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Advance motorcycles or (Advance Motor Manufacturing Company) was a British motorcycle and motorcycle engine manufacturer established in 1905. As well as supplying aircraft engines to the pioneering monoplane developers, Advance engines were also used by Captain Robert Scott to power Antarctic snow sleds. After the end of World War II the company was sold to Sheepbridge Engineering and became a motor supplies organization.


The Advance Motor Manufacturing Company Ltd was incorporated on the 31 May 1905 with registered offices at Louise Road, Northampton by Douglas Herbert Gainsford and Frederick Smart, with an original share capital of 10,000 pounds. Gainsford and Smart previously ran a bicycle shop in Northampton that also hired out motorcycles, and from 1903 when Joseph Power joined them they began designing and manufacturing engines and motorcycles. The reliability of Advance engines was such that it was not long before they were in demand from other motorcycle manufacturers and they came to be exported all over the world.

Moving to a larger factory on the corner of Kingsthorpe Road and Balmoral Road in 1912, Advance ended vehicle production to concentrate on reconditioning engines and making components, including the 'Gradua' multi-speed mechanism for Zenith Motorcycles and engines for Duzmo Motorcycles,[3] producing everything in house except for cylinder castings. As well as producing their own products and supplying stationary engines for driving agricultural machinery, Advance were agents for Kerry Cars and dealers for Brown and Barlow carburetors.

Advance were also pioneers and innovators, with a number of patents for components such as the 'Advance Adjustable Pulley' (the basis of the Gradua multi-speed mechanism) that aided the ascent of steep hills, and their adjustable belt fastener. They had a sister company that was incorporated in 1916, Standard Valves Ltd, which manufactured replacement valves for the motor trade.

By 1936 Advance had become contractors to the War Office, Admiralty and the Air Ministry, providing specialist engineering services including cylinder re-grinding and repairs, case hardening and grinding. Sometime between 1949 and 1953 Advance was sold to Sheepbridge Engineering of Chesterfield and renamed Advance Motor Supplies Ltd, and in 1979 they were taken over by GKN Plc who changed the name to GKN Replacement Services Ltd in 1982. The name was changed again by 1984 to GKN Autoparts Distribution Ltd, then in January 1990 it became Partco Ltd and finally Partco AutoParts Ltd in October 1995.