1988 - Volume #12, Issue #4, Page #35[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Home-Built Motorcycle Powered By V8 Engine"It's got tremendous acceleration and unbelievable passing power. There's never been another cycle like it especially for long highway trips," says John Strickland, Alachua, Ha., who built a "first of its kind" motorcycle powered by a V-8 car engine.
Strickland says he first got the idea when his father made a joke about putting a 400 cu. in, pickup engine on a motorcycle. "I said `Why not?' and got out a ruler and started measuring. The engine measured 22 in. across and that wasn't too uncomfortable to straddle but a lot of other questions came to mind. For example, how could such a big motor be put on two wheels and still be maneuverable? How could we transmit power to the rear wheel? Where would the radiator, gastank, and battery go? Would there be too much heat from the engine?"
Strickland says he spent two years working out the design of the bike on paper. "The fast task was to decide what engine to use. I selected a 215 cu. in. Buick aluminum engine built in the early 1960's. It's lightweight and small. I found the engine in a junkyard and completely rebuilt it. Total assembled weight is 325 lbs "
The next major decision involved the transmission and driveline. "No existing
transmission had the gear ratios or shifting mechanism required for , this cycle so I decided to build my own. I made over 160 drawings of the various parts which included special castings and splined shafts. The resulting transmission side-mounts next to the rear wheel."
The frame of the cycle was made from steel tubing while the cowling and sidepanels are hand-formed fiberglass. The radiator, which was also hand-made, mounts inside the roll bar for protection. An electric fan with automatic temperature control was installed but Strickland says it rarely comes on.
Once he had the bike on the road, Strickland spent nearly a year making final changes. "We now have over 11,000 miles on the cycle with no major problems. Its big size makes it very comfortable on long trips. It takes some getting used to due to the large size but once you're underway, it leans, corners and stops with ease." he says, adding that he's already building a second V-8 cycle.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Strickland, Rt. 3, Box 192, Alachua, Fla. 32615 (ph 386 462-4685).
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