1929 Cleveland 61ci Tornado Four
Frame no. 1258
Engine no. K1642
The Cleveland Motorcycle Manufacturing Company, of Cleveland, Ohio was in business from 1915 to 1929, commencing modestly enough with a single-cylinder two-stroke lightweight before progressing to a mighty 61ci four. Built between 1915 and 1924, the 13.5ci (221cc) two-stroke was unusual in mounting its engine with the crankshaft inline with the frame, a sensible arrangement for a shaft-driven motorcycle but one that necessitated a worm gear to turn the drive through 90 degrees on the chain-driven Cleveland. Early models lacked a kick-starter, which was adopted for 1917, while subsequent improvements included a combined fuel/oil tank, battery electrics and foot boards instead of pegs. All models had two-speed transmission and a front fork copied from the British 'baby' Triumph.
The two-stroke's replacement for 1925 was a 21.25ci (348cc) single-cylinder four-stroke 'flat head' that failed miserably in the face of competition from the Indian Prince. Changing tack, Cleveland came back with a 36.6ci (600cc) 'T-head' four designed by Detroit motor engineer, L E Fowler, which was a close copy of the defunct Pierce. A relative failure that sold in limited numbers, the first Cleveland four was soon followed by 45ci (750cc) and 61ci (1,000cc) 'F-head' designs drawn up by E H DeLong, who previously had worked for both Henderson and Ace on their four-cylinder models. Introduced in August 1927, the new '4-61' was one of the first American motorcycles to be fitted with a front brake as standard. Delighted owners were soon reporting top speeds of around 90mph.
At the 1929 New York Motor Show, Cleveland unveiled a revised four the 'Tornado' - featuring a new, lower frame and various engine improvements aimed at boosting performance. In its ultimate 'Century' incarnation, Cleveland's biggest four was a genuine 100mph machine (each one was tested and certified prior to delivery) but its arrival in 1929 just ahead of the Wall Street Crash was unfortunate to say the least. Despite the Century being, arguably, the most advanced four-cylinder motorcycle of its day, Cleveland's directors decided to cease manufacture later that same year after only a few had been completed.
This rare Cleveland Tornado four was purchased for the Collection in 2007 from a jointly owned private collection in Spain.