September 6-9 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa

From original-paint to original thinking, there’s an amazing diversity of machinery available at the John Parham Estate Auction, hosted by Mecum. It was a tough decision to close the National Motorcycle Museum, but with the death of its primary benefactor a few years ago, it was always going to be a money loser, so the decision was purely practical.  It’s sad to lose such an amazing collection in one spot, but on the upside, it makes for an exciting opportunity for folks to find some unique motorcycles.  You can bid online, but it’s definitely preferable to show up and see the museum one last time, and catch the energy of the auction, which is always fun.  There are hundreds of bikes and even more hundreds of lots of automobilia – posters, engines, photos, and a bunch of cool antique toys.  Have a look at the Mecum John Parham Estate Auction page here.  And now, my faves from the Museum:

  1. 1965 Gelbke Roadog.
It’s long and might be wrong, but there’s only one RoaDog, and you can buy it if you’re brave! ‘Wild Bill’ Gelbke sits his machine in the famous poster. [Mecum]
‘Wild Bill’ Gelbke’s outrageous masterpiece has graced a thousand garages, but only in poster form, sans explanation.  The Roadog is inspired madness built by an actual aeronautical engineer as an ‘ideal touring bike’.  Remember the competition in the early 1960s when he dreamed up this monster: a Harley-Davidson Panhead, or a BMW R60/3.  Four-cylinder touring machines had most recently been produced in 1941 with the last of the Indian Fours, so if you wanted something car-like, you had to build it yourself.  So Gelbke did just that, using a GM 151 Iron Duke four-cylinder engine and its PowerGlide autobox, with a shaft final drive.  Gelbke built his own chassis from lightweight chromoly tubing, and seemed unconcerned with the scale of his invention, which is 17′ long and weighs an estimated 3300lbs.  The front forks are a unit trailing-link design, similar to a 1950s FN, but huge, and using four automotive shocks for suspension: the rear wheel is held in a swingarm, also with four shocks.  The rider (and passenger) sit very low over the rear of the transmission on a pair of Harley-Davidson solo saddles, with the automotive fuel tank perched behind the passenger. There’s even a spare wheel in case you get a flat…which is easily attended to with the four hydraulic stands that assist with parking.

RoaDog in the metal, looking fresh and ready to roll another 20,000 miles. [Mecum]
Apparently Wild Bill clocked 20,000 miles in his first RoaDog year, and refined his thoughts with his 1972 Auto Four (also for sale at Mecum), which he intended to mass produce, as well as the Grasshopper, with a Corvair motor.  Wild Bill never got the chance though…he’d been making a living as a trucker after falling out with his bosses at McDonnell-Douglas, and police suspected he was hauling marijuana instead of vegetables. In winter 1978, 12 officers surrounded his home, demanding he come out: Gelbke tossed his gun out to surrender, but when one officer slipped on ice, they assumed he’d been shot, and opened fire.  When the smoke cleared, they took the uninjured officer to the hospital, and left Wild Bill to bleed out in the dirt. He was 40 years old.  You can’t buy stories like that, but you can buy the RoaDog. (Estimate $50-60k)

2. 1911 Steco Engineering Co. Aerohydroplane

The oldest airplane in the USA still in original condition: the 1911 Steco seaplane. [Smithsonian Air & Space Museum]
From the ridiculous to the sublime, this 1911 Steco seaplane dominates the Innovation wing of the National Motorcycle Museum, and is a remarkably elegant pioneer aircraft.  It’s also claimed to be the oldest aircraft in the USA in original condition, and is an important piece of history that deserves a good home.  To put this plane in context: Glenn H. Curtiss built the first truly functional aircraft in 1908 – the June Bug – which won the Scientific American trophy that June for an aircraft that could take off, fly in a circle, and land where it began.  The Wright brothers plane, by contrast, was a powered glider, launched using a giant rubber band, and could not turn a circle.  Curtiss was also the first to build a successful seaplane that could take off and land in water in January 1911…thus this Steco is about as early a non-Curtiss seaplane as exists anywhere, and no Curtiss of this era is original.

