One family’s passion spanning over 100 years has seen the creation and development of a motorcycle described as ‘unconventional’ and ‘ingenious.’
The Wardill motorcycle, with its unusual two stroke engine, was designed by two passionate and determined brothers, Ernest and James Percival Wardill (aka Percy) in 1923.
Being owners of a bicycle and car garage for 20 years, Ernest and Percy had skills and experience, enabling them to create something no one had seen before.
Wardill Motor & Cycle Works Circa 1924
The Patented Wardill Engine
Percy had an idea to improve the traditional 2 stroke engine in the form of a supercharger, but what was so unusual about the Wardill design? Other than being the first of its kind, the Wardill is a valve-less two stroke where the crankcase compression has been eliminated. Two pistons are employed, the first, the smaller of the two, being the type used in an ordinary three-port two stroke engine with the usual deflector. The second, the other annular piston acts as a pump and takes the form of a wide ring; encompassing the main piston – a feature which is patented.
This innovative creation was the brainchild of Percy. His supercharged engine was tested rigorously between 1924 and 1927 when it competed in a number of public trials, resulting in a lot of press coverage and interest for the two brother’s invention.
Appearing in a number of popular motorcycle magazines and journals in the 1920s, the Wardill was definitely beginning to get a name for itself, being seen next to the likes of Raleigh, Harley-Davidson and Triumph.
The Gold Medal Winning Wardill2
Tragedy stuck one fateful day, when two potential funders had flown in from Boston, Massachusetts, to see the production motorcycle during testing at Brookland racetrack. Unfortunately, the Brooklands employed test rider crashed the bike, bringing Percy and Ernest’s dreams to an abrupt end. The Wardill Motorcycle Company faded into history.
Happily, this is not where the story ends although over 90 years have passed, the Wardill brand has been born again. Percy’s great Grandson, Mark Wardill has spent the last 2 years building a motorbike in tribute to the original motorcycle and has relaunched the Wardill Motorcycle Company Ltd with his all new Wardill4.
“My passion was to finish what my great Grandfather started,” explained Mark.