Lot Number
From The Allen Smith Collection of Significant Motorcycles
1914 Henderson Model C Four

Offered Without Reserve

• One of the era’s fastest and most sought-after motorcycles with inline ‘four’ power
• Example of the first Henderson model with transmission
• Marvelous presentation, presence, and detailing throughout
• Final restoration stages and engine rebuild by Brad Wilmarth
• Great example of “The Duesenberg of Vintage Motorcycles”

934 cc air-cooled F-head inline four-cylinder engine, 7 HP, two-speed manual transmission, tubular steel frame with twin leading-link forks, single rear brake; wheelbase: 65”

The grandson of pioneering automaker Alexander Winton, William Henderson was obsessed with the idea of building a motorcycle since childhood and, by 1909, he had designed a complete four-cylinder motorcycle. While father Tom first advised William to quit the idea, he gave his blessing for a prototype in 1911. From inception, Henderson’s motorcycle was a masterpiece featuring an inline four-cylinder engine with belt drive, built-in seating for two on the long chassis, and a long pair of “wheelbarrow” style handlebars. William was soon joined by brother Thomas, and with their father’s connections, $175,000 of capital was secured to build it. The first production Henderson rolled out of the Detroit factory in January 1912 with newly adopted chain drive. Powering it was a 934 cc (57 cid) F-head four-cylinder with a clutch and single-speed chain drive, with starting via folding hand crank. The long chassis included a short leading link front fork similar to that of FN/Sager/Harley-Davidson, and a one-year-only torpedo-shaped fuel/oil tank. The Henderson was a powerful, beautifully built, and expensive machine, priced from $325.

Typical of the early years of motorcycling, Henderson was committed to proving and promoting its products by setting records and the following year (1913), Carl Stearns Clancy became the first person to circle the globe on a motorcycle, riding a Henderson. His epic 18,000-mile journey began in October 1912 and finished the next August. This stunning feat certainly confirmed the Henderson’s durability and performance, but was overshadowed by a flood of competitors and then the economic complications of World War I. In 1917, the Henderson brothers sold out to Ignaz Schwinn, who also owned Excelsior.

Known as a ‘Model C’ by virtue of its new-for-1914 two-speed transmission, this 1914 Henderson Four came to the attention of Allen Smith in the spring of 2011, already benefiting handsomely from a superb and complete restoration. Brad Wilmarth, the noted vintage-motorcycle restorer from Chesterfield, Virginia, handled the latter stages of this Henderson’s restoration, and he rebuilt the unique four-cylinder engine as well, according to a recent conversation. Following completion, this 1914 Henderson Model C was obviously cherished, with images on file showing it lovingly displayed as a wonderful centerpiece in the home of then-owner Lowell Klock. In April 2011, Allen Smith purchased the Henderson and placed it into his carefully-chosen “quality over quantity” collection of vintage motorcycles. As now offered, this 1914 Henderson Model C is an important American legend. Handsome throughout, it offers you the outstanding opportunity to acquire and appreciate what is rightly regarded “The Duesenberg of Vintage American Motorcycles.”

1914 Henderson Model C Four
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