1922 Rudge Multi 497cc TT Model Frame no. 805577 Engine no. 24681
Lot 303
1922 Rudge Multi 497cc TT Model
Registration no. ME 3944 (U.K.) Frame no. 805577 Engine no. 24681
Sold for US$ 12,577 inc. premium

Lot Details
1922 Rudge Multi 497cc TT Model Frame no. 805577 Engine no. 24681 1922 Rudge Multi 497cc TT Model Frame no. 805577 Engine no. 24681 1922 Rudge Multi 497cc TT Model Frame no. 805577 Engine no. 24681 1922 Rudge Multi 497cc TT Model Frame no. 805577 Engine no. 24681 1922 Rudge Multi 497cc TT Model Frame no. 805577 Engine no. 24681
1922 Rudge Multi 497cc TT Model
Registration no. ME 3944 (U.K.)
Frame no. 805577
Engine no. 24681
Like so many British motorcycle manufacturers, Rudge Whitworth had been a long-established bicycle manufacturer before entering motorcycle production in the ancient cathedral city of Coventry in the British Midlands. The first Rudge Whitworth motorcycle saw the light of day in 1910, a 499cc machine featuring technically relatively sophisticated inlet-over-exhaust design engine. By 1911 the Rudge featured the distinctive infinitely variable 'Multi' gear, making the machine simplicity itself to ride and providing a gear for every gradient. British motorcycle racing ace Cyril Pullin was to take the winner's laurels in the 1914 Senior TT race on that tiny but world-famous island off the West Coast of England, the Isle of Man. Over the arduous mountain circuit he rode his Rudge at an alarming average speed of 49.49mph and this was indeed the first single cylinder machine to win a TT. Rudge were quick to capitalize on that remarkable success and were to catalog a TT model with distinctive racing drop handlebars, based closely on the racing bikes. This model also notably featured a pedal-operated supplementary oil supply for use when the engine is running 'on full song'. Amazingly the clutch on the 'Multi' is recorded as containing no less than 64 separate plates.

With the outbreak of hostilities in Europe in 1914, motorcycle production at Crow Lane, Coventry, was focused primarily on production for the Armed Services, and the Multi's rugged reliability came through the most arduous war-time conditions with flying colors. The Italian Army ordered a batch at the end of hostilities and the Multi was the model selected for manufacture in 1918 to get civilian production underway again and to re-finance the Rudge operation. By 1921 Rudge production was running at 30 machines a day and notable British racers such as Bob Dicker and Bill Lacy kept the Rudge name in the headlines with successes at the celebrated, banked Brooklands Circuit and other race meets.

This machine was part of a cache of early motorcycles recently found languishing in a less than ideal shed on the edge of a wood in rural Buckinghamshire, England. It had been in its then ownership since 1964 and had lain unused for ten years or so. It remained in remarkably original condition and riding equipment includes acetylene front and rear lamps with generator, Senspray carburetor, bulb horn and rear luggage carrier with twin leather panniers containing early tools. The original specification includes variable belt drive with stirrup-type front brake, belt rim rear brake and radial spoked wheels. An unusual feature is the original pedaling gear with chain and sprocket.

Following a very long period in storage we feel that this quintessentially English motorcycle will respond well to careful recommissioning and careful conservation of its highly original and technically interesting features. The machine is offered with U.K. registration documentation.

Saleroom notices

  • After success in competition before WWI, notably the Isle of Man TT, Rudge capitalized by producing this model. In effect a road going version of their victorious race machines .
Auction information

This sale is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future sales, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this sale, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations


If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

Like the vast majority of auctioneers Bonhams charge what is known as a Buyer's Premium. Buyer's Premium on all Automobilia lots will adhere to Bonhams group policy:

25% up to £50,000 of hammer price,
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 of hammer price,
and 12% on the balance thereafter. This applies to each lot purchased and is subject to VAT.

For Motor Cars and Motorcycles a 15% Buyer's Premium is payable on the first £50,000 of the final Hammer Price of each Lot, and 12% on any amount by which the Hammer Price exceeds £50,000. VAT at the standard rate is payable on the Premium by all Buyers, unless otherwise stated.

Some lots may be subject to VAT on the Hammer Price. These lots will be clearly marked with the relevant symbol printed beside the lot number in the catalogue.

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
Exempt from tax

Zero rated for VAT, no VAT will be added to the Hammer Price or the Buyer's Premium.

Similar Items