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Lot 501: 1925 Rudge 500cc

Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles, Bonhams (3 December 2007)

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 and is best remembered for its pioneering use of four-valve cylinder heads. Rudge Whitworth’s first four-valve production motorcycle appeared in 1924, and the company persevered with the layout until manufacture ceased at the outbreak of WW2. The motorcycling public’s response to this new four-valve, four-speed model was enthusiastic, and by the end of 1924 twice as many machines had been produced as in 1923. The full potential of Rudge’s four-valves-per-cylinder design was slow to emerge, but in 1928 Graham Walker’s works ‘500’ became the first motorcycle to win a road race - the Ulster Grand Prix - at an average speed in excess of 80mph, a feat which led to the introduction of the legendary ‘Ulster’ sports model. A variety of valve arrangements was tried across a variety of 250cc, 350cc and 500cc four-valve models as the range developed throughout the 1930s. Sadly, the marque did not re-emerge after WW2. Dating from the second year of four-valve Rudge production, this Vintage ‘500’ was supplied new in Wien, Austria by Alois Wutte, whose dealer plaque remains fixed to the front mudguard. Apparently substantially original, the machine has not been used for some time and thus will require re-commissioning before further use.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles
Bonhams, Olympia, London,
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number501
Estimate£9000-£10000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1925
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number
Engine number28 389
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors