Tuesday, February 28, 2012

1955 Wooler Motorcycle- Flat Four

 This 1955 Wooler Flat Four shaft driven motorcycle had a number of unique features, my favourite of which is the 2 nut size construction that allows a home mechanic to totally disassemble the bike with just 2 spanners.

 The standout feature is of course that unified fuel tank/headlight assembly but the closer you look at the bike  the more interesting little features you notice. That front suspension is quite remarkable as is the fact that the front and rear wheels are fully interchangeable.

The extremely clean engineering and no-nonsense design is hugely appealing, it seems a damn shame that John Wooler passed away in 1956 leaving only 5 of these remarkable bikes in existence.

Manufacturer: Wooler

Model: Flat Four
Engine: 500cc
Year: 1955
Decade: 1950s
Machine Type: Road


The Wooler was always one of the strange machines that make motorcycles so interesting.

 The industry is peppered with individuals who saw their way as being correct and often refused to deviate a fraction from their chosen path. They seldom built many machines, and those they did produce were frequently troublesome, but we all gained by the excitement they generated.
 The engine (1926) was the feature of greatest interest and was laid out as a transverse-four, the cylinders on each side being one above the other. This alone was far from normal, but really unique was the way in which they were connected to the crankshaft, for this was based on the beam engine. Capacity was 500cc, and overhead valves were used.

The crankshaft ran along the machine, below all the cylinders, and was of a single-throw design. In fact, for the prototype, a modified assembly from a 150 cc New Imperial was used. Above the crankshaft was a T-shaped beam, which was pivoted at the junction of the leg and arms, this axis also Iying along the machine. A master con- necting rod joined the end of the T-leg to the crankshaft, so as this rotated, the beam oscillated. The arm of the T was set vertically, and each end was attached to two connecting rods, which pointed in opposite directions and ran out to the pistons. Thus, these moved in pairs, and the two pairs moved in opposition.


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