleats may indicate that she may have been a yacht originally.


14 thoughts on “MATUKU – Matiatia Motorboat + Villiers Engine

  1. Interesting.I did not think this model was produced until the 1960’s.Unless you are of course refering to the D270 which preceded this model and was hard to start in comparison or the 842H engine produced by J A Prestwich Industries.Villiers did merge with JAP in 1957,taking over completely in 63-64.
    There is a knurled plug on the cylinder head and on this model a decompression lever as well.However this engine is cranked in a clockwise direction and with judicious use of the said lever while cranking,enough inertia can be transferred into the flywheel to make starting easier.
    Using the alcohol content in brake fluid to aid starting is one way(these days it’s an ether spray)however the brake fluid back then also contained castor oil which is a vegetable oil.This does not mix well with mineral oils as it coagulates and gums up the rings,so not an advisable practise.
    Like the old crank handled Lister engines used on shearing plants,(it probably got a few shearers sweating, even before picking up the comb)these Villiers require a bit of elbow grease to get them fired up,something I’m sure an engine enthusiast would find quite desirable.


  2. I had quite a bit to do with those engines in the 1950’s. There is a large knurled plug on the cylinder head cover that you charge with lube oil then press down sharply, this loads the intake with oil to help raise compression (I preferred to use brake fluid) then crank vigorously. An added disadvantage was the left handed(anti-clockwise crank). This was because the crank went through the camshaft to obtain a higher cranking speed. Ronnie Lowe in Whangarei installed one in a replica Joshua Slocum “Spray” built by an American in Russel 1963. The boat was named “Joshua S” and is still sailing in Aus. waters.
    As an engine they left a lot to be desired.


  3. 1887 is wide of the mark. Bailey & Lowe started in business in 1899 and specialised in this “retro” schooner bow for a while for their launches, but it become old hat very quickly. Logan Bros’ little launches were very similar (but much slinkier) until about 1902. She looks quite like BILLY RICHARDSON, built by Bailey & Lowe in 1903 and CACHALOT which was on the hard in Milford for a long time then sold.


  4. A bond three wheeler eh, perhaps one day we can have a page dedicated to the interesting other transport hidden in various woodies garages…..Morgans have a good percentage of timber in them 🙂


  5. Unusual Villiers! Their two-strokes used to be everywhere. I have fond memories of the 6E 197cc single in my 1952 Bond three-wheeler and the excellent 4T 250cc twin in my 1964 Greeves Essex bike as well as the Villiers carbs on Seagull outboards.
    The little launch would seem to be very old, say 1900-1910, with her counter bobbed because of decayed hood ends. The half-round moulding as a spray rail indicates an early build. Love to see her bow, get an idea of her dimensions and whether or not she’s single skin or diagonal.


  6. I did not know that Villiers made small diesel engines. I’m familiar with similar vintage Petter and Lister diesels, but Villiers were to me 2-stroke petrol engine manufacturers mainly for motor bikes.


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