Art Deco Henderson Redux

1930 art deco excelsior henderson streamliner built by Frank Westfall

I find it completely fascinating how much attention this one bike has stirred up around the internet. Everyday the post gets more comments and other blogs are still posting about it (thanks for linking back). The coolest thing to come out of it though is finding out more about the bike. Pat Murphy dropped me a line last week, check out what he has to say:

My name is Pat Murphy and I am the one that restored the bike for Frank Westfall. I’m amazed at all the interest in the bike. I put a lot of effort into repairing and fixing the machine while trying not to destroy its originality. I was riding it around the neighborhood just last evening! Frank has original pics of O Ray Courtney on the bike in 1936 and also in the 40’s. It appears that he rode the machine quite a lot. There is also a patent in his name from the 30’s on the streamlined body style. He made several of these weird machines, each unique. Frank has another one (called the enterprise which is an Indian) and he has a pic of Courtney on the streamliner next to his son in WW2 military clothes sitting on another unique machine that I assume he also made. It took me forever to fix the body and paint it but I can’t begin to imagine how long it took Courtney to make it. Just conceptualizing the design was an incredible feat and accomplishment for him. Everything was gas welded with steel rod. No electric welding or brass. Thanks for your interest. Here are a few pics without the body. Notice the swing arm rear suspension with springs and knee-acting shock absorber. It also has a rear hydraulic brake. The rims are cast aluminum split rims that appear to be from an airplane. The only tires I could buy were from an aircraft supply house.

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How crazy is it to see it with out the shell? I realize it takes away the sex appeal, but I love seeing the reality behind the curtain. I imagine seeing what lies beneath the bodywork will ruin it for some people, but to me it makes it that much cooler. What lies on the surface is incredible, but what lies beneath it is equally so. Thanks to Pat for checking in, and to JKR as well.


6 Responses to “Art Deco Henderson Redux”

  1. Chris@Her Majesty's Thunder says:

    Airplane tires! The naked bike is just as impressive as the shell. Great post.

  2. Warren says:

    Absolutely beautiful! I’ve been wanting to see under the shell since I first saw this bike, thanks for posting these! (got any more?)

    This is an inspiring piece of work, great job.

  3. MadRiverMoCo says:

    There is nothing more beautiful than an inline four - thanks Grail for digging deeper

  4. Omer says:

    Is there any way you could get pictures of the Indian Mr. Murphy mentions? I would love to see what that machine looks like.

  5. Warden says:

    absolutely stunning bike! with or without the skin. Love to see it in person one day!

  6. Dr. William Horrible, PhD says:

    Indeed a gorgeous machine, certainly hope to see more pictures of this bike soon.

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