That one-of-two in the world Gnome et Rhone 7-cylinder radial is a work of art. The rest of the plane is as delicate as a butterfly’s wing. [Mecum]
The Steco Engineering Co. was founded by James S. Stephens, a mechanical superintendent of the Milwaukee Railroad and an engineering consultant for Hamm’s Brewing Company. Stephens and his son Ralph founded Steco Engineering Co., building prototype planes and cars.  The Steco Aerohydroplane was built around a 1909 Gnome Omega 487ci (7980cc) 7-cylinder rotary engine, purported to be 1 of 38 of this style made, and 1 of 2 thought to exist: the engine was rebuilt by Fred Murrin of Greenville PA. The seaplane has a 42′ upper and 36′ lower wingspan, is 31′ long, and weighs a feathery 1,320lbs.  If I had the room, I’d love to stare at this exquisite piece of flying machinery while I drink my coffee, but someone with a bigger warehouse than mine will have to do that.  (No estimate, but no reserve).  Also, check out the Steco car also on auction.

3. 1906 Curtiss V-twin

The man himself, Glenn H. Curtiss, American badass, who just clocked a mile record at Ormond/Daytona Beach FL in 1907 at 77.58mph. This is a postcard he sent his wife. [Smithsonian Archives]
Speaking of planes…the last time a Curtiss motorcycle came to auction was in 2009, and I was there (read the story here).  Curtiss motorcycles are unicorn rare, and the man who invented the American V-twin is rightly revered for his exceptional motorcycles.  In their day, Curtiss single- and twin-cylinder motorcycles were the fastest motorcycles around, taking speed records and winning races, mostly because Curtiss himself was known as ‘Hell Rider’ in his native Hammondsport NY, as he liked to ride fast, and built bikes that worked.  He cut his teeth racing bicycles in the 1890s, and opening a bicycle shop in 1900.  He bought his first motorcycle engine in 1901, a Thomas Auto-Bi, and thought it pure junk: the castings were unfinished, there was no carburetor, and no instructions.  He got it to work, then designed his own engine that same year.  The Curtiss motorcycle company was born.  His first single-cylinder models used all ball bearings inside, making them far more robust with the limited oiling systems of the day, and by 1903 he doubled up his design to create the first V-twin in the USA.   These early models used a single speed belt drive, using Curtiss’ own non-slip belt design.

Rare as all getout, a genuine 1906 Curtiss V-twin. The coolest and fastest motorcycle in the world at that date. [Mecum]
That first Curtiss V-twin immediately made its mark, beating both Charles Gustafson and Oscar Hedstrom on their Indians at the NYMC’s Riverdale Hillclimb, and lopping 4.4 seconds off their best time.  He then rode his bike to Yonkers for a National Cycle Association race, where he set a world speed record, completing a mile in 56.4seconds (63.8mph).  Beating the industry’s best then setting a world record in another town on the same with a new design of engine made Curtiss instantly famous. He set his first world record at Daytona/Ormond Beach Florida in 1904 on his V-twin, recording 10miles at 67.4mph, a record that stood seven years.  The 136mph speed of his famous one-way run on a V-8 powered contraption in 1908 is disputed, but was an example of his ingenuity and bravery.  He was already selling engines to the nascent aircraft industry, and when he became the first pilot to take off, circle, and land in the same place in 1908, his future in aviation was sealed, and he devoted less time to motorcycles, leaving his two-wheeled business in the hands of others by 1910.  But, Curtiss’ early legacy with motorcycles stands as one of the most important pioneering brands in the USA, with certainly the most romantic of characters at its helm.  This 1906 Curtiss is extremely rare, and the original American V-twin.

4. Indian Quarter Midget Racer

As cool as they come, this Indian-powered Quarter Midget racer is totally hand-fabricated, and likely from the 1930s revival of Baby Car racing in LA. [Mecum]
The only reason I’m telling you about this amazing little car is I don’t want to get the inevitable divorce if I displayed it my living room. This is the coolest four wheeler in the National Motorcycle Museum collection, and that’s saying something; there are two other motorcycle-powered quarter midget racers, a Harley-powered prop-driven ice sled, and five motorcycle-engined mini-cars, all of which are…museum-worthy, right?  The body of this little racer is all hand-beaten alloy, with a unique drilled-out grille, and a svelte monoposto body with a tapered tail.  The dash panel is engine-turned with two gauges, and the steering wheel is a minimal steel arc.  The engine is a pre-1915 IoE Indian Big Twin, with 1000cc, that could be tuned to reach near 100mph in a motorcycle.  The chassis is welded up from square-tube steel, with presumably a very simple rear suspension (note the oval axle slots in the bodywork) and a solid axle with no differential (and chain drive?), while the front end has steering by rod and simple wrapped leaf-spring suspension on the solid axle.   The wheels are simple steel solids.  Nothing is known of the racing history of this machine, the bodywork and engine of this remarkable vehicle, and the history of Quarter Midget / Baby Car racing suggest this machine was built during the 1930s revival of the sport.

