A combination of classics, from an important Long Island collection
1929 Excelsior Super X with Sidecar
Engine no. A6327
"Survivor" machines, both two-wheeled and four, continue to gain appreciation from collectors. Where once there was a rush to restore to all shiny and better-than-new, now we see more and more vehicles left in their as-found state so much so than many concours competitions now include an Authentic & Unrestored class. This 1929 Excelsior Super X would definitely qualify, though beneath its 82 year's worth of accumulated patina there's virtually a brand-new motorcycle mechanically-speaking. Added bonus is that Super X is such an important design.
As the story goes, Arthur "Connie" Constantine, an assistant chief engineer at Harley-Davidson, took it upon himself to design a new mid-sized V-Twin. This unauthorized project did not go over well with management and Constantine was reprimanded for wasting the company's precious time. Whether he was then fired or chose to resign is open to debate, but next we find Constantine on the train from Milwaukee to Chicago, design in hand, about to pay Excelsior a visit.
He found a welcome audience at Excelsior, doing all they could to compete with Harley-Davidson and Indian. The big advantage of Constantine's design was balance. It was powered by a 45-cubic-inch (750cc) motor when the trend was to bigger 1000cc and 1200cc displacements, but that meant it could be built lighter and lower. Dropping 100 pounds of weight pays dividends everywhere, from outright acceleration to ease of cornering to simply rolling the bike into a parking space. The motor played its part in the weight savings; it was a unit-construction design transmission gears contained within the engine cases which did away with a separate gearbox and its attendant primary chain, plus it was considerably more oil-tight.
The finished product, rolled out in 1925, was the Super Excelsior, soon shortened to Super X, one of the great names in American motorcycling. Streamlined styling arrived for the 1929 sales season, and all the elements of a future blue-chip collectible were in place. The '29 Super X on auction here ups the ante with the inclusion of another classic, a Goulding sidecar. Australian James Goulding toured America in 1920 aboard a Harley-Davidson hooked up to a sidecar of his own design. He emigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1925 and set up shop, quickly becoming the manufacturer of sidecars for all brands. The example attached to this Super X appears to have been with the bike from new as it is seen in pictures of the bike and sidecar with the original owner. The original owners registration is still attached to the interior of the sidecar.
In the care of the current owner, the outfit was entrusted to restoration expert Randy Zorn, who undertook a painstaking mechanical restoration of the motorcycle and sidecar, including a full engine overhaul. Beneath that wonderfully weathered exterior is a virtually as-new machine with fresh bearings and bushings and brake linings, ready for another 82 years of adventure. This bike was in the hands of the original owner who purchased it in Sioux South Dakota and held until his death at the age of 92. The bike was purchased for a restoration which was never done when the current owner purchased it and could not bear to cover up the history of the patina of this bike. Randy Zorn handled the mechanical restoration to painstaking detail to maintain that patina.