c.1912 Rudge Whitworth 499cc 3½hp,
Lot 208
1912 Rudge 499cc Frame no. 657631 Engine no. 4939
Sold for £9,775 (US$ 15,830) inc. premium

Lot Details
1912 Rudge 499cc Frame no. 657631 Engine no. 4939 c.1912 Rudge Whitworth 499cc 3½hp, c.1912 Rudge Whitworth 499cc 3½hp, c.1912 Rudge Whitworth 499cc 3½hp, c.1912 Rudge Whitworth 499cc 3½hp, c.1912 Rudge Whitworth 499cc 3½hp, c.1912 Rudge Whitworth 499cc 3½hp, c.1912 Rudge Whitworth 499cc 3½hp,
1912 Rudge 499cc
Registration no. RI 7025 (ROI)
Frame no. 657631
Engine no. 4939
Formed by the acquisition in 1894 of the Rudge Cycle Company Ltd by the Pugh family's Whitworth Cycle Company, Rudge-Whitworth built its first motorcycle in 1910. Unlike many of their contemporaries, Rudge did not use a proprietary engine but one of their own design: a 499cc single with inlet-over-exhaust valvegear. The new 3½hp model proved outstandingly successful; in 1911 Victor Surridge's became the first 500cc machine to exceed 60 miles in one hour, while Rudge-mounted Cyril Pullin won the Isle of Man Senior TT for the Coventry manufacturer in 1914. Prior to this landmark achievement, Rudge had jumped the gun somewhat with the introduction of a 'TT' model in the spring of 1911, before any of its machines had competed in the Isle of Man! Sadly, the 1911 TT was marred by the death of Surridge in practice, the first fatality at that event.

Rudge continued to set world records at Brooklands, establishing new one-hour and two-hour marks in 1912 at more than 65 miles and 122 miles respectively. The firm also figured prominently in the popular reliability trials of the day, thereby demonstrating that its products were durable as well as fast. By this time the desirability of incorporating a clutch into the transmission had become all too apparent, as had the need for variable gearing. Many customers specified one or other of the numerous competing proprietary transmissions - NSU, Sturmey-Archer, Phillipson, etc - while Rudge offered the Mabon variable gear. Although preferable to direct drive, the Mabon had its weaknesses, prompting Works Manager John Pugh to come up with something better – the Multi. Controlled by a tank-mounted lever, the Multi worked by varying the diameter of two pulleys, one on the crankshaft, the other on the rear wheel, offering ratios between 3.5 and 7.0:1 while maintaining drive belt tension. An outstanding success, it would remain in production for the next ten years.

First owned by Thomas Gaynor of 1 Park Terrace, Francis Street, Dublin, this early Rudge has direct belt drive transmission and an engine-shaft clutch. The story of how he acquired the Rudge is related in Harry's book, 'The Seanachie of Motorcycling'. Fully restored by Tennant-Eyles in the mid-1980s at considerable cost, the machine is described as in generally very good condition apart from the front wheel rim's paint (scraped off by the brake). Accompanying documentation consists of sundry restoration invoices, completion test report and related correspondence. We are advised that the original Dublin registration has been applied for.
Auction information

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

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

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

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first £50,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 the Hammer Price
12% from £1,000,001 of the Hammer Price

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, check with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveler's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Credit card charges: a surcharge of 2% is applicable when using Mastercard, Visa and overseas debit cards.

Shipping Notices

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

Contacts
  1. Ben Walker
    Specialist - Motorcycles
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 8963 2819
    FaxFax: +44 20 8963 2801
Similar Items