The glory days of Midget racing in the 1930s, when the cars looked like mini-Indycars. This 1936 shot is from opening day at Aurora Speed Bowl in SoCal. [Betty Lou Gaeng]
This history of Quarter Midgets goes back to the ‘Teens, with Baby Car racing. These were replicas of famous Grand Prix racers of the era, powered by motorcycle engines of single- and V-twin configuration, and were used in demonstration racing to support races for larger cars, or as part of a traveling carnival.  The first Baby Car races were held in the Los Angeles area at the Ascot Park and Culver City tracks ca.1914. The new sport took a very public turn at the Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915 (the PPIE – read our ‘Racing Around the Rainbow Scintillator’ article here), where an automobile race track 3.85miles was constructed in what would become the Marina District, and into the Presidio military base.  PPIE racing included both a Vanderbilt Cup and a Grand Prize race, with supporting races by teams of Baby Cars for the Junior Vanderbilt and GP.  Aviator Art Smith commissioned the San Francisco Harley-Davidson dealer Dudley Perkins to build him a fleet of five cars, each with different bodywork that mimicked the Mercedes, Peugeot, Fiat, Stutz, and Marmon racers then vying for dominance on the GP circuit. Each car cost him $400, and was powered by a Harley-Davidson J-series V-twin motor, using a chain drive to each rear wheel and giving two speed: the cars were capable of over 60mph.  Midget car and Quarter Midget racing reared its head in SoCal again in the 1930s, withe first organized Midget race taking place in 1933 at Hughes Stadium in Los Angeles. It was such a success that Gilmore Stadium was built in 1934 as the first venue constructed solely for Midget Racing, which was open through 1950.  Quarter Midget racing grew alongside Midget racing, and continues to this day.

5. 1966 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide ‘Willie’s Latin Thing’

Everything you could ever want on your motorcycle, plus pink. I mean, this thing is amazing. [Mecum]
It’s a first-year Harley-Davidson Shovelhead, and Willie’s amazing vision.  When you ride with ‘Willie’s Latin Thing,’  you ride with Jesus, a whole lot of chrome, and an awesome pink shotgun metalflake paintjob. Naming all the customized parts added to this FLH Electra Glide would take pages, so feast your eyes on the chromed single-, double-, and triple-pitch chains used as décor, as well as multiple extra lights, horns (in matching pink), bags, and baubles. Many of the chromed pieces are modified Harley-Davidson accessories, like the front fender guards and Hollywood trim, the crash bars, saddlebags, top box, windscreen, spotlamps, and seat rail, but all of them have been personalized with extra chromed trim parts, typically welded-on chain.  Willie’s Latin thing is a glorious eyeful, and a rare machine, being a first-year FLH Shovelhead.

The chopper guys called them ‘garbage wagons’, but full-dress, customized Harley-Davidsons were an impressive way to express individuality in a repressive era. [The Vintagent Archive]
In 1965 Harley-Davidson introduced the Electra Glide, a Panhead FL with an electric starter, and thus began one of the most evocative names in motorcycle history.  With it, the Motor Co entered the fray with Japanese brands that had come standard with reliable electric starters since the late 1950s.  While no Japanese manufacturer built a motorcycle as large or as useful for touring in 1965, it did settle an important matter for consumers, who had come to expect increasing ease of use with their motorcycles.  A new generation that grew up learning to ride Hondas was disinclined to kickstart a 1200cc high-compression V-twin: eventually the kickstarter on the FL became vestigial, then disappeared entirely. The Electra Glide was a modern machine with no peers, bigger and stronger than any touring motorcycle on the market, a niche Harley-Davidson owned for a generation.   Willie’s Latin Thing shows how much riders loved to personalize their motorcycles, then as now, and is a truly remarkable motorcycle.

