Starting a new business is difficult, especially when it comes to vehicles. In addition to establishing a brand, you need to design a chassis, powertrain, and more, before you sell anything. But if you’re looking to start building motorcycles, Mecum Auctions offers a possible shortcut to get started, as the auction house sells the Excelsior-Henderson brand of motorcycles.
In case you are unfamiliar with the business, Excelsior-Henderson dates back to the early 1900s and was operated by the Schwinns of cycling fame past and present. According to Mecum, the company remained in business until the Great Depression, when it closed the range of motorcycles in 1931. During its operations, the company built a wide range of motorcycles in four-cylinder and V- configurations. twin, and built a few racing bikes, some of which had engines of nearly 1,000cc displacement.
The closure of the company in 1931 was not the end. A man named Dan Hanlon started working in a motorcycle company that would build bikes with original frames and powertrains in 1993. According to his company website, he started the business under the name of Hanlon Manufacturing before changing the name of the defunct Excelsior-Henderson in 1996. The company’s first and only motorcycle, the Super X, named after and based on an older Excelsior-Henderson bike, was revealed in 1996 in Sturgis and went into production in 1998. You can see one of the company employees burnout on one in the video above. According to Mecum, the company built just under 2,000 units before shutting down in 1999.
As to how this is a potential shortcut for budding motorcycle manufacturers, the purchase of the Excelsior-Henderson brand comes with all of the company’s intellectual property. This includes various marketing elements such as logos, branding, and websites, but it also includes full designs of frames and engines used by the company, as well as expired patents. All of these things would be a godsend for a new motorcycle business, as it would provide a bit of a starting point, rather than starting from scratch. The brand and associated intellectual property will be offered for sale at the Mecum Las Vegas motorcycle auction which will run from January 23, 2018 to January 27, 2018.