The Big Car Database

Ardie Motorcycles

Ardie was a company in Nürnberg, Germany that manufactured motorcycles from 1919 until 1958. The company's name derives from that of its founder, Arno Dietrich.

The first 305cc two-stroke motorcycles had round and red gas tanks, so they were nicknamed "Minimaxes" after a fire extinguisher brand. Later they built 348cc two-strokers. 1922 the man who founded the Ardie factory, Arno Dietrich, died during a test ride. In the middle of the twenties they switched to 347cc-990cc JAP engines (see ardie347 jpg), among them 347, 498 and 990 V-2-ohv racing models. Drivers like Georg Thumshirn, Darl Dobberkau and Gerd in der Elst were very successful with Ardie racers. Many models with own and Sachs,Sturmey-Archer, Bark and Kuchen 123, 173, 198 and 500cc engines were built in the following years.

In 1925 the company switched to using engines from JAP in London, England. In the 1930s Ardie switched again to engines made by the German companies Bark and Kūchen.

In 1930, Ardie President Willy Bendit assigned German engineer Josef Ganz to build a prototype of a small Volkswagen according to his design. This Ardie-Ganz prototype was finished in September 1930 and achieved highly successful road-test results. The car featured a tubular chassis, mid-mounted engine, and independent wheel suspension with swing-axles at the rear.

In 1936 the company returned to making motorcycles with two-stroke engines of its own manufacture. During the Second World War the company made a model with Ardie's own design of 350cc twin-cylinder side-valve four-stroke engine. After the war the company made a range of single and twin-cylinder machines ranging from 172cc to 344cc.

After World War II the factory built motorcycles with their own cross-flow two-stroke engines designed by Dr. Noack with displacements of 124, 172, 194, 246 and 344 cc. The larger engines were twn cylinder parallel two-strokes. Some of these engines were supplied to other manufacturers, including the Swedish Monark factory. In the final years Ardie belonged to the Durkopp factory.