2015 Shannons Sydney Late Autumn Classic Auction

c1924 Ace 75ci (1230cc) Motorcycle 4-Cylinder In-Line (Project)


Passed In


Engine In-line four-cylinder, 75-cid
Gearbox 3-speed manual


This lot is no longer available

The Ace motorcycle concern was founded by William Henderson in Philadelphia with backing from a bicycle manufacturer named Max Sladkin. Henderson and his brother Tom had previously built motorcycles under their own name before accepting an offer from the Excelsior company based in Detroit in 1917. The move ended acrimoniously and by 1919 William Henderson had begun developing an entirely new machine based around an impressive in-line four-cylidner engine with a bore and stroke of 68.58mm by 82mm, with the stated aim of building the fastest motorcycles in the world. The new Ace motorcycle was a huge hit, aided by success in racing and endurance feats and the fledgling company struggled to keep up with demand. One notable publicity stunt saw Cannonball Baker ride from Los Angeles to New York in under seven days in September 1922, slashing 17 hours off the existing coast to coast record. Tragically William Henderson was killed in a testing accident in 1923 and Ace were forced to find a new designer, poaching Arthur Lemon from Excelsior who was himself a former Henderson salesman. By 1924 the Ace company found itself in financial difficulty and ultimately was forced to close the doors on the Philadelphia factory for good, although several attempts were made to revive the brand. In 1927 Indian bought the Ace design and released a new version at the Motor Cycle Show held at Madison Square Gardens that year, with production commencing at Springfield thereafter, but this was an Ace in name only.