6. 1927 Brough Superior SS100 Pendine replica

A real stunner, and a part replica of one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever made, a 1927 Brough Superior SS100 Pendine. [Mecum]
One of the star motorcycles in the National Motorcycle Museum, this stunning 1927 Brough Superior Pendine replica is among the finest examples of the model in the world.  Built from a mix of old (forks, gearbox, wheels, and possibly the frame) and new (engine, fuel tank, fenders, etc) components, the complete machine was masterfully assembled with period-correct components to a standard that is rarely achieved by restorers of machines with full factory provenance.  The Brough Superior collector community has a well-established relationship with replica and semi-replica machines, as demand for early SS100s has long exceeded the supply of complete machines, and after nearly 100 years many engines without frames and vice-versa can be found scattered around the world.  The BS Owner’s Club recognizes and identifies such machines, with an understanding that a superb replica has significant value, especially when identified as such: in other words, they have their place in the Brough Superior community. The Pendine is the most desirable of all Brough Superior models, being the full-race version of the fastest production motorcycle in the world of the 1920s, the SS100, with each machine guaranteed to have been tested at the Brooklands autodrome at over 100mph, an enormous speed in 1924.  Factory-modified SS100s held the absolute World Speed Record many times in the 1920s and 30s, and road-going models were the most expensive motorcycles in the world as well, with the price of any Brough Superior model equal to or exceeding the price of a house in England at the time.  Despite their specification with a full-race J.A.P. KTOR or JTOR motor, the SS100 was a luxury motorcycle, built to the highest standards, with internal parts bought in to George Brough’s specifications.  These were not ‘parts bin specials’: all Brough Superior Sturmey-Archer gearboxes used special steels and bearings that were more expensive than other makes used, and their J.A.P. motors used knife-and-fork connecting rods and special steel shafts not available to other manufacturers.  The net result was a motorcycle that was not merely faster than anything else, but more durable and reliable as well, as their internal parts were simply stronger.  George Brough had a very close relationship with his suppliers, such as Bert LeVack, development director at J.A.P. in the 1920s, who often raced Brough Superiors himself.

Brough Superior racers were often all-nickel plated for show, and to show any cracks in the metal. [The Vintagent Archive]
The Pendine model is named after Pendine Sands in Wales, a beach with a dramatic tidal exposure, making it possible for several hours each day to make high-speed runs for miles on wet sand.  Circuit races were also held on Pendine, and George Brough claimed the name for his racing model after many race wins there, much like LeMans, Daytona or Bonneville became motorcycle names in later decades.  The 1927 Brough Superior catalog explained, “Every SS100 Pending model is guaranteed to have been timed to exceed 110mph before delivery to the customer.”  No other motorcycle in the world could even approach such a speed in 1927, let alone one that was fully street legal, as lights were not yet required on motorcycles… and several Pendines were ordered with lights anyway, as who doesn’t want to be seen on the world’s fastest motorcycle?  The following year George Brough himself proved his point by recording 130.6mph on a factory Pendine at the Arpajon straight near Monthléry, making him the fastest motorcyclist in the world, on the fastest bike anywhere. The specification on this 1927 Pendine is comprehensive: a highly tuned J.A.P. KTOR 998cc motor, fed by a Lucas racing magneto and breathing through a twin-float Binks carburetor, and exiting through twin ‘carbjectors’, the free-flowing mufflers Brough invented. The 8” brakes are Enfield, the forks are leaking link Castle, and the sheet metal is entirely nickel-plated and has acquired the perfect patina.  This is an achingly beautiful motorcycle, and the Pendine has long sat atop any list of world’s best motorcycle designs, with George Brough hailed as a master stylist on par with the likes of Edward Turner (Triumph) and Pierre Terreblanche (Ducati, Bimota) as the greatest motorcycle designers in history.  Brough rode and raced what he built, winning dozens of sprints and trials, and personally taking the World’s Fastest title.  How does a Pendine hold up today?  I rode a 1925 SS100 replica across the USA in the 2018 Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Rally, regularly passed other competitors at 90mph: the SS100 made all 3600+ miles on the rally, and was by far the fastest machine.  Superior indeed.

