Rupp Industries Inc., 1776 Airport Rd, Mansfield, Ohio
2 seat Trike
1969 Rupp Digger
1970 Rupp Enduro
1969 Bonanza with the Hodaka Ace 100cc engine
1970 Speedway Silver Shadow with Sachs 125cc engine
1971 Fox Thunderbolt
1969 Speedway Scarab
1968 TT 500
By Dick DeBuse
1970 Rupp Enduro. Tecumseh HS 40
With the Hodaka Ace 90 Engine
The History Of The Rupp Centaur
The History of The Rupp Centaur is quite extensive and the history of this
machine as told by me is the information I have been told over an 8 year period.
If there are is any part of this history that is not true as to what you have
been told and can verify that information please email me and I will be sure to
change it as I am not the know all see all of the Rupp Centaur. Thanks and I
hope that this info helps in some way to clarify the many emails I have gotten regarding
Click on the Thumbnail Pics. to see a larger view of the pic.
Rupp was an American company that was operated out of Mansfield, Ohio and owned by a Mr. Mick Rupp. The company started in early 1970 or 1971. They produced a multitude of machines including Snowmobiles such as the Nitro and Magnum, also Dirt Bikes like the Enduro. They also made a variety of Mini Bikes including the Scrambler, Roadster and the Black Widow. Also Produced was a Go-Kart. And as far as I know some of the first off road ATV's. These would be the Four wheeler named the Go-Jo and the Rupp Rat, which was a 3 wheeler that was only produced in 1974 and very rare to be found today.
The Rupp Centaur was only produced in 1974 and 1975. They were only molded in four colors, Blue, Red, Yellow and White. There were as I have been told four different body styles made, however I have only seen two. They would be the 1 seater and the 2 seater and have not seen a variation as to how they appear in either of the two years. The bodies were constructed of fiberglass and were very flexible. Over the years though, the flexing created stress cracks. For the most part they can be and the majority of the time will be located on both sides of the rear fenders.
Inside the body, was a two piece plastic instrument panel.
The first piece housed the Speedometer and Tachometer along with Idiot Lights that indicated Right or Left turns, Headlight High Beam and Neutral Indicator for the Transmission. Also was the Engine Choke and Electric Key Ignition. The second piece covered the gear shifter and emergency brake levers. It was also equipped with full leather interior.
There were approximately 1200 produced between the two years in production. In order to find out what year and number your Centaur is you need to locate the VIN number. The VIN number is located on the left side and is stamped on the steering limiter tab. If the first 2 numbers read 47, you own a 1974, if the first two numbers read 57 then you own a 1975. The following numbers after that will tell you what number it is in that year. Such as mine, I own a 1974 and my VIN number reads 470056. this indicates that it is a 1974 (47) and is the 56th made in that year (0056).
There were also 2 different rear bumpers made for the Centaur and are obviously different when spotted. Both are made with round metal and were chromed and are in the shape of a long oval. However, one of them has a flat spot in the center for license plate mounting and the other has an indent for the license plate mounting.
This is where the history gets a bit weird. According to a person who owned and operated a Rupp Dealership in New York that I know, It is said that when the design for the Centaur was created, it was designed to use a VW engine and transaxle. At the time VW was still producing the Super Beetle. After the frame was completed and ready for the VW engine and transaxle, VW came back to Rupp and demanded more money than was originally agreed upon in the contract. Rupp refused to pay the money and decided to use the company that they were using for there snowmobile motors and mini-bikes and already had a contract with. This company's name was Kholer, which was a Canadian owned company and is still in business today. Rupp revamped the frame design a touch to accept the 2 stroke motor that was being used in there snowmobiles.
After the Motor was chosen, Rupp designed a gear box that would act as the Automatic transmission and would be a belt driven centrifugal clutch. It was equipped with dual disk hydraulic rear brakes along with a disk brake on the gear box that would serve as a transmission brake or parking brake, since even in the forward gear it could still easily roll. The Brake pedal for rear braking was mounted on the right side of the driver in the front. Behind the gear box was a rectangular 10 gallon gas tank.
Along with the custom designed gear box in the rear, it had an independent rear suspension system. The shocks were mounted at the top and down on a piece that the axles ran through with a bearing in the center of it.
the front end is still one of the simplest around and is somewhat like a Springer front end on a Harley Davidson. The front shocks were adjustable to allow for whatever kind of ride the rider wanted. These front shocks are more like the rear shocks of a motorcycle.
It was also equipped with a 32 spoke 16" wheel with a mechanical drum brake.
The Handle bar Controls were also quite simple. on the right side is where the front brake lever was located along with the Engine Run/Stop Switch and the Twist Throttle. On the left side, the Clutch Lever, Headlight High/Low Beam selector, Left/Right Turn Signal Switch and Horn Button were located.
1975 Rupp Centaur 2 seat Trike