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 Curtiss - 500 4 1/2 HP
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Photo ou archives : D. Ganneau

Capacity : 500
Model : 4 1/2 HP
Production : 1910 -
Category : (R) Racing


500 Client Racer - 1910

Florida flyer ...

Like other aviation pioneers, Glenn H. Curtiss was also interested in motorized transport. His motorbikes, built in his factory at Hammondsport (New York), were regarded as the biggest threat to Indian on the technical front between 1902 and 1907. Indeed, in 1904, Curtiss was the first to use twist grip controls, a year ahead of Indian, who claimed to have invented the idea.

Fearsome Racer

Curtiss was a keen motorcycle racer, and even built a fearsome V-eight motorcycle driven by one of his 40 hp aviation-type engines, similar to those originally used for powering the pioneer Baldwin dirigibles.

"The Fastest Man in the World"

In 1904, he traveled south to race in Florida. It was a state to which Curtiss would often return, finally establishing a factory for his lightweight "Aerocar" trailers after WWI. During the Florida Speed Carnival, on January 28, 1907, Curtiss was unofficially timed on his V-eight motorcycle at a record 136.3 mph, a speed that would not be beaten until the early 1930s, and was labeled "the fastest man in the world”. It was a far cry from his first experimental two-wheeler, built in 1901 using engine castings bought from the E.R. Thomas Company in Buffalo, New York. His production machines were initially sold under the name "Hercules" and subsequently "Curtiss." He also sold his engines to other makers, such as Marvel. Curtiss motorcycles remained in production until 1912; both singles and V-twins were manufactured. By that time, Curtiss was well-established as an airplane manufacturer.


Engine: 500cc air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke

Valves: overhead

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: direct-belt drive

Wheels: 28x2.5 inch clincher (front & rear)

Weight: 132 lb

Maximum Speed: 56 mph

This Curtiss 500 single was built as a racer for a private customer; it bad neither brakes nor suspension, but the overhead-valves and roller bearings were advanced for the period.

Le fichier Moto Passion réalisé par François-Marie Dumas réunit près de deux mille photos accompagnées d'un historique très complet des machines présentées.
Il sera progressivement mis à jour ici et toute information complémentaire est la bienvenue sur info@moto-collection.org.

Cette documentation unique, qui constitue sans doute l'encyclopédie la plus exhaustive jamais écrite sur l'histoire de la moto, a été réalisée avec l'assistance de nombreux spécialistes dont principalement Didier Ganneau, Christophe Gaime, Mick Woollett, Jean Goyard, Bernard Salvat, Christian Rey, Yves Campion, Helmut Krackowizer, Michael Dregni, Michel Montange, etc. que je remercie ici.

Disponible sur demande :
- Les fiches originales sur papier
- Les photos et archives signées de mon nom en haute définition ou les documents originaux.
Me contacter sur info@moto-collection.org pour les conditions et droits d'utilisation.