7. 1956 Rumi Formichino Scooter

The 1956 Rumi Formichino has amazing specs – all aluminum everything, case and extruded and forged. The coolest scooter ever made. [Mecum]
The mighty Ant!  Rumi was a small Italian motorcycle manufacturer known for their laid-down twin-cylinder two-stroke, built to the highest standards, with a reputation for excellence and a proven track record of racing wins. Officine Fonderie Rumi was founded by Donnino Rumi in 1914 to build textile manufacturing machinery, servicing Italy’s burgeoning fashion industry.  Rumi switched gears during WW2, as demand from the Italian military for precision machinery found them building midget two-man submarines and torpedos for the war effort: this gave rise to the company’s distinctive ‘anchor’ logo. Immediately after WW2, Rumi survived by taking general engineering work, and quickly chose to build motorcycles using the manufacturing skills they’d developed. In 1949 Rumi unveiled a parallel-twin two-stroke motor of 125cc, with a 180degree crankshaft, unit-construction crankcases, and a 4-speed gearbox. The original Rumis used cast-iron cylinder barrels, while their frames had plunger rear suspension with undamped telescopic forks up front, and wheels with full-width aluminum hubs. The engine was slung beneath the frame tubes, and held at two points, and the chassis handled very well, while the engine produced enough power for the factory to make its mark in competition. Rumi won the Liége-Milano-Liége long distance race in 1954, and took the first eight places in the 1954 Swiss GP. They also won the ISDT Team Prize in 1954 with 3 Gold medals, and many more long-distance races, enduros, and Grands Prix.

The mighty ant kicking ass in the Bol d’Or in the 1950s: sorry Vespa and Lambretta, you were outclassed. [The Vintagent Archive]
In 1952 Rumi introduced the ultimate scooter, the Formichino (little ant) with a cast-aluminum frame, bodywork, handlebars, and wheel rims – an outrageous and unique spec for a scooter, or any two-wheeled vehicle. The Formichino is perhaps the most distinctive and collectable of all scooters, for its unique design, good looks, and excellent performance: being a Rumi, a Formichino won its class in the 24-hour Bol d’Or race for three years in succession in the 1950s!   The National Motorcycle Museum has a lot more scooters to choose from – American, European, and Japanese – but the Formichino is my favorite as it’s so rare and so cool.

8. ‘Dragon Bike’ from The Wild Angels

The Dragon Bike from the 1966 film ‘The Wild Angels’. [Mecum]
To fans of custom motorcycle history, the ‘Dragon Bike’ from the 1966 film The Wild Angels is iconic, and one of the best examples of real-world chopper design used in a film.  Two years before Easy Rider, Peter Fonda starred as ‘Heavenly Blues’ in this Roger Corman B-movie, with Nancy Sinatra as his girlfriend Mike, plus an array of future stars: Bruce Dern, Diane Ladd, and Michael J. Pollard.  The film was the first time Peter Fonda was associated with motorcycle culture, and featured actual members of the Hells Angels MC as supporting cast members and fellow riders.  Memorable scenes from the film include a sermon delivered by Fonda from a commandeered pulpit, where he utters the immortal lines, “We wanna be free, and not be hassled by the man!”  Wild Angels made Peter Fonda a counterculture movie star, and paved the way for Easy Rider.

Peter Fonda being directed by Roger Corman, with
Assistant Director Peter Bogdonavich watching. The Dragon Bike is iconic. [API press photo]
This is the original Dragon Bike, which sat for years in obscurity, but was pulled back into the limelight by Mil Blair, co-founder of Easyriders magazine, who sold the machine to John Parham.  The Dragon Bike was built specially for The Wild Angels, and was carefully authenticated and painstakingly refurbished. Care was given not to over-restore the machine, and what you see are mostly original finishes, chrome and paint.  It’s a rare instance of a famous movie chopper actually surviving into the present day, unlike the Easy Rider choppers, which were stolen and broken up, or other bikes that simply disappeared.  This is the real deal, and one for a deep-pockets memorabilia collector.  (Est. $100-120k: reserve auction)

9. 1940 Indian Model 640 Sport Scout racer

‘Little Poison’, the 1940 Indian Sport Scout Class C racer. [Mecum]
In the 1940s, spectators at a fairgrounds half-mile tracks flocked to see bikes like this Indian Sport Scout battling it out with Harley-Davidson WR 45s.  The national championships in AMA Class C racing became the most important racing series in the USA in 1933, when the Depression caused a re-think on how to attract viewers to racing, and how to revive sales. Class C racing demanded the race bikes were based on serial production 750cc sidevalve bikes or 500cc OHV machines: luckily Indian already had the Scout, and Harley-Davidson the W series, so a good fight was guaranteed. This 1940 Indian Model 640 Sport Scout is a good example of an AMA Class C racer.  The new class quickly became very popular, with dealers and private owner/mechanics taking the Indian vs Harley-Davidson wars to the dirt track ovals, TTs and hill climbing events.

