1911 Curtiss Marvel Up for Grabs

We were reporting some two weeks ago about the upcoming Bonhams motorcycle sale in Las Vegas on January 6, 2011, which will feature over 200 rare motorcycles. Now, we come back with a few details on one of the most important bikes to be included in the sale, a 1911 Curtiss Marvel Single 500.

Expected to fetch between $50,000 - 70,000, the bike in question was formerly in the collection of the late Otis Chandler and has reportedly been treated to an exceptional restoration.

“The new Marvel was quite ingenious and bristled with innovation. At a time when most manufacturers used atmospheric intake valves, the new Marvel engine featured a jug cylinder with overhead valves and a unique actuation design that used a single pushrod to open both the intake and the exhaust valve mechanically,” Bonhams says.

The 500cc engine developed 4 to 5 horsepower, which was substantially superior to anything else on the market at that time, and was one of the earliest overhead valve applications.

“Curtiss may have also had ambitions to race this engine as the top of the cylinder has a spare boss intended to add a second spark plug in the head. An open magnet Bosch magneto provided reliable ignition to run the engine and a glass bowl Heitger carburetor controlled the fuel supply,” t
he description further reads.

“The chassis was as unusual as the motor. Instead of simply clamping the gas tank and oil tank on a conventional frame, these parts were brazed into the frame which used cast bulkheads. The engine served as a stress member of the frame. A sturdy fork of Curtiss' own design handled the poundings received on the road,” it concludes.
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