Sunday, January 5, 2014

Harley Hot Shot

Almost 2 months back I posted about an old Hot Rod magazine article featuring a Big Stroker.  As luck would have it, the same magazine from 1960 had a second vehicle featured with a Knuckle motor; this one a Bonneville car.  Yes, I said car as in automobile ...but with a Harley Knuckle motor.

The car was hand built using a mold taken from an English Cooper racer, two inch tube frame and Ford Anglia front suspension.  Rear axle was none other than a Harley Davidson Servi-Car (trike) unit.  

A fellow by the name of Bill Burke was the car's owner.  While Harley enthusiasts may not be familiar with that name, he is a Bonneville legend, credited with building the first belly tank racer.
The engine builder may be more familiar to those interested in early motorcycle drag racing, since it was well known racer C.B. Clausen.  He built this Knuck motor to 90 inches, modifying the heads for a pair of Riley carbs and supplied his own cam grind.
The car ran 151 MPH at the '59 Bonneville meet, coming up short of the expected 180 due to galled pistons.  I think all of us Knucklehead fanatics out here can empathize with that; myself perhaps more than most!  It would be interesting to find out if that 180 MPH speed was ever attained, and where it is now. 


47str8leg said...

Hard to tell from the pics but could it be a Drake water cooled knuckle?


St. Lee said...

I don't think it was a Drake, but that is based on some of the text that I did not mention. For one thing, the text says the larger cubic inches were attained with BORE and stroke. I don't think the Drake would lend itself to bigger cylinders.

The text also mentions that the chassis was set up with an eye towards cooling airflow over the motor.

It is hard to tell from the pics, but I think the ones without the body were taken during a mock up stage in the initial build. I can see there are no covers on the spring cups and also no sign of the dual carbs yet. My guess is that the motor shown is not the big inch one used at Bonneville.

D B said...

Lee, Ive been following your blog on and off for years, Its good to see your still sharing your knowledge. I may use a few of your ideas on an 45 I have setting around the barn. Be well

St. Lee said...

Thanks for the encouraging words DB, and good luck with the 45 project.