1930 Art Deco Henderson

1930 art deco excelsior henderson streamliner built by Frank Westfall

About a week ago I posted the pic above and it seems to have excited quite a number of people across the internets, so here’s a few more pics and some info.

I took these photos at the Rhinebeck Grand National Meet where the newly restored bike was unveiled. The bike belongs to Frank Westfall from Syracuse, NY. According to some info I found online, the bike was originally built by O. Ray Courtney in 1936 and is based on a 1930 K.J Henderson. The bike is powered by inline four cylinder (not a scooter as some have said, check the shot of the motor below) and as I’m sure you can gather by now, is a one-off custom. What I can confirm is it does run and while it looked a bit unwieldy, Frank could be seen riding the bike around the Fairgrounds all weekend. But let’s be honest here (and maybe I’m wrong) - you don’t have this bike in your stable to go out for a long Sunday afternoon ride to get some ice cream. That said, it was pretty awesome to see the bike being ridden (even when rain started to come down) instead of being sheltered behind a velvet rope, never to see the rubber touch asphalt again. The bike is a fantastic piece of history, the craftsmanship is absolutely stunning and it’s surely more of a museum piece than a daily rider. Frank has obviously spent an incredible amount of time meticulously restoring and rebuilding the bike to its current gorgeous state. Hats off to Frank for the amazing work he did and for sharing it with all us gawkers. Frank, if you see this and want to send in more info about the bike, I’d love to share it.

Rhinebeck_ADexcel__103.jpgSide shot

art deco streamliner motorcycle vintage custom
Four-cylinders

Rhinebeck_ADexcel__107.jpgRhinebeck_ADexcel__109.jpgThe rear end

Rhinebeck_ADexcel__104.jpgRhinebeck_ADexcel__105.jpgRhinebeck_ADexcel__106.jpg

art deco streamliner motorcycle vintage customRhinebeck_ADexcel__102.jpg Cockpit and Front Grill

Rhinebeck_ADexcel__100.jpgFrank getting ready to go for a ride around the Fairgrounds, beverage in-hand.

98 Responses to “1930 Art Deco Henderson”

  1. Warden says:

    Dang! Cool….

  2. Speedmaster says:

    Wow, the most beautiful bike I’ve ever seen!!

  3. Art deco custom motorcycle | Bike EXIF says:

    […] Every few months, a bike comes along that completely stops me in my tracks. Like this one: an Art Deco-influenced machine that could have come straight from the pen of Harley Earl. The bike caused a stir last month when it appeared at the Rhinebeck Grand National Meet, a popular motorcycle show held a couple of hours drive north of NYC. Word started to spread. And with the help of a few Bike EXIF readers, we’ve tracked down the details—and got some shots thanks to Grail Mortillaro of the excellent grassroots chopper blog Knucklebuster. […]

  4. Don says:

    Gorgeous is an understatement!

  5. galluzzi m. says:

    UNBELIVABLE!!!

  6. bob the plumber says:

    I just love the art deco period ,but one of it`s dissapointments for me has been the small number of art deco motorcycle designs,so it`s great to see an incredibly beautifull design such as this one,it really looks like it was done by the factory.Nevertheless, the shot of the owner on board seems to point up some ergonomic problems,unless of course he`s 2 metres tall!I`d like to see it minus bodywork to see if it`s got smaller wheels than the big old hoops normal for the period ,cos i reckon even tho the bodywork is quite wide , full lock would find large dia. wheels causing a few problems.

  7. Cavalcare i ruggenti anni 30 - MUMM CODE says:

    […] 0 comments Foto di Knuclebuster […]

  8. Mad River Motor Company says:

    No surprise here that a Henderson rules the roost…

  9. 1930 Art Deco Henderson | Dubai Bikers says:

    […] These picture caused quite a stir in automotive circles in Dubai, UAE. With a little help from our friends at CrankAndPiston, we managed to get the source of info of this amazing bike. As most of the time, KnuckleBusters were the ones to spread the news. Read what they have to say. […]

  10. fatcrab says:

    bet your right leg gets hot

  11. Tech & Science » Old-School, Art-Deco And Oh So Cool says:

    […] This heavily customized 1930 K.J. Henderson motorcycle was built by O. Ray Courtney in 1936 and restored by Frank Westfall. Grail Mortillaro of Knucklebuster spotted the bike at the Rhinebeck Grand National Super Meet last month and recently posted some pics. […]

  12. Dutch says:

    The small dash gauges are 1934 Pierce Arrow; very nice.

