Rudge "TT Replica" 350cc c1930-31

c1930 Rudge TT Replica 350cc

The Rudge is currently Under Contract

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 vintage era!

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 101 TT

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