Curtiss V-8 motorcycle
|Class||Speed record challenger|
|Engine||269 cu in (4,410 cc), dual carburetor, 90° F-head V-8|
|Bore / stroke||3.625 in × 3.25 in (92.1 mm × 82.6 mm)|
|Top speed||136 mph (219 km/h)|
|Power||40 hp (30 kW) @ 1,800 RPM|
|Ignition type||Battery ignition, jump-spark|
Shaft and rear hub bevel
|Frame type||Steel tubing|
|Brakes||Rear v brake|
|Tires||26 in (660 mm)|
|Wheelbase||64 in (1.6 m)|
|Dimensions||L: 7 ft 10 in (2.4 m)
W: 2 ft 3 in (0.7 m)
H: 3 ft (0.9 m)
|Weight||275 lb (125 kg) (wet)|
|Fuel capacity||2.5 US gal (9.5 l)|
The Curtiss V-8 motorcycle was a 269 cu in (4,410 cc) V8 engine-powered motorcycle designed and built by aviation and motorcycling pioneer Glenn Curtiss that set an unofficial land speed record of 136.36 miles per hour (219.45 km/h) on January 24, 1907. The air-cooled F-head engine was developed for use in dirigibles.
The forty horsepower engine was the two carburetor version of the Curtiss Model B-8 aircraft powerplant, one of thirteen engines listed in the May 1908 "Aerial and Cycle Motors" catalog. The engine weighed 150 lb (68 kg) and was offered for US$1,200 but it did not sell, in spite of the engine's notoriety from the speed record. An eight carburetor version of the Model B-8 was used in the experimental AEA Red Wing and White Wing airplanes that flew in 1908.
Curtiss remained "the fastest man in the world," the title the newspapers gave him for going faster than any vehicle, on land, sea or air, until 1911, when his absolute record was broken by the 141.7 mph (228.0 km/h) Blitzen Benz automobile. No motorcycle surpassed the record until 1930. Curtiss's success at racing strengthened his reputation as a leading maker of high-performance motorcycles and engines.
It has been suggested that the literary character Tom Swift was based on Curtiss. Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle, the first of over 100 books in the Tom Swift series, was published shortly after the V-8 record setting run.
The record setting V-8 motorcycle is now in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. The Air and Space museum lent it to the Guggenheim for the 1998 The Art of the Motorcycle exhibition in New York.
- House, Kirk W. (2003), Hell-Rider to King of the Air: Glenn Curtiss' Life of Innovation, Warrendale, Pennyslvania: SAE International, pp. 57–60, ISBN 0-7680-0802-6, retrieved March 22, 2013
- Paul Garson (June 25, 2004), 1907 Curtiss V-8 / Faster Than a Speeding Bullet: Glenn H. Curtiss, Motorcycle.com
- Motorcycle, Curtiss V-8, Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum
- de Cet, Mirco (2002). The illustrated directory of motorcycles. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing Company. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-7603-1417-3.
- "Racing Outlook Good for Autos at Ormond", The New York Times, January 22, 1907 (dateline January 21)
- House 2003, p. 41.
- "The Fastest and Most Powerful American Motor Bicycle" (Internet Archive), Scientific American 96 (6), February 9, 1907: 128
- House 2003, p. 40.
- Past Exhibitions | The Art of the Motorcycle (1868-1919 models), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 2009
- Trafford L-M. Doherty, Glenn H. Curtiss - 100 Years Ago, Glenn H. Curtiss Museum
- Roseberry 1972, p. 57.
- Garson, Paul (September 15, 2010), "Top 10 Weirdest Custom Motorcycles; Dimensionally challenged motorcycle mavericks", Motorcycle.com
- Setright, L.J.K. (1979), The Guinness book of motorcycling facts and feats, Guinness Superlatives, ISBN 978-0-85112-200-7
- Hatfield, Jerry (2006), Standard Catalog of American Motorcycles 1898-1981, Krause Publications, p. 44, ISBN 978-0-87349-949-1
- Hatch 2007, p. 36.
- Dizer, John T (1982). Tom Swift & Company. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland Publishing. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-89950-024-9.
- "Curtiss V-8 Motorcycle." Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Collections. Retrieved: February 24, 2011.
- Statnekov, Daniel K.; Guggenheim Museum Staff (2001) , Krens, Thomas; Drutt, Matthew, eds., The Art of the Motorcycle, Harry N. Abrams, p. 107, ISBN 0810969122
- Vintage Motorcycles & Antique Motorcycles, Glenn H. Curtiss Museum
- Cameron, K., (April 2002), "Creative Power: Glenn Curtiss: Inventor, Manufacturer, Racer, Pilot.", Cycle World: 90–92
- Simanaitis, Dennis (Sep 1997), "Glenn Curtiss--fastest man alive!", Road & Track: 172–173
- Dr. John H. Lienhard (2002). "Curtiss' Motorcycles". The Engines of Our Ingenuity (Audio, with transcript). Episode 1693. University of Houston College of Engineering. http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi1693.htm.
- Media related to Curtiss V-8 motorcycle at Wikimedia Commons