Sunday, 23 February 2014


This pristine 1936 Henderson is based on a 1930 bike presumed to be the 100 mph Streamline model, and was built by O. Ray Courtney.

Currently owned by Frank Westfall (who occasionally throws a leg over its curvaceous bodywork), the Henderson is powered by an inline-4 cylinder powerplant whose spark plugs are barely visible through a mesh cover just below the frame.

Sometime in the twenties or thirties, it seems, some Henderson fours were converted to six cylinder machines. No mean feat, this involved a little more than cutting and welding: new crankshaft and camshaft had to be made and the frame had to be altered to accommodate the lengthy power source, to name a few of the complications. More room on the side of the engine gave the possibility to put magneto and dynamo in line. It is not known how many of these hybrid machines were made and by whom.

The new DeLuxe engine developed 28 HP at 3,400 RPM on sole gear, giving it a top speed of 80 MPH. The machine became very popular with police forces because of its speed and reliability. This deluxe is basically unrestored: the engine has already been refurbished.

From the 1912 model on yearly improvements were made in the design: in the fall of 1919 an entirely new machine was brought out, the model K. It had a bigger capacity engine and full pressure lubrication, a novelty in the motorcycle field. The valve layout was now side valves for both intake and exhaust and the cycle parts had all been beefed up to cope with grater engine power. Designer was Arthur Lemon, and he had done an excellent job: the model K broke many records in long distance, high performance and endurance tests. The K remained in production for about three years; its successor, the DeLuxe, would bring even more fame to the make.


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