In the early 1900s, Excelsior and Henderson were two of America’s best motorcycle manufacturers. Excelsior produced the first motorcycle to official hit 100 miles per hour, while Henderson was producing the favored bikes of America’s police officers. There’s a reason for the similarities – the companies were both bought up by Schwinn in the 1910s, and were shut down in September of 1931 when the Great Depression crippled the economy. Fast forward 60 years to the Hanlon Manufacturing Company, founded in 1993. This Minnesota motorcycle maker secured the rights to both the Excelsior and Henderson names, and tried to capitalize on some American nostalgia with the Excelsior Henderson Super X, named after the 1929 model that is credited for being the first modern-day cruiser. You’re probably aware that no one is making bikes under the E-H name anymore, but thanks to Mecum Auctions, that could change next January: the entire brand and all of its intellectual property is about to be auctioned off.
The auction will also include “10 federally registered trademarks, web domains, previous motorcycle frame and engine designs as well as 18 expired patents that can only be effectively exploited by the owner of Excelsior-Henderson.” The Super X was the last hurrah from Excelsior-Henderson. Production started in 1999 and only 1,952 were produced over two years. Unfortunately, and in a similar twist of fate as the companies that gave their names to this firm, the economy faltered due to the .com bubble and Excelsior Henderson couldn’t secure the next round of funding they were expecting. The remains of the company were sold off, and production never resumed.
I’ve featured a few Super Xs in the past – and reader Rob B just shared one with me in Florida that has less than 100 miles if you’re feeling inspired (but it’s been sitting for a while and needs some work):
I’ll do a separate auction preview closer to the date, but this is worth special mention in advance so that you can take some time to search your couch for extra change.
For more information (including a wonderful history of the brand by Paul d’Orleans), head on over to the Mecum site. If you had the money, what would you do? Bring back a classic name a la Polaris resurrecting Indian? Make a small production run of an exquisite model like the recent rebirth of Brough-Superior? Start a museum? Or just take your man cave to the next level?
Photos from Mecum.