Posts Tagged ‘Excelsior-Henderson’

Here’s Another Excelsior-Henderson Website

May 31, 2010

This One’s Been Up and Running Since 2001

The other day, I wrote about a new website launched by Dan Hanlon and others to preserve the heritage of the Excelsior-Henderson motorcycle mystique. Here is the site, and you can read the post about it here. That posting drew lots of visitors, in part, I’m told, because of the existence of another site, www.superxowners.com, launched about 10 years ago.

Dan Hanlon and his brother, Dave, are founders of the Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle Manufacturing Company that was based in Belle Plaine, Minn., an hour’s drive south of Minneapolis, and a pleasant bike ride from the home of The Motor Company in Milwaukee.

Nick Trumbo and his son, Trevor, launched and operate the SuperX site. While both sites are remarkably similar in their overall designs, there is one interesting difference: Dan Hanlon runs the new site, while his brother, Dave Hanlon, and Dave’s wife, Jennie, are involved in the Trumbo site.

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Excelsior-Henderson Website Is Launched

May 24, 2010

Remember the Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle Manufacturing Company, the exciting Minnesota start-up that burst on the motorcycle OEM scene before going bust in the early 1990s? It was a compelling story about a small group of enthusiasts who challenged the major manufacturers and captured the hearts and minds of riders and investors before running out of cash.

Don’t get me wrong. The company’s not back, as far as I know, but it’s remembered on a new website developed by Dan Hanlon, one of the company’s founders. The website is http://www.excelsiorhenderson.com. You can see it here.

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Bid on Henderson’s Original ACE Drawings

December 26, 2008

Mid-America Auctions plans to place William Henderson’s original drawings for the ACE motorcycle on the block during a Jan. 10 auction in Las Vegas.
During the World War I era, a number of early manufacturers went out of business or were bought up by stronger companies. William Henderson sold his company to a German immigrant, Ignatius Schwinn. The Henderson had a fine reputation as being America’s most luxurious, elegant, and expensive four-cylinder motorcycle. Schwinn felt he had taken ownership of the “best of the best” and added it to his Excelsior Line. Despite signing a non-compete clause, Henderson soon began plans for another bike, the ACE.
Henderson began drawing the plans for his ACE and searching for investors to help finance the new factory. Production began as soon as his non-compete expired. However, money would eventually run out, and while searching for the finances needed to complete his machine, production was moved, and even discontinued a couple of times.
On Dec. 11, 1922, while Henderson was test riding the new ACE, he was struck by a car and killed. Within weeks his assistant, Arthur Lemon, completed the final drawings, and then sold the rights to Indian Motorcycle Co. Indian produced the bike as the ACE, then Indian ACE, and finally as their own brand, the Indian Four.
Henderson’s original drawings, numbering approximately 400 pieces, disappeared from view. Lost in the files of the massive Indian Company, the Henderson Ace drawings were assumed to have been destroyed in 1953, when the original Indian went out of business. Astonishingly, the new owner, Bill Melvin, found the drawings as they were being placed in a dumpster and headed for a landfill. They had sat under layers of dust in a warehouse for years.
The ACE drawings, done on a cloth material, are each signed and dated by William Henderson and Arthur Lemon. They’re still contained in the old envelopes from the Indian factory.
The auction is to be held at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas on Jan. 10. Click HERE to see the 500 vintage, classic & special interest motorcycles to be presented for auction.