Vivian Lewis Limited: the new business plan, 1924

With the take over of Vivian Lewis Limited by Fred Mann, his business Mann's Motors Ltd, and associated interests, it was clear that changes were on the way for the old company. The following advertisement appeared in the Melbourne newspaper The Argus on Monday March 24, 1924:

ADELAIDE

ONE OF THE MOST, EXTENSIVE,UP-TO-DATE,
And ELABORATE MOTOR ESTABLISHMENTS
IN THE CITY OF ADELAIDE
(Showrooms, Garage, Offices, Storerooms, &c),
Combined with
VERY EXTENSIVE
MANUFACTURING and ENGINEERING
PREMISES.

By Direction of
VIVIAN LEWIS LIMITED,
Who do not Now Require the Major Portion of
Their Huge Premises, in View of the Fact that
They are Relinquishing Body Building, Engi-
neering, and the Manufacture of Motor-cycles,
and Have Disposed of Their Bicycle Business in
Order to Concentrate on Their well-known Olds
mobile Car and Reo Truck Agencies.

WILKINSON, SANDO, AND WYLES LIMITED
will SELL by PUBLIC AUCTION, at the
Wool Exchange, Adelaide, on Wednesday, 9th
APRIL, at half past two o'clock.

EITHER PORTION OR THE WHOLE of these
very extensive premises, comprising:-
LARGE 2-STORY BUILDING, substantially
constructed of stone, handsomely equipped
as FIRST-CLASS SHOWROOMS for MOTOR
CARS, MOTOR-CYCLES, and ACCESSORIES,
with SPACIOUS PLATE-GLASS SHOW WIN-
DOWS, very up to date, and HANDSOMELY
APPOINTED OFFICES.
HUGE GARAGE, with splendid natural light-
ing and ventilation.
LOFTY and UP-TO-DATE FACTORY, substan-
tially built of brick, with splendid natural
lighting and ventilation, comprising AS-
SEMBLING and MACHINE ROOMS, BODY
BUILDING and PAINT SHOPS, SMITHY,
&c. completely equipped with 2 ton electric
lift and ample conveniences for employees.
PAIR SUBSTANTIAL 6-ROOMED STONE
HOUSES, in excellent order, let to
good tenants - A VALUABLE ADJUNCT TO THE
MAIN PREMISES FOR THE PURPOSE OF
FUTURE EXPANSION.

THE PROPERTY IS MOST CENTRALLY SITU-
ATED in GAWLER PLACE, close to the General
Post-office and other important Government and
commercial buildings.

IN THE EVENT OF THE PREMISES BEING
DISPOSED OF AS A WHOLE, the vendors
require a lease at an agreed rental of portion of
the premises for a period of 12 months.
The LAND, which constitutes a LARGE AREA,
in a most important and central position, com-
prises portions of town acres 272 and 301, having
a total frontage of 213 ft. to Gawler place by a
depth of 191 ft., with private roads along the
north and south boundaries.

TITLE-REAL PROPERTY ACT.
Illustrated circulars on application to the auc-
tioneers. Wilkinson, Sando, and Wiles Limited,
20 Waymouth st., Adelaide. (Telegrams "Wilki,"
Adelaide.)

The property offered for sale is the entire Lewis "empire" at Gawler Place South, but as well as describing for us the high point of the original Lewis motor business, the advertisement is arguably more interesting for its revelations regarding the new business plan for the company. The announcement that they "have disposed of their bicycle business" marks the beginnings of the new company, Lewis Cycle Works Ltd, which would continue, with the involvement of the Lewis family, until 1975. But as for the motor business, with no "white knight" coming forward to  rejuvenate the existing operation, all but the Oldsmobile and Reo agencies were to simply vanish. When Vivian Lewis Limited re-established in Waymouth Street, there was was clean break from the cycle and motor business founded by Vivian Lewis in the early 1890s.

Although Vivian Lewis Limited continued on beyond 1924, no member of the Lewis family was involved in the business, nor was any original share holder. Nothing remained of the manufacturing-oriented business model that had guided the Lewis companies since 1892. In all but name, 1924 marked the end of the Vivian Lewis era.

Vivian Lewis Limited history | Lewis histories index

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