2021 Shannons Autumn Timed Online Auction

c1933 Rudge 500 TT Replica Motorcycle





Engine Single cylinder, 499cc
Gearbox 4-speed manual
Colour Black
Trim Black


This lot is no longer available

One of the oldest names in the British motorcycle industry, the history of Rudge-Whitworth can be traced back to Dan Rudge, a publican from Olverampton who began turning out primitive bicycles in his workshop and built up a thriving business by the time of his death in 1880.  George Woodcock, who already had interests in bicycle manufacture, bought the business from Rudge’s widow and formed a new concern in Coventry under the names of D Rudge and Company and the Coventry Tricycle Company.  Initial success was curtailed by Woodcock’s own demise and a decline in Rudge’s fortunes ultimately saw a merger with the Birmingham-based Whitworth Cycle Company in October 1894.  Although Rudge-Whitworth’s first foray into the burgeoning motorcycle industry was to be appointed the South African agents for Werner, by 1910 a prototype 499cc Rudge first saw the light of day, with production commencing the following year.  As a fully-fledged manufacturer, Rudge enjoyed both commercial and sporting success, highlighted by establishing a new world record for the flying mile of 72.5 mph in August 1911.  The model range was expanded to include both singles and twins, while the First World War offered new opportunities through military contracts to supply not only the British Army, but those of France, Belgium and Russia as well.  Sales continued to boom throughout the 1920s, no doubt helped along by Graham Walker’s triumph in the 1928 Ulster Grand Prix and Tyrell Smith’s famous victory in the 1930 Tourist Trophy on the Isle of Man.  Celebrating the win, Rudge offered an over the counter racer called the TT Replica from 1931 onwards.  Produced for three years only, the TT Replica used parallel valves at first, then switched to radial valves in 1932 before moving to a semi-radial arrangement in 1933.  The Depression hit Rudge hard and 1933 saw the closure of the racing department as the receivers moved in.  Rudge was ultimately taken over by the Gramophone Company Ltd, part of the HMV conglomerate (renamed EMI in 1938) and production shifted south to Hayes, Middlesex in 1938.  Production of Rudge motorcycles ceased in December 1939, with EMI turning to the production of radios, radar and other equipment during the Second World War.