Property of a deceased's estate
c.1914 Henderson Model C Four
Engine no. 3779
'... judged by its performance and life span of 19 years, it (the Henderson) was the most successful of all the fours made in the USA. It is still regarded, overall, as the most famous four in the world.' T A Hodgdon, 'Golden Age of the Fours'.
One of the most charismatic names in American motorcycling history, Henderson produced nothing but four-cylinder motorcycles in the course of its 19-year existence. Founded by Tom and William Henderson in Detroit in 1911, the firm passed into the control of Chicago-based cycle maker Ignaz Schwinn, owner of Excelsior, in 1917. The Hendersons soon moved on to found the Ace motorcycle company - later taken over by Indian - and thereby had a hand in the design of all the major American-built fours. Although early models featured an unusually lengthy frame extending well forward of the engine, the Henderson, like the contemporary Indian and Harley-Davidson, was an advanced design for its day. Displacing 965cc initially, the air-cooled cylinders were arranged longitudinally in the frame and employed mechanically operated 'F-head' (inlet-over-exhaust) valve gear. There was single-gear transmission but the Henderson outclassed its rivals for convenience by having a free engine clutch and a hand-crank starter instead of pedals. A shorter frame, folding kick-starter and three-speed sliding-gear transmission were all Henderson features by 1917, while the engine had been enlarged to 1,064cc for 1913.
This early, 'long frame' example of one of the most desirable of all American motorcycles was sold new via J Mölbach Thellefsen of Christiania (now Oslo) in Norway and retains the supplying dealer's plate in the tool box. This motorcycle has been in the late owner's possession for at least the last 40 years. An avid collector, he would drive around Norway in a lorry (with a tent on the back) buying, swapping and accumulating classic vehicles. The Henderson was discovered and purchased on one of these collecting trips. Restoration was planned but never started, and the machine has remained untouched as part of the owner's private collection. There are no documents with this Lot, which is offered for restoration and sold strictly as viewed.
- This machine is offered with what is believed to be the correct carburettor.