  13. mercury_marine says:

    GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    (drool)

  14. Phil R says:

    Gaaah! Nice bike, for sure, but a total waste of a KJ.

  15. Dani R says:

    It is a disgrace for this beautiful motorcycle to ride it in shorts and trainers. Put a f-g tie and a suit.

  16. Heat Pump Repair says:

    Amazing Motorcycle. A real work of art!

  17. carlo says:

    I agree, modern casual clothes look completely out of place.

    I think a pair of wool knickers, argyle knee socks, a flat cap and a tie would be appropriate dress for riding this machine.

  18. mofunky says:

    Thought this was the most beautiful motorcycle…until I saw the last image…sorry but thats a fail.

  19. JC says:

    I want it. :) Goggles, a full length Mac, high leather boots, gauntlet gloves and a leather helmet. zoom, zoom.

  20. カッコイイ! « tokyo私的map says:

    […] カッコイイ! 参ったと思うような造形・・・全くといっていいほどの、実用的な機能がダメそうなマシン。でもねカッコイイんだ。二輪のバイクだからダメなんであって、これが、SFの世界のエアバイクとかなら文句なしのデザイン。映画の中で、浮かんでるんじゃなくて、ぶっ飛ぶような疾走してたならすごく良い。音は嘘でいいからやっぱりV Twinの低回転のドカドカした音。うーん、カッコイイ!!! 7月 22nd, 2010 | Category: ふと思うこと, 未分類 […]

  21. Gorgeous – Frank Westfall’s 1930 Art Deco Henderson motorcycle | Daring Minds.Com says:

    […] Frank Westfall’s 1930 Art Deco Henderson motorcycle via Twitter. Knucklebuster writes - I took these photos at the Rhinebeck Grand National Meet where the newly restored bike was unveiled. The bike belongs to Frank Westfall from Syracuse, NY. According to some info I found online, the bike was originally built by O. Ray Courtney in 1936 and is based on a 1930 K.J Henderson. The bike is powered by inline four cylinder (not a scooter as some have said, check the shot of the motor below) and as I’m sure you can gather by now, is a one-off custom. What I can confirm is it does run and while it looked a bit unwieldy, Frank could be seen riding the bike around the Fairgrounds all weekend. But let’s be honest here (and maybe I’m wrong) – you don’t have this bike in your stable to go out for a long Sunday afternoon ride to get some ice cream. That said, it was pretty awesome to see the bike being ridden (even when rain started to come down) instead of being sheltered behind a velvet rope, never to see the rubber touch asphalt again. The bike is a fantastic piece of history, the craftsmanship is absolutely stunning and it’s surely more of a museum piece than a daily rider. Frank has obviously spent an incredible amount of time meticulously restoring and rebuilding the bike to its current gorgeous state. Hats off to Frank for the amazing work he did and for sharing it with all us gawkers. […]

  22. Diogenes says:

    Mofunky, the guy is holding adrink. That’s not his riding posture.
    Look at where his right had is. I figure that the riding posture would be quite “laid back”. So, I would rescind the ‘fail”. :-)

  23. tiger says:

    i have to agree with Dani, carlo, mofunky, etc…not only is the modern outfit completely out of place, but either Frank’s a gigantic man or this bike is really small. it looks a lot more impressive and imposing in the parked photos, without Frank (and his drink!) all scrunched up on it. and what’s up with the guy hanging onto the handles on the back? are the running boards so wide that it takes a ground crew to get this thing into motion?

  24. BT Humble says:

    The worst part is that his left hand is searching for a cup holder.

    BTH

  25. JKR says:

    This bike is one of a pair designed and built by Courtney in the ’30s. It was restored by the amazing Pat Murphy of Syracuse, NY. I have a picture without the sheetmetal, but not sure how to post it. It is all KJ Henderson parts, except the period airplane wheels, and mentioned Packard gauges. The other is “The Enterprise”, powered by an Indian Scout, unrestored and also gets ridden by Frank, in shorts, with beer on him, or in him! He also rides his 1912 Henderson, beer, shorts, etc…You want to go clothes shopping and play dress up or ride a rare bike?
    Thanks for posting these great pictures!
    JKR

  26. grail21 says:

    JKR - thanks for posting that additional info. I would love to see the pic of it without sheetmetal. Email it to me at grail21@gmail.com

  27. Will says:

    Diogenes,

    not when you’re turning it won’t be laid back. his left hand with the cup is still on the handle and his right hand is pulled in because he is turning the bike. it looks like the rider has to lean forward on it…

  28. Tim says:

    For the folks blasting the bike based on the picture of the gentleman actually on the bike, look at it again…his foot is propped up on that pedal (clutch?) on the left side. Factor this in with the fact that we are considerably taller than the average adult male from 1930, and I believe you will have to remove your “fail”.

