2018 Shannons Sydney Winter Classic Auction

1976 Hercules W2000 Wankel Rotary Motorcycle




Engine Rotary, 294cc
Gearbox 6-speed manual
Colour Blue & Silver
Interior Black


This lot is no longer available

As with so many pioneering motorcycle manufacturers, Hercules started life as a bicycle maker, building its first motorised version in 1904.  In the period leading up to the Second World War Hercules produced a wide range of motorcyles using a variety of proprietory engines, with capacities varying from 73cc to 498cc.  Badly damaged by bombing during the War, Hercules didn’t resume production until 1950, starting with small capacity two strokes but the model range expanded rapidly over the next decade.  Throughout the 1960s Hercules continued producing small capacity motorcycles powered by Sachs or Ilo engines and was ultimately incorporated into the Fichtel Sachs group of companies in 1969.  As a result Hercules began developing a rotary-powered motorcycle using the Wankel technology owned by Sachs, an unconventional choice of motive power that certainly gained a lot of publicity for the German brand.  Rated at 27 horsepower at 6500 rpm, the W-2000 featured a Bing 32mm carburettor, six-speed transmission, electric start, twin piston front disc brake and a leading shoe drum rear, plus an 18-litre fuel tank.  Badged as a DKW in some markets, early examples required pre-mix but the later versions came with a more practical oil injection system.  Sadly sales failed to meet Sachs’ targets, with only 1,800 ultimately made, making the W-2000 a rare find today.  Following the takeover of Sachs by GKN in 1976 Hercules dropped the W-2000, concentrating instead on small two-stroke mopeds and lightweight motorcycles and the tooling was sold to Norton.