Rare engine a museum piece

George Taylor Stores salesman Ed Bishop with the new motorbike in the museum collection, a 1975 rotary engine Hercules W2000.

George Taylor Stores salesman Ed Bishop with the new motorbike in the museum collection, a 1975 rotary engine Hercules W2000.

ROTARY engines in cars are relatively rare, but even rarer to see them in a motorcycle.

One of the  best kept examples, believed to be the only one in Australia,  has been added to the collection at a free museum in Grassmere.

It is a 1975  Hercules W2000 — regarded as the   world’s first production motorcycle model with a Wankel rotary engine. 

This particular specimen has only eight miles  on the clock.  It  was imported from America and has been kept in mint condition. 

In recent times  it was purchased by a Warrnambool district collector and has been loaned to the South West Machinery Trust collection displayed at the George Taylors Store in Grassmere.

Store owner Greg Malseed said the collection started with one machine 14 months ago and had expanded to about 70 machines dating back to a 1907 Belgian bike.

“It’s become a big tourism drawcard with people coming from as far as Queensland and Western Australia,” he said. “Word of mouth is spreading.

“There’s a lot of very rare European and Japanese machines in the collection.

“It’s a free museum which we see as an add-on attraction for our business which also carries a lot of unusual stock.”

For the record, the Hercules W2000 air-cooled 294cc engine had low horsepower output and limited cornering ability. It continued in production until 1978.

pcollins@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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