Saturday, September 24, 2022

Modern Morgan Replica

Here's someone's ambitious project, a modern replica of a 3 wheel Morgan. It's powered by- yet again- a Honda CX500 motor, with an extended driveshaft to the stock CX swing arm. Quite well done, I might have done a few details differently but can't wait to see it with bodywork!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Apco Mossberg ratchet

 This is the ratchet was included with the Autokit of a couple of days ago. It's not the original one, though from reading online there seems to have been some connection between the two companies. The pressed steel ratchet shown here was designed and patented in 1913 by Frank Mossberg, and enjoyed a production run past the 1927 acquisition of the APCO company and resultant name change to Apco Mossberg. 
Frank Mossberg started making tools in the late 1880s for the local Attleboro jewelry companies, but soon started patenting and manufacturing adjustable wrenches and various bicycle tools as that market took off. The automotive tool market brought more growth for the company and the 1908 acquisition of the Quincy, Manchester, Sargent company added their pressed steel socket wrenches to the lineup. Unfortunately business declined through the 1920s as they failed to respond to the new tool designs entering the market. 
  Apco Mossberg settled into a niche making torque screwdrivers and is around today also making custom CNC parts for medical, electrical, aerospace and similar applications.

Once again see Alloy Artifacts for their usual detailed company histories.


BSA Thunderbolt

650cc twin with a single Amal concentric carb points to a 1968 or newer model, this one is in fine shape. Seen at the British Car Show...


Wednesday, September 21, 2022


 This might be my favorite engine transplant for a featherbed frame.

First motorcycle to 100 mph

The ACU decided in 1909 that world speed records should be restricted to motorcycles of 1000cc or less and Billy Cook of North London Garage quickly became the recordholder with his Peugeot V twin powered NLG at 75.92 mph. Charles Collier on his Matchless JAP raised it within the year.
 Although Indian already had some success in British racing, in 1911 they joined the racing scene with a vengeance, finishing the IoM TT 1-2-3 and then set a new record at Brooklands of 87.38 mph. This was soon beaten again by Charles Collier and the record was raised incrementally over the next few years. After a pause for WW1, Bert Levack on an Indian raised the record to 95.24 mph.
About that time, becoming aware of the speed record attempts at Brooklands, Harley Davidson built 3 special long frame 998 cc track motorcycles and shipped them to England to join in the fun. In late April, after a few attempts,  Douglas Davidson on his Harley achieved 100.76 mph. In the picture above everyone looks pretty pleased. 
It was short-lived however, the very next day, Bert Levack, on his 10 year old 8 valve Indian, took the record back- 106.72 mph.
Bert Levack on the Indian.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Bay State Autokit

The ratchet at least is probably not original, but a nice collection of century-old pressed steel sockets in a very lovely wooden box. (Silly logo too.)  According to the tremendous Alloy Artifacts site, it was the first automotive tool kit sold by Sears Roebuck.


Fowler Botrail Tractor

 Here's a heavyweight steam tractor outfitted for use on soft ground. The wheels are double width (even the wagons), fitted with pivoting plank-like treads, restrained by steel cables. The system was devised by Australian Frank Botrill and must have functioned on some level, but it sure looks ungainly!

Monday, September 19, 2022

British Car Day DeLorean

Perhaps not the colour I might have chosen...
 but there was no shortage of the cars at the event...


Monday Mystery, reciprocating saw

I'm guessing this is some sort of ancient power hacksaw, perhaps for some specialized use? No names or markings anywhere. The two level stand with screw adjustment is odd and the little 45° shelf might be part of a missing feed table? Anyways, information and guesses welcomed!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Friday, September 16, 2022

Duryea Automobile

 Frank Duryea at the wheel of his automobile, 1893. 

In 1895, the Chicago Times-Herald, inspired by the Paris-Rouen Automobile Race, decided they could sell a lot more papers if they too organized and ran an automobile race. They promoted the 14.5 mile Chicago-Evanston race for Thanksgiving Day, 1895. There were ninety five entrants but only six cars showed up on race day, three Benzs, two electrics, and the Duryea. The Duryea ran away with the race, at the eyewatering speed of 6.66 mph.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Tohatsu Runpet Sport

This looks like a fun little screamer, the polar opposite of the step thru Honda 50 making a name for itself in the US in the early sixties. I don't expect a lot were sold on this continent but see one that survived here


de Tomaso Pantera


Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Yamaha triple roadracer

 Doug Schwerma poses with the Yamaha triple he made using aircooled Yamaha twin parts. If Yamaha two stroke twins were dominating 250 and 350cc roadracing, what could be done by adding another cylinder? Mr. Schwerma was the first to do so but the cause taken up in Britain by several people, who made triples using various combinations of 250 and 350 cylinders including the SCITSU triple in 1973, before the TZ500 and TZ750s. More here.

Binassi racer

Built in Bologna in the 1970s in small quantities, these were 125cc Grand Prix motorcycles. Once again, very little information available.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Monday Mystery, Waverly Electric

 Who's driving? No one is looking at the road.

Two for a penny

 Not keen on the Bentwood logo, but great graphics...

Another job you might not want to do, Coal mining Pit sinker

 In Newcastle coal mining circles, the "Pit sinker" was the first man down the shaft once they reached a coal seam. Along with the rsk of collapse, these shafts often filled with water, requiring steam powered pumps to keep ahead of the inflow. I expect these men didn't enjoy long lives. More here.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Sidecar Sunday

A Humber outfit that has been converted to a one man 3 wheeler by moving the controls to the sidecar. A tiller replaces the handlebars.


Happy Birthday, Barry Sheene

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Another Metralla project

I picked this Bultaco Metralla mocked up racebike project up last week, not yet sure what I'm going to do with it...

Wrong fork and front wheel, engine is a rare model 106 Astro 350 (one of 627 made) and the Metralla frame is 23-02800- if you have the matching 23-02800 Metralla engine, do I have a deal for you! 


Willys pickup truck

1951 at a guess? 


Friday, September 9, 2022

Henry Ford's electric car

Henry Ford, posing with the Detroit Electric car he bought for his wife, Clara. It seems odd, by the picture below of her target shooting, she was no shrinking violet but apparently not willing to- or capable of?- drive a model T, and with Henry's resources, why wouldn't he build her a one-off Ford electric?

 BTW that's Edsel in the foreground making the time-honoured small boy faces.



Stanley Hiller became interested in helicopter designs in his mid teens, and during his experiments decided that counterrotating rotors showed more promise than a single rotor with tail rotor. It would eliminate the torque reaction, making the machine easier to fly and cutting down on vibration. Though he had no formal engineering education, he built his own prototype machines and in 1944 he demonstrated this device in a San Francisco street. It performed well, flying forwards, backwards, sideways and in tight circles.
 With financing from Henry Kaiser he started manufacturing helicopters commercially. Though the counterrotating blade concept seemed to be an ideal solution the company's first commercial success was in 1950 with the conventional UH-12.