Founded by Gordon Francis and Arthur Barnett, Francis-Barnett set up shop in the old Excelsior works in Coventry in 1919. The downturn in the motorcycle market in the early 1920s prompted F-B to switch from producing expensive, high quality machines to the more utilitarian. First seen in 1923, the first of these was the triangulated, pin-jointed, straight-tube frame models whose novel method of construction gave rise to the 'Built Like A Bridge' advertising slogan. To publicise its new models, F-B turned to racer Tommy Meeten. For Meeten's Brooklands campaign a machine was constructed using Villiers' recently announced 172cc Sports engine. Villiers was much more actively involved with the production of sports and racing engines in the between-the-wars years than they would be after WW2, and the Sports was the first of a family of 172cc high-performance engines. Riding the special Francis-Barnetts, Meeten set several speed records for the '175' class and won numerous races at Brooklands. Capitalising on his successes, Villiers introduced further evolutions of the Sports engine in the form of the Brooklands and Super Sport TT units.