The Hurley-Pugh

An early example of the innovative approach to engine placement of the Hurley-Pugh design team. Possibly 1904. This model was eventually discarded after a series of misadventures...under serious pedalling, uphill, the machine often up-ended landing heavily upon the rider's groin.

The first, and probably clearest shot of the Hurley-Pugh race prototype, the famous "ol' 42" ridden by "Killer" Steerforth Senior in the first ever Isle of Man TT in 1907. The Hurley-Pugh Rapide was never to race again, though the prototype engine castings were purchased by a Mr Howard Davies after the Great War.

A very grainy shot of "ol' 42" again being used as the basis for the trial of a prototype engine in the 1908 Isle of Man TT. This engine proved an abysmal failure due to a serious leak of engine oil from the OHV covers, a problem never adequately solved. Could this have been the precursor of the famous Excalibur Brooklands, by which time the factory had discarde OHVs as unreliable? Eventually in the late 20's the factory tried to cover losses by selling the engine castings to a bicycle manufacturer, Mr James Landsdowne Norton.

A prototype of the famous Wildebeeste, the 948cc Beryl of 1926
(Pic and details courtesy "Oberon")

The famous 1928 Hurley-Pugh 5 litre 10 cylinder "Deci-Mate" was designed for sidecar use. With 2 central cylinders and 4 either side of the centre bearings the "Deci-Mate" was an exceptionally powerful and tractable machine. The front cylinders seriously limited steering lock making it impracticable for city use or slow winding lanes. Unfortunately straight roads for sidecar use were few and far between in the 20's and few "Deci-Mates" were sold. This example is the only known survivor of the limited production run and strangely enough is in solo trim. The "Deci-Mate" was not only a slow steering machine but had the unfortunate habit of sheering cylinders at any speed above 20mph due to excessive vibration.

"Looking for the United Services Institute Library on the net I was surprised (somewhat) to find reference to the Hurley-Pugh. I had experience with the Hurley-Pugh Walkabout Bren Carrier in the early years of the War. Made under license in Lithgow NSW The Walkabout could carry 3 men, a bren and 500 rounds of ammunition, across remarkably rough country, with ease. The Army modified "Deci-Mate" 10 cylinder engine was made for pulling a sidecar with full armour plate at a steady near walking pace. The outfit was abandoned only when it was shown that a fully laden Bren gunner could actually walk further in a day through scrub country than the "Walkabout." Damned terrible lack of imagination that War Office had in those days. Fine outfit. Surplus "Walkabout" motors were used to power Australia's own fighter aircraft, the Boomerang. The Boomerang's first and last encounter with an enemy aircraft was with a Japanese Zero over Darwin."
Major Horatio Barnard-Lee

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