Henderson 1914 “Model C” 1065 cc I.O.E. four cylinder engine # 2937
Scottish-born brothers William G. and Thomas W. Henderson founded their motorcycle company in Detroit, Michigan in 1911. Their aim was to manufacture a luxurious, reliable four-cylinder machine that was substantially better than anything else available. The first production models were announced in November 1911 and christened “Model B”; the 1911 protype was Model A. To underline the machine’s qualities Carl Stevens Clancy made a journey around the world with a Henderson four, covering a distance of 18,000 miles. From the 1913 model on yearly improvements were made in the design: in 1913 the cylindrical petrol tank was changed to a flat one, the saddle position was lowered and the rear brake improved. The 1912 and 1913 models were single speeders with drip feed oil system, Eclipse clutch and hand crank start. In 1914 the oiling system was still of the splash type but a two speed hub gear was introduced as an option and 1915 saw the introduction of a shorter frame; the early frames had a wheelbase of no less than 65 inches, the 1915 Model E had a frame that was shortened to 58 inches though a long frame model was still available that year as Model D. The idea behind the long frames of the early models was that it gave the possibility to place a roomy aluminium footboard with foot pedals in front of the engine. The factory claimed that this gave a better riding position and made sure the rider got no discomfort of the hot engine because of the position of his legs and feet. Another advantage, so claimed the sales folder, was that a longer wheelbase machine would “rock” over road unevenness, while a machine with a shorter wheelbase would rather “jump” it. Both foot pedals operate the external band rear brake.
This Model C is a single speeder, the Eclipse clutch is operated by the long lever to the left of the petrol tank. According to the factory the engine delivered 10hp, good for a top speed of around 65mph. Starting is by foldable hand crank and a chain guard was not deemed necessary. This very rare early Henderson has been restored meticulously, both mechanically and cosmetically. Accessories include an Overland speedometer, Miller head light and Ero rear light.