Original and authentic American classic with just 4400 miles,1928 Excelsior-Henderson Super X Engine no. A6032

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Lot 212
Original and authentic American classic with just 4400 miles
1928 Excelsior-Henderson Super X

Engine no. A6032

Sold for US$ 89,700 inc. premium
Original and authentic American classic with just 4400 miles
1928 Excelsior-Henderson Super X

Engine no. A6032

"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 Excelsior-Henderson Super X would definitely qualify; added bonus is that Super X is such an important American 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 blueprints in hand, about to pay Excelsior a visit.

He found a welcome audience at Excelsior, owned by Ignaz Schwinn of bicycle fame, at the time doing all he could to compete with Harley-Davidson and Indian. The big advantage of Constantine's design was balance. It was powered by a 45ci (750cc) motor when the trend was to bigger 1,000 and 1,200cc displacements, but that meant the Super X 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. Factor in rarity as well, given that in the face of the Great Depression, Schwinn ceased his company's motorcycle operations in 1931.

The Mork collection's original-paint Super X was purchased from the family of its longtime owner after his passing. Its Corbin speedometer registers just 4400 miles, entirely believable given the bike's authentic condition – even the pinstriping and Schwinn decal on the headstock remain. The Excelsior spent its life in the San Francisco area, verified by the original "Distributed by Danny Muir San Francisco" decals on the headlight and gas tank. To recommission the bike it was lightly cleaned and oiled, its mechanical were systems checked over, the magneto was rebuilt and reproduction tires were fitted. About 100 miles have been added to the Super X's mileage during Mr. Mork's ownership.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the title for this motorcycle is in transit. Please note, that this motorcycle is subject to California Highway Patrol VIN inspection--a simple procedural matter on which the condition or history of the motorcycle has no bearing. Following the auction, this lot will be transported to San Francisco, at no cost to the buyer, and will be available for collection from San Francisco on January 22nd.
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Original and authentic American classic with just 4400 miles,1928 Excelsior-Henderson Super X Engine no. A6032
Original and authentic American classic with just 4400 miles,1928 Excelsior-Henderson Super X Engine no. A6032
Original and authentic American classic with just 4400 miles,1928 Excelsior-Henderson Super X Engine no. A6032
Original and authentic American classic with just 4400 miles,1928 Excelsior-Henderson Super X Engine no. A6032
Original and authentic American classic with just 4400 miles,1928 Excelsior-Henderson Super X Engine no. A6032
Original and authentic American classic with just 4400 miles,1928 Excelsior-Henderson Super X Engine no. A6032
Original and authentic American classic with just 4400 miles,1928 Excelsior-Henderson Super X Engine no. A6032
Original and authentic American classic with just 4400 miles,1928 Excelsior-Henderson Super X Engine no. A6032
Original and authentic American classic with just 4400 miles,1928 Excelsior-Henderson Super X Engine no. A6032
Original and authentic American classic with just 4400 miles,1928 Excelsior-Henderson Super X Engine no. A6032
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