  29. Nota Bene says:

    Wow…quite the coolest thing I’ve seen for a very long time. Absolutely beautiful

  30. DR.VEGAS says:

    Absolutely beautiful…and wildly impractical.Figures…

  31. Werwolf says:

    Hello. Yes It is a great bike, I myself have a little history with it way before Frank acquired this Hendy, The owner previous to Frank had me house both of the stream liners an Indian twin and the Henderson 4. I had assembled as much of the original sheet metal and took some pics to help seller . I even had an old Unity Blue headlamp from a former firetruck that was used but with running road lamp. I am glad he did invest money and assembled a great crew to restore this Bike,
    Howls to all the old timer bikers who remember me as “Bill on The Hill”from Sterling NY

  32. DR.VEGAS says:

    Build it to modern full scale…add a sidecar…perfection.

  33. grail21 says:

    Hey Bill, thanks for checking in - I love hearing more about this piece of history.
    -Grail • Knucklebusterinc.com

  34. Ron Golden says:

    My dad roda a Henderson (stock) from the upper east coast to California during the early 30’s. Lots of dirt and gravel roads.

    Ron

  35. Gray Mitchell says:

    I can appreciate the craftsmanship but I think its fucking ugly!!!!

    And the guy riding it must be a pretty hardcore alcoholic to ride it smashed up.

    Riding drunk is gay.

  36. ian says:

    And you can tell he is drinking how? because he is holding a cup? Assuming is GAY. BTW the bike is awesome

  37. Dan the BIGXman in MN says:

    Innovative art deco design and using an excellent platform of the prestigious 1930 Henderson. I’ve ridden those era Henderson’s and Excelsior Super X’s, and indeed they are a splendid bike, and although big for their day, are small by comparison today. Kudos to the designers of the past who were able to design and build without the use of modern day computers. Truly a testament to skill.

  38. Obefiend says:

    what an awesome bike!

  39. John Lewis says:

    Thanks for posting this– truly an inspiration.

  40. AidanCoghlan says:

    That bike is absolutley beautiful..well done

  41. j says:

    wow!sweet!beautiful!masterpiece!

  42. Fernando @ Custom Motorcycle Exhaust says:

    Truly amazing tear drop design, beautifull indeed.

  43. Gary says:

    It looks spectacular in the pictures…until the last one, where it looks like a Vespa! How small is this thing? What are its dimensions? Was it built for midgets? Yeah, there are a lot of bikes around now that are bigger than a vintage Henderson…but those were still substantial, about the size of a current mid-size cruiser like an 800 Suzuki or a 750 Honda Shadow. So why is this one so tiny? I’d olve to see some specs on it…wheelbase, seat height, etc.

  44. Gary says:

    Er…I’d LOVE to see some specs…

  45. grail21 says:

    I don’t have any raw specs, but from standing next to it - it’s quite long. The sitting position looks incredibly awkward and while the bike is certainly rideable, it’s more show than go. When standing next to it, the bike feels like big - like a Cadillac.

  46. Lone says:

    All around an amazing looking piece of work (original / restored) but the front sells it all.
    And the last pic does it no justice in that afternoon sunlight. Spotlit roads at night, maybe some rain with a trench-coat, is where it belongs.

  47. John says:

    The details are sublime, but the total package is ridiculous. It looks like a mashup of the batmobile and the weinermobile.

  48. Richard Beldue says:

    Left side kick starter, first one i’ve seen on that side.

  49. joe momma says:

    …..trenchcoat with tuxedo underneith….yes rain soaked dark night……sorry fellers……all bikes is like all girls…..you love them and they love you back…..somewhat more exotic are some but still need love and lovers…..

  50. Dee says:

    Good style!

    but too small :-(

  51. Henry says:

    I love the bike but the last photo IS a giant Fail. I don’t care who you are. Have a little respect for the equipment and the period.

  52. Alan LaRue says:

    It appears to me that he should be kneeling, rather than putting his feet flat on the floorboards. Wonder if he’s tried that.

  53. Mark H. says:

    Obviously missing a key modern element; the beverage holder.

  54. mcycle-nut says:

    I have a left hand kick starter on my Frankenstein bike. It’s a ‘72 Suzuki GT250 that a T350 top end and a T250 bottom end. Suzuki made their GT250 with the left hand kick starter up until 1978.
    As for the bike shown, it looks REALLY uncomfortabale to ride, or the guy must be a about 7ft tall. Pretty cool looking though, as long as nobody is trying to riding it…

  55. Toyz says:

    I am a motorcycle ride of Japan.
    This motorcycle is the best-looking to have ever seen.
    It is a target in the future though it is a retro.

