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British Industrial History

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Manganese Bronze Holdings

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of Coventry, an engineering company, often known simply as Manganese Bronze.

1963 Holding company formed as result of reorganisation of Manganese Bronze [1] Two subsidiaries established: Manganese Bronze Ltd to hold the Wrought Metals Division and Sintered Materials Division, both at Ipswich [2] and Alpax Ltd to hold the Deans and Lightalloys and other companies operating principally at Willesden and Beverley.

1965 Bought Villiers Engineering, a motorcycle company chiefly known for its range of engines [3].

1965 Villiers bought the industrial engines business of BSA located at Redditch; this would enable BSA to concentrate on motorcycle production; Villiers would fulfil BSA's commitments from its Wolverhampton factory[4].

1966 Manganese Bronze Holdings Ltd bought AMC (Associated Motorcycles) owners of the Norton, AJS, Matchless, Francis-Barnett and James motorcycle marques. This, combined with the other motor cycle business, became Norton-Villiers [5].

1967 Norton-Villiers bought Enfield Cycle Co[6].

Late 60/early 70s Norton-Villiers was a millstone around the neck of Manganese Bronze; it took several years to reorganise the company and bring it back towards profitability.

1968 Manganese Bronze Holdings sold its 70 percent interest in Viltool [7] to the Snyder subsidiary of the Synder Corporation of the USA [8].

1969 Sale of Wrought Metal Division and group research laboratory to Delta Metal Co[9].

1970 Manganese Bronze Holdings sold its 50 percent interest in Siba Electric to Joseph Lucas (Industries) Ltd[10].

1973 As part of a rescue plan for BSA initiated by the Government, a new motorcycle company Norton-Villiers-Triumph was set up with government funding. Manganese Bronze Holdings put Norton-Villiers into the new entity and purchased BSA's non-motorcycle interests [11]. The components businesses of BSA was incorporated in Manganese Bronze Casting and Components Division, comprising sintering, precision casting and metal powders. With the purchase of BSA came its subsidiary Carbodies, builder of the FX4 London taxi [12]. The classic FX3 taxi, predecessor to the FX4, had been built by Carbodies in partnership with Mann and Overtons and Austin. Carbodies concentrated on producing complete taxis, starting with the FX4 in 1959. The company is now called LTI Ltd, an abbreviation of London Taxis International.

1975 Manganese Bronze Holdings wrote off its investment in Norton-Villiers-Triumph [13].

1982 Carbodies took over the intellectual rights to the FX4 from British Leyland which had absorbed Austin.

1984 Acquired Mann and Overtons, distributors of the London black cab[14].

After disposing of the motorcycle manufacturing arms, Dennis Poore continued to head Manganese Bronze as a taxi and component manufacturer until his death in 1987.

2003 Manganese Bronze Casting and Components Division was sold (and went bankrupt a short while later). Manganese Bronze Holdings consisted essentially of LTI.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Monday, Mar 25, 1963
  2. The Times, Wednesday, Apr 17, 1963
  3. The Times, 17 March 1965
  4. The Times, 23, July 1965
  5. The Times, 3 January 1967
  6. The Times, 9 March 1967
  7. The Times, 18 May 1968
  8. The Times, Thursday, Jun 20, 1968
  9. The Times, 31 March 1969
  10. The Times, 3 January 1970
  11. The Times, Tuesday, Mar 20, 1973
  12. The Times, Tuesday, Mar 20, 1973
  13. The Times, 29 November 1975
  14. The Times, 11, April 1984