1922 Ace 77ci Four Engine no. BX927

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Lot 273
1922 Ace 77ci Four
Engine no. BX927

US$ 125,000 - 150,000
£ 91,000 - 110,000
Amended
1922 Ace 77ci Four
Engine no. BX927
William and Thomas Henderson, founders of the Henderson motorcycle in Detroit Michigan, sold their under capitalized company to Ignaz Schwinn in November of 1917. Schwinn was developing his own four cylinder motorcycle at the time to enhance his Excelsior line of single cylinder and twin cylinder motorcycles. Purchasing the Henderson company was an expedient and less expensive way to fulfill that market. However Schwinn was probably very difficult to work under so the Henderson brothers left their namesake company. Thomas departed to Europe and probably died there with little money. Bill Henderson most likely left the employ of Schwinn with new motorcycle drawings rolled up under his arm in early 1920. Under Schwinn, the Henderson motorcycle quickly became larger which was not the vision Bill Henderson possessed. Henderson had secured financing and the old Savage Arms building in Philadelphia, and was ready to produce his new four cylinder motorcycle in a few months. The Ace was born.

The new Ace motorcycle was a brand new and modern four cylinder motorcycle when compared to the last of the true Hendersons. It was strikingly beautiful in its Packard Blue finish highlighted with cream colored wheels. Its lines were very stylish and gave the impression it was fast even when at a stand still.

Henderson was shrewd and made sure that no Henderson part would fit his new Ace engine. Delivering 20 horsepower, the capacity of this motor was 75 cubic inches. The crankshaft was stronger with thicker journals and the flywheel heavier to handle increased power from the engine. The drilled for lightness connecting rods had dippers on the caps to improve oiling through the splash lubricated system. An inlet over exhaust motor, twin inlet blocks were perched atop four cast iron cylinders. The engine breathed through large valves and volumetrically improved intake manifold and exhaust. From the onset, the Ace engine was design to appeal to the sporting rider yet deliver a smooth gentlemanly ride.

While the old Henderson appeared antiquated by 1920, the Ace had a fresh look about it. The frame was reinforced to eliminate flexing when under load but still allowed a low seating position. The streamlined gas tank was novel with the tool box inset through the top of the tank. Fenders, sourced from the same manufacturer as the Henderson, were wider and a different radius to allow smaller wheel rims with larger tires to be mounted on the motorcycle. Rounding off the chassis were handlebars of a comfortable bend that allowed easy maneuvering of the motorcycle. Twin brakes attempted to haul the motorcycle down from a fast speed, however they were one of the few weak points in the design.

This 1922 Ace was expertly restored, scoring 99+ points at an AMCA concours d'elegance. Details of the Ace, known to only a few knowledgeable people, were incorporated into this restoration. The Ace was exhilarating to ride as they were nimble, smooth and fast. One of the most desirable American motorcycles to own, the Ace could easily become your favorite motorcycle. Offered on a bill of sale.

Saleroom notices

  • This motorcycle was judged at 98.75 points by the Antique Motorcycle Club of America at their Prarie National Meet in July 2003, and comes with documentation to that effect.
Contacts
1922 Ace 77ci Four Engine no. BX927
1922 Ace 77ci Four Engine no. BX927
1922 Ace 77ci Four Engine no. BX927
1922 Ace 77ci Four Engine no. BX927
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