    There is a good-looking motorcycle named SW-1 also in Japan I was completely defeated though I had gotten on it.

    It is wonderful. It wants it.

  56. BackwardsBoy says:

    That is, hands down, the most beautiful motorcycle I’ve ever seen.

  57. MontyCapuletti says:

    This was built by Orange County Choppers or Paul Jr. Designs in 3 days.

  58. sunsync says:

    I’m surprised nobody has recognized the Deco automotive influence of Figoni et Falaschi while admiring this gorgeous bike. Check out how the style relates: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?id=1576207854&aid=21618

  59. Greg says:

    Absolutely beautiful! How nice to see that the craftsmanship exists to restore something ike this. Bikers really are an exceptional and truly global group.

  60. Craig Fish says:

    Please don’t let Billy Joel get his hands on it! He crashes everything he rides or drives!! He is one dude that definitely needs a chauffer.

  61. Ray Ramsey says:

    It look eerie similar to the New Vision but built in 1936??? Huh???
    Amazing the Innovation over 80 Years Previous.
    Thanks

    Ray Ramsey
    Costa Rica Land, Co.
    www.crland.info

  62. Flip says:

    It’s WAAAAY better in person though these are lovely photos. Nobody, ,cept maybe a Crocker pilot, is gonna out-Cool you on this. Flipper

  63. mike chase says:

    I am surprised that no one has commented on the similarity between this bike and the “SMOOTHNESS” bike designed by California builder Carl Brouhard and built by Carl and Arlen Ness. This Henderson is indeed a thing of beauty and the Ness bike obviously draws influence from the Hendy. Practical? Party clothes? who cares? When you place this bike in the context of when it was created it is even more of a success.

  64. Lloyd Pennington says:

    That is one cool piece of automotive industrial design. I love the art deco period and I love cars and bikes. This is like a dream come true :-)

  65. mike says:

    that is 1 fine bike,the art deco rely makes the bike stand-out from all the custom bikes today.it makes a statement about the originality of the time period,not to mention it stands out in the croud.today everyone basically has the same “custom”style bike just a different color combination to make it thiers.and even there most just change the colors not the paint scheme.there’s no true originality today like back then.watch the “custom bike” building shows today,orange county is basically the same as jesse james.walk into a harley shop and minus different colors the only customizing they is plus or minus 1-2 extras.art deco was about new technology and what a mans imagination could do with it.with all the new tech today the best a man can do is copy anothers idea.this is bike is original as the first harley or WWII error choppers.

  66. W E Mack says:

    My Dad quit ridin’ when Henderson went under, said there wasn’t any reason to ride any more. If he was still alive he would go nuts over this bike! Yes, it reminded me of Smoothness too. 1936 huh? Absolutely amazing. Indeed, the only bike that could possibly out-cool a Crocker. BTW, I was astounded to learn at a local Friday night cruise there’s a restored 1937 Crocker 61 incher in my town of 61,000 people. A real trip watchin’ the 75-80 yr old owner/rebuilder kickin’ it over and ridin’ away-straight pipe barkin’!

    Eddie

  67. vincent vescuso says:

    I love the styling. That is one of the reasons I love my 07 Yamaha Roadliner S.

  68. Arnie Swekel says:

    Whew, I love the design, it’s inspiring. Incredible.. BUT, it’s half the size I want it to be. ;)

  69. DV says:

    Where’s the cup holder?

  70. JaHo says:

    Surprised that nobody has pointed out the similarities to the Victory Vision, a modern bike with some similarly controversial styling… and an available cupholder.

  71. Matt Moran says:

    I’d get the foot controls moved back a bit so the riding position isn’t feet-forward. It looks seriously uncomfortable like that. You’d want the riding position to be more like Burt Munro’s Indian: http://www.knucklebusterinc.com/features/pics/2.jpg

  72. Paula Root says:

    Hey Andrew! So, when did you become a bike enthusiast? My Dad would be amused! VERY cool bike!

  73. Ron says:

    I think it’s an awesome work of art and an amazing piece of history.

  74. Lee Robinson says:

    “Surprised that nobody has pointed out the similarities to the Victory Vision…”

    When I saw this bike I instantly thought of a Hayabusa - especially the lines of the tail.

