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1931 Rudge Whitworth 250cc V-Twin Prototype

1931 Rudge Whitworth 250cc V-Twin Prototype

This is the machine that never was. The idea of a V-Twin made out of scaled down parts from the highly successful Rudge 250cc four radial valve singles frpm Coventry that ran away with the Lightweight Isle of Man TT in 1931 and 1934, was the brain wave of Rudge boss John Pugh. It was not intended for the road or road racing but part of Pugh's long running ambition to capture the World Motorcycle Speed Record for Rudge.His earlier plan to build a bike with an engine based on four of the firm's 500cc four calve single cylinder engines was thwarted by the FICM, the World governing body of the sport, imposing a 1000cc limit on such attempts. Pugh had intended to run his 2000cc machine without a supercharger so his next idea was a supercharged V-four of 1000cc based on Rudge 250cc single cylinders. Run on the test bench with a supercharger it proved disappointing, the power output only reaching 85% of that of the installed in a frame as was a later John Pugh experimental engine, a supercharged flat twin using 250cc cylinder heads. Worsening finances caused by trade depression put a stop to further experiments but with hindsight it can be seen that motorcycle technology was not then far enough advanced to make full use of supercharging. Though the other experimental engines disappeared, ther little v-twin survived the collapse of the firm abd the War probably because it was such a pretty little unit that no one has the heart to scrap it. It changed hands many times and one enthusiast crudely fitted it to a frame abnd raced it a few times without success before it came into the possession of the National Motorcycle Museum when founding Trustee Roy Richards decided it should at last have a proper frame built from period racing parts.Museum restorer Colin Wall and Rudge Enthusiasts Club expert Dave McMahon had to visualise what the machine would have looked like if it had been built. It had been suggested then that it would have made a delightful sports bike without the supercharger.