Ex-Otis Chandler,1911 Curtiss Marvell 500cc Single Engine no. 1274

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Lot 181
Ex-Otis Chandler,1911 Curtiss Marvell 500cc Single
Engine no. 1274

Sold for US$ 52,650 inc. premium
Ex-Otis Chandler
1911 Curtiss Marvell 500cc Single
Engine no. 1274
As a young man, Glenn Curtiss had a passion for bicycling and competition. His drive to compete and be the best propelled him throughout his career and life. Bicycling transitioned into motorcycling at its infancy and motorcycle racing. By the ripe old age of 23, he was already marketing the Hercules and within two years his motorcycles had his name emblazoned across the gas tanks. A very competent competitor, Curtiss was the very first American motorcycle champion in 1903. His expertise however was in creating reliable and powerful engines, building simple single cylinder machines, V-twins and the extraordinary "W" three cylinder configuration.

His eyes however began looking to the sky as Curtiss was drawn to the fascination of powered flight. Even by 1904, he was supplying engines to lighter-than-air dirigibles builders. Motorcycles probably became less important to him during these years as he dreamt of becoming the first person to successfully fly a heavier-than-air craft. While the Wright brothers eventually earned those honors, it did not stop Curtiss from developing new engines. He has been widely recognized for a land speed record using an eight cylinder engine of his own design that was destined for aircraft use, and constructing a special chassis for a record attempt. On January 24, 1907 at Ormond Beach, Glenn Curtiss piloted his motorcycle to a one-way record of 136.4 mph on the Florida beach. His record stood for 13 years against both motorcycles and cars.

As the fascination of powered flight became a reality for Glenn Curtiss, his involvement in motorcycle production tapered off and the production of the famous Curtiss motorcycle ended in 1909. However he was not completely out of the industry as it may have served him well and allowed him to finance his aircraft designs. With a new engine and a new chassis, the famed Curtiss was then marketed as the "Marvel" with the partnership of C. Leonard and Elizabeth H. Waters, and remained based in Hammondsport, New York. The Waters had formerly owned the Motorcycle Equipment and Supply Company, and supplied MESCO engines to small builders and individuals for motorcycle construction. They even marketed a complete motorcycle named the Erie from 1906 through 1909. However, by 1913, production of the Marvel ceased.

The new Marvel was quite ingenious and bristled with innovation. At a time when most manufacturers used atmospheric intake valves, the new Marvel engine featured a jug cylinder with overhead valves and a unique actuation design that used a single pushrod to open both the intake and the exhaust valve mechanically. The 500cc engine developed 4 to 5 horsepower, substantially superior to anything else on the market at that time, and was one of the earliest overhead valve applications. Curtiss may have also had ambitions to race this engine as the top of the cylinder has a spare boss intended to add a second spark plug in the head. An open magnet Bosch magneto provided reliable ignition to run the engine and a glass bowl Heitger carburetor controlled the fuel supply.

The chassis was as unusual as the motor. Instead of simply clamping the gas tank and oil tank on a conventional frame, these parts were brazed into the frame which used cast bulkheads. The engine served as a stress member of the frame. A sturdy fork of Curtiss' own design handled the poundings received on the road.

This 1911 Curtiss Marvel being offered was formerly in the collection of the late Otis Chandler. It had been treated to an exceptional restoration. Marvel motorcycles are extremely rare and this example showcases one of the highest quality. Offered on a bill of sale.
Ex-Otis Chandler,1911 Curtiss Marvell 500cc Single Engine no. 1274
Ex-Otis Chandler,1911 Curtiss Marvell 500cc Single Engine no. 1274
Ex-Otis Chandler,1911 Curtiss Marvell 500cc Single Engine no. 1274
Ex-Otis Chandler,1911 Curtiss Marvell 500cc Single Engine no. 1274
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