  75. ed norton says:

    nice bike to bad the guy riding it is a jerk

  76. Old Classic Motorcycles says:

    beutyfull motorcycle… i like it

  77. Billy Joel says:

    Hey Craig Fish -
    Go fuck yourself. You don’t know shit about me - only what you read in the tabloids.
    Billy Joel

  78. lebreton says:

    superbe
    very good work

  79. Lee Banyard says:

    Hey Billy Joel, remember - Craig didn’t start the fire!

    ;)

  80. Ner-A-Car Museum headed by a very familiar fella at Hemmings Blog – Classic and collectible cars and parts says:

    […] We later learned that the museum was headed by Frank Westfall, someone the vintage bike collector should know full well. Frank owns an original 1952 Enterprise bike as well as the restyled 1930 KJ Henderson that was displayed at Rhinebeck this June and made the rounds of all the blogs this summer. Most of Frank’s bikes are unrestored, except for the  Henderson, and Frank loves to ride too – in fact, he rode a 1928 Henderson in the 1996 Great Race from Tacoma, Washington, to Boston, Massachusetts, against four-wheel competition and he is a true asset to the vintage bike collector hobby. […]

  81. Astrida says:

    A museum should buy it from him, or at least Hollywood should approach him to insert a replica bike in the next action-hero based flick set in the 1930’s. Its like a bike THE PHANTOM should ride, or something like that.

  82. Brad Cain says:

    Hey,its another great RARE bike saved (& RIDDEN)by Frank! NOW: I SERIOUSLY doubt that the celebrities Ed Norton Or Billy Joel are personally posting here. If you ride , there is one truth: “There are 2 types of riders - those who have gone down, & those who WILL go down”. Its part of riding, an (unfortunate) right of passage.

  83. Reddog says:

    Hats off to Frank (aka Harry Dink), This is an awesome piece that he has been kind enough to share with us and then some of you morons have the gall to critcize him. That takes balls!!!! Frank, keep up the good work and I assume that it is these bastards that don’t have a life that lead you to drink!!! What a great piece!!!

    Reddog

  84. Mustang Salvador says:

    Dr. Von Suave!

  85. kwest187 says:

    very sleek…but if he were doing a burn out instead of having some dude hold him up by the door handles it’d be even more impressive…
    I’d ride it-

  86. Michael Przibilski says:

    Good day.

    Sorry, my English is very bad. But, the 1930 Art Deco Henderson is a beautiful bike, and I would like to report on our motorcycle magazine about it. Could you maybe send me the pictures and the text on my email address? Inclusive of a pressure release. In return I can offer them a report on an Atlantis 500cc from 1932.

    Best regards, Michael Przibilski.

  87. websthing73 says:

    Hey Billy Joel,
    Say your interview on “Cafe Racer” magazine series. Very cool brother! Keep the faith!!

  88. Boy says:

    Nice

  89. Lee says:

    Nice bike, but what a dumbass sitting on it: tennis shoes, shorts, tee-shirt, no eye protection. Of course he isn’t really riding it, but he still looks stupid on it.

  90. Miowarra Tomokatu says:

    Brad Cain said:
    “There are 2 types of riders - those who have gone down, & those who WILL go down”.

    In other words, if you don’t fall off - you’re not trying hard enough!

  91. Mitchum says:

    I love the fact that Frank shrugs off the offers to buy this, and he rides it. Insanity has it’s priveleges.

  92. nima kiani says:

    i love to now about somw pcs of two war

  93. Mitchum says:

    Hey Ed Norton, It’s great to know that your money and your celebrity ranking can’t buy some things you thought you could get. You’ll never own this bike and I LOVE IT. Frank’s a great guy by the way, You are just an actor in the game of life, the rest of us actually live.

  94. Rick Courtney says:

    I know where 2 of the ENTERPRISE bikes are, a 3rd is in the HARD ROCK CAFE wharehouse somewhere. It was to be in a movie, but changes were made to the script. TWO of the bikes had BSA engines,the 3rd. had a INDIAN engine. He even had a spare INDIAN engine in its crate when he passed away.the original HENDERSON was a burgundy red in color.

  95. Toad Hollow Photography says:

    I am a car, truck & bike nut, especially the classics… never seen ANYTHING like this in my life before! A real wonderful series of images and accompanying blog to entertain everyone. Great series!!

  96. Lukáš Hlaváček says:

    Hello, I looked Handersona photo and I have not seen anything more beautiful. I am from Republic, where you can see the bike. It is possible to buy this bike? Thank you Luke

  97. Phillip says:

    Impractical? Kind of like a beautiful woman that can’t cook. Who cares?

  98. Mick says:

    Hats off to Chico for being the guy to find these machines in the first place

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