Two-Wheeled Threesome – 1948 Whizzers

In America, Small Displacement by Tim Huber0 Comments

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In contrast to the heavy-weight, large displacement American motorcycles of the mid-twentieth-century, Whizzer bicycles were as lightweight and small displacement as two wheelers get, being nothing more than small power plants mounted to your average bicycle of the era. Most were sold as kits that customers would fix to a bicycle themselves but as time went on several companies started offering bicycles that came with their engines already mounted. For as old as these machines are – even when in running condition – they’re surprisingly inexpensive, though they admittedly don’t have much historical significance. Still, they are pretty cool!

1948 Schwinn Whizzer

This antique, original, factory-assembled example reportedly “runs and stops great” and still sports its original paint. This 1948 two-wheeler has never been restored and boasts a handful of newly replaced parts such as new brakes, front and rear with new cables, (new) NOS B.F.Goodrich Silvertown tires, and a mint Person saddle. The tank has been cleaned and sealed further restoring this Schwinn to its former glory along with its battery powered headlight fitted to the front fender still being fully functional. The entire bike was recently serviced including the carb being cleaned and adjusted and “Points replaced by an electronic ignition, works great.”

For sale here on Craigslist in San Juan Capistrano, California with a price of $3,250.

1948 Marman Twin Whizzer Bicycle

The Marman Twin was only made in ’48 and ’49 and was powered by a small drone airplane engine that was used in WW2 produced by Jack & Heintz Aircraft Co. It utilized a Schwinn MP97 bicycle frame and flaunted a good deal of chrome.

This example is much more than just a single bike, the seller describes it as a “Marman Twin Motherload” and it’s a pretty apt description. In addition to an original Marman Twin Whizzer, the seller is including a four gas tanks – one of which was rechromed – a NOS engine new in its box, a rebuilt motor, six jugs and heads, three carbs, coils, clutches, belt guards, and crankshafts, two long and short rechromed exhaust pipes, two other long and short exhaust pipes, and two fishtails as well as a box of miscellaneous motor brackets. This is a rare opportunity to obtain someone’s entire – albeit small – collection of Marman Twin parts plus a full functioning bike, however this sales price reflects that and it significantly more expensive than the other two examples.

For sale in Bowling Green, Ohio with a Buy It Now of $16,900 or best offer

1948 Whizzer Pacemaker

The Pacemaker was the first motorized bicycle offered by Whizzer Motors and used a Schwinn-built frame that surprisingly was fitted with a (then new) telescopic fork with dual coil springs. The Pacemaker also came with It Lobdell wheels with a Sturmey-Archer expanding front-wheel brake as well as a coaster brake on the rear and automatic clutch. Though this example is said to be in “Nice Running condition,” it will still need some brake work done if you plan on stopping, a choke adjustment valve is needed as well as the one on the example doesn’t function requiring the choke to be operated manually. The Carter N Model Carb could probably also use some tinkering. Lastly the engine-case on this rare mid-twentieth-century example is stamped J 207125, enabling its buyer to potentially look into its history.

For sale Eastlake, Ohio with a Buy It Now of $6,177 or best offer

Despite Whizzers ultimately failing to garner the type of following other antique two-wheelers have, they are nonetheless interesting little scoots that have their own niche fan-base. A cursory craigslist or eBay search will reveal that Whizzers are actually pretty easy to come by, though some examples are obviously much more valuable and rare than others. Whizzer Motorcycles were actually reintroduced in 1997, producing the original Pacemaker model only with several technological improvements. However, as of 2014 the company has officially been on “hiatus” and the reality of the situation is pretty blatant.

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