1926 Excelsior 45ci Super X Board Track Racer Recreation
Engine no. 3628
Excelsior's Super X motorcycle could well have been a Harley-Davidson back when Arthur Constantine presented his new unit construction 45 cubic inch V-twin design to their upper management in 1924. Disappointed in their rejection, he rolled up his plans and joined the Excelsior Motor & Supply Company, the manufacturer of Excelsior and Henderson motorcycles. Ignaz Schwinn's company was much more receptive and built the new Super X engine using current Henderson chassis parts to economize the production in late 1925.
The innovative and compact engine castings had both engine and transmission in one casting, just as modern motorcycle engines are manufactured. Light, fast and economical, the new Super X was an immediate hit, and beckoned in a brand new displacement class of competition motorcycles.
Joe Petrali, a respected competitor within the motorcycle industry, convinced Schwinn to allow the construction of a batch of board track race bikes based on the new Super X. About twelve competition Super X's were built. The close couple frames, taken from 1925 chassis were built by shortening the wheelbase. A.M.A. rules of the day required a direct drive for dirt and board track racers so the transmissions were blanked off and power taken directly from the mainshaft. Drop handlebars and hand oil pumps completed the package, and special tuning was provided by Petrali and Constantine. Ridden by champions like Petrali and Red Wolverton, the new Super X blazed a trail of title wins.
These special Super X race bikes are gone, but thanks to the talents of the Antique Motorcycle Works in Oregon, they live again. The board track racer was replicated using an authentic donor chassis and engine. As with the originals, the wheelbase was accurately shortened using vintage photographs of Joe Petrali on his board tracker as a guide. True to the actual racers, the early style fork was utilized in this restoration. The transmission was also altered to make it conform to the A.M.A. rulebook of 1926, and accurately represent the original competition machine. The presentation of the motorcycle is fabulous with perfect finish in paint and plating. This superb Super X board track racer won its class in the Concourse d'Elegance of Oklahoma. If Joe Petrali was alive today, he would have an extremely difficult time recognizing this motorcycle from the one he rode to his championships. Sold on a bill of sale.