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A Road Less TraveledRudge 1939 250cc Rapid The "250" with the "350" performance
Rudge RapidFongri Motorcycles Tazio Nuvolari's First Racer
1. Prior were motorcycles produced between 1936 and 1937. It was the name under which the German Hercules machines were sold in Britain.
Late in 1936, the machines were first shown at Olympia as a range of four models. These were a Velomoteur, which had a 98cc Sachs engine and two-speed gearbox hung in a loop frame; two lightweights, one fitted with a Sachs engine and the other with a 122cc Villiers engine, with three-speed gearbox; and a larger single with a 248cc ohv JAP engine, four speeds, foot change, Bosch magneto and Miller points.
It sold in Britain for 1937, then the name disappeared.
2. Prior re-emerged between 1957 and 1961, after BP Scooters of Wolverhampton took over the sale of the German Hercules from Kieft, also of Wolverhampton.
1957 There was a range of three mopeds, two scooters and a 173cc motorcycle. They were mainly imported, but used some British parts. The scooters, fitted with Villiers engines, were soon dropped.
1959 The use of British components was now minimal.
1960 The Prior was purely a German import.
1961 The marque lasted for that year only and then left the market.