Excelsior 1919 “Series 19” combination 974cc IOE V-twin frame # 17025 9 engine # 101612
The famous American Excelsior motorcycle was produced by the Excelsior Motor Manufacturing Company of Chicago, Illinois from 1907 until 1931, latterly under the ‘Super-X’ brand name. The first Excelsior was a belt-driven single cylinder machine, the engine of which formed part of the frame. The engine itself was an inlet-over-exhaust ‘F-head’, a design then much in vogue because, whatever its limitations, it enabled the exhaust valve to be directly cooled by the incoming mixture, a positive advantage at a time when the science of metallurgy was in its infancy. Alongside rivals Harley-Davidson and Indian, Excelsior offered a three-speed countershaft transmission for 1915, at the same time introducing a new frame with curved top tube and smoothly rounded tank, a first for Excelsior. Deeply valanced mudguards distinguished the v-twin of 1917. ‘Military’ olive green was adopted as the Excelsior livery that year and would remain the only option until 1920 when blue became the norm. During the Great War, Excelsior was together with Harley Davidson and Indian first choice for the US Army to serve the US troops in their home land as well as the battling troops in Europe.
New for 1919 was the fitting as standard equipment of the double trussed military fork that had been fitted since 1917 to Excelsior machines for military service. The machine has two independently operated brakes, both working on the rear wheel. One is of the internal expanding type, operated by the left foot pedal, the other is activated by the right-hand side foot pedal and works with a contracting band on the outer circumference of the drum. A Berling magneto takes care of the spark.
A practical detail of the Excelsior design is the clutch release. The clutch is activated with the left foot pedal and released with the left handle bar twist grip. Very handy when driving off, since both feet can stay on the ground.
The combination we present here is in an extremely well preserved original condition. Engine and gearbox have been refurbished. Extras include acetylene lighting system, with handlebar mounted Prest-O-Lite tank, and of course the side car. The side car’s leather upholstery has been professionally restored.