The legendary Bobby Hill riding with the AMA #1 plate in 1951/2 on a ten-year old Indian Sport Scout. [Jerry Hatfield Archive]
Both Harley-Davidson and Indian were ready for the introduction of the Class C racing season. The Sport Scout, introduced in 1934, was a strong contender in the series for 20 years, particularly in the early 1950s with the Indian wrecking crew of Bobby Hill, Bill Tuman and Ernie Beckman, who shared several National Championship titles, and swapped the AMA No.1 plate over a four-year period.
The Indian Sport Scout used a 42-degree V-Twin sidevalve, 45ci (745 cc) motor, and was in production for nine years (1934 to 1942). Indian’s chief engineer and designer, Charles B. Franklin, responsible for the creation of the Scout (1919), Chief (1922) and Scout Pony (1932), roughed-out in sketch form the Sport Scout before his death aged 52, on October 19, 1932. Diverging from Scout’s long running cradled-framed and leaf-spring fork motorcycle (1920 through 1933) the first Sport Scout, similar to the Scout Pony, used a keystone rigid frame through 1940, then used a plunger rear suspension for 1941-42, with a girder fork used on all years. The two-piece frame consisted of a front downtube and rear fork bolted to the engine/transmission unit by front and rear mounting plates. Lack of a frame under the motor/transmission maximized ground clearance during banking and the girder fork offer more front-end travel, making the Sport Scout a good motorcycle for dirt track racing. Tuner alterations to this bike include a BTE twist grip throttle, a modified foot clutch, shortened hand shifter, a special foot-peg set up, a solo/pillion seat setup and a Splitdorf magneto in place of the original battery ignition.  It’s interesting to mention that Indian stopped producing this model in 1942, and all the wins in the 1950s were taken on Sport Scouts that were at least 10 years old!  It’s a legendary machine, and not easy to find today.

10. 1928 Husqvarna Model 180 V-twin

A superbly restored 1928 Husqarna 550cc V-twin: built like a Swedish sword. [Mecum]
Husqvarnas from the 1920s?  Yep, the ancient company has the deepest roots of any motorcycle brand, founded in Huskvarna, Sweden as the royal munitions factory back in 1689.  The company was first privatized in 1757 as Husqvarna, and began producing motorcycles in 1903 – the same year as a certain American megabrand.  They built solid, well-engineered machines and soon became the largest motorcycle builder in Scandinavia, with a large range of singles and V-twin, sidevalve and OHV, and a string of very successful racing bikes too. Husqvarna’s most popular model of the 1920s was their unique 550cc V-twin designed and built in-house as the first all-Husqvarna motorcycle – previously they’d used some bought-in components. Husqvarna’s 550cc V-twin line was introduced in 1915 with the Model 150, using sidevalve motors that were remarkably reliable and built for Swedish conditions in all weathers, which earned them great affection in their native land.  They were also raced, for example when the Model 180 was released in 1926, a trio competed in the 24-hour endurance ’Midvinterävlingen’, where only two Husqvarna 180s were left running at the end of the race!  The Model 180 had a caged roller big-end and a knife-and-fork connecting rod, which made the engine slimmer as the cylinders no longer needed to be offset.  The crankshaft bearings were force-fed by an oil pump, which increased reliablity, as did the doubled-up roller bearings on the drive side of the crankcase.  The Model 180 had a two inch lower saddle height than its predecessor, and weight was trimmed by removing the heavy valance on the fenders, as well as, on some models, a special fabric/rubber footboard replacing cast items.  Electric light was an option, with full Bosch generator, magneto, and handsome 8” headlamp.  A special hand pump on the side of the fuel tank lubricated the drive chain!

Yngve Ericsson in the 1927 ISDT with a factory-prepped Husqvarna Model 180. [Dane Glanz]
The Model 180 was a very light v-twin at 293lbs, and with an American Schebler HX159 carburetor, performance was lively.  With a lower saddle height on the 1927 models, the handling was good, as the motor was set slightly forward of the center of the motorcycle, an ideal location for a rigid-frame machine with sporting pretensions.  The paint scheme was a handsome Swedish blue surrounded by black panels and chassis paint.  Looking for a different V-twin than the usual?  This is a pretty darn cool bike.





Paul d’Orléans is the founder of He is an author, photographer, filmmaker, museum curator, event organizer, and public speaker. Check out his Author Page, Instagram, and Facebook.


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