The Rudge is currently Under
I'm going to get into trouble
calling this bike a "TT Replica" Rudge.
Technically, the Rudge TT Replica was an
over-the-counter racer offered for the first time for the 1931 season.
Rudge had something to celebrate after the 1930 Isle of Man TT races,
with 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in the Junior TT with a full radial design
straight from the drawing board, and 1st and 2nd places in the Senior TT
with a more conventional 4-valve pent-roof design. What a finale to the
After the June TT things moved fast at the Rudge
factory, so that by the Show season in October-November 1930 the Rudge
TT Replica was front and centre on the Rudge stand. The very racy little
Rudge here is not one of the TT bikes, nor is it a TT Replica in the
strictest sense, yet it does have a very interesting history.
Some time before 1970, following a lead, the
current custodian and friend Lindsay Read headed off down the Mornington
Peninsula in Lindsay's Triumph Mayflower to meet with then-owner Steve
Spurway. Spurway had been in a motorcycle business with Norm Allen,
trading as Spurway & Allen in Coburg, but was at the time the caretaker
at a girls' school in Mt. Eliza, where he lived in the caretakerís
cottage. By the time of the visit 'Old Number 1' (as Spurway called it)
was lying outside, disassembled and forlorn in the grass. Spurway was
pleased that someone was interested in the old bus, and was insistent
that the bike could be taken there and then, free of charge. There
followed the interesting task of fitting a disassembled racy Rudge into
a Triumph Mayflower!
Restoration occurred some 20 years later, and
uncovered some interesting features of the bike. The frame had been
lengthened by 1 1/2 inches (just like the TT bikes) and carried no frame
number. The petrol tank, with its twin Coventry Movement quick-action
fillers, was longer than a standard tank (to suit the frame) but rusted
out from its period outside. A new tank was made using the original
fittings. A notable feature of the restoration was that very few
additional parts were needed: the bike was restored to the specification
when last used using the parts collected from Mt Eliza. For example
purists will say that a TT Replica would have a Bowden steering damper,
but the bike carries an Andre damper as found. The current engine plates
give a longer and lower stance for the bike.
So what to make of a racy Rudge with no frame
number and the interesting engine number 101 T.T.? I'm not sure, but if
asked to speculate I could easily imagine that we are looking at a
prototype TT Replica. Just imagine the elation at Rudge when the results
of the TT races were received. Then imagine the panic in the factory -
as opposed to the race shop - when management decided that a 350 "TT
Replica" would take pride of place in the 1931 catalogue, and that a
finished machine would be required for the show season. How to make a
"production racer" from the exiting 350 4-valve pent-roof road bike?
Lengthen the frame and tank, fit a big oil tank, 8" brakes from the 500,
lower the engine with some special engine plates, incorporate the
positive-stop foot-change mechanism of the racers, and - the piece
de resistance - fit the new radial head to the 1930 pent-roof motor
with a sporty twin-float carburettor. Instant "TT Replica".
What the bike is not is a recently-created
replica of the 1930 TT-winning 350s. Perhaps Steve Spurway knew more of
its origins, but that link with the past is sadly broken.
The bike is fully restored, and was ridden on a
couple of vintage rallies in the early 1990s.
Don't miss this opportunity to acquire this rare
sporting motorcycle with an interesting history.
Frame Number none found, Engine Number
Details of the Expression of
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