Under The Hammer: 1937 Rudge Ulster
Rudge had early success at the Isle of Man when Cyril Pullin won the only two-day Senior TT ever staged in 1913.
The factory continued with a strong racing program, with Graham Walker winning the Ulster Grand Prix in 1928 and 1929. Rudge cashed in on this success by naming its new model the ‘Ulster’ and advertising it as “probably the fastest 500cc motorcycle in production”.
The 499cc single OHC developed 45bhp at 5300rpm with a claimed top speed of 90mph (145km/h).
The company had a reputation for innovation and a radial four-valve head was introduced to the Ulster in 1932. An optional foot-operated gearchange was also offered in that year.
The Depression of the early 1930s hit Rudge hard. As a result, the racing department was closed and the company was placed in receivership.
In 1936 Rudge became part of a most unlikely conglomerate – the Gramophone Company Ltd, which later changed its name to EMI.
The manufacturing plant was moved from the British midlands to Hayes on the outskirts of London, where some motorcycle production continued. With the outbreak of war, a Rudge 250cc was proposed for military use, but manufacturing ceased after a production run of just 200 units.
EMI converted the Hayes factory to manufacture radar equipment for the war effort and the once-proud Rudge name passed to Raleigh.
Sold at the Melbourne Summer Classic for $18,500.
Bike from Shannons