Gorgeous Art Deco Henderson Motorcycle

Photo of 1930s Henderson by Grail Mortillaro.

Photo by Grail Mortillaro, KnuckleBusterInc.com.

As you might be able to tell, I get a little worked up over gear and over history sometimes. Every now and then, there’s a piece of equipment I see that combines the two, and just makes me blow a gasket.

This vintage custom bike based on a 1930s Henderson, showcased at Grail Mortillaro’s DIY motorcycle blog KnuckleBusterInc.com, is so many flavors of gorgeous I don’t even know which one to start with. It comes to me via this cat I know who runs the equally awesome cocktail blog 12BottleBar.com.

That this custom motorcycle is a work of art goes without saying. The pictures have to be seen to be believed; pretty much all I can do is stare and drool. Anyone who appreciates vintage motor vehicles, product design, or the art deco period can surely appreciate this bike. Check out said pix at KnuckleBuster, and I’ll quote Mortillaro on a few of the deets:

I took these photos at the Rhinebeck Grand National Meet where the newly restored bike was unveiled. The bike belongs to Frank Westfall from Syracuse, NY. According to some info I found online, the bike was originally built by O. Ray Courtney in 1936 and is based on a 1930 K.J Henderson. The bike is powered by inline four cylinder (not a scooter as some have said, check the shot of the motor below) and as I’m sure you can gather by now, is a one-off custom.

Mortillaro continues:

…The bike is a fantastic piece of history, the craftsmanship is absolutely stunning and it’s surely more of a museum piece than a daily rider.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. What even possesses a human to create something like this? Same kinda demon that possessed Michelangelo, Hildegard Von Bingen, Jimi Hendrix, Sylvia Plath — only with more horsepower and a torque wrench. Not to, you know, put too fine a point on it or anything.

The Henderson that Mr. Mortillaro refers to is the Henderson motorcycle built from 1912 to 1931; Wikipedia informs me Henderson motorcycles were the biggest and fastest motorcycles of their day, favored by police because of their obvious utility in pursuit. The KJs were late model Henderson, and a thriving restoration community exists today.

There are more pics of the bike at KnuckleBusterInc.com.

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4 comments on “Gorgeous Art Deco Henderson Motorcycle
  1. Pingback: Gorgeous Art Deco Henderson Motorcycle « Skid Roche

  2. Thanks for the plug, Thomas. I’ve seen a few Hendersons in the flesh, but nothing close to this one. Now, I’m just wondering when we see it in some retro-future flick.

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