• Year of manufacture 
  • Motorcycle type 
  • Engine number 
  • Lot number 
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1917 Smith 118cc Motor Wheel
Engine no. 3941

A self-contained power unit designed for attachment to a bicycle, the Smith Motor wheel was manufactured by the A O Smith Company of Milwaukee, one of the USA's largest producers of bicycle components, which had also built chassis frames for Henry Ford and claimed to be the world's largest manufacturer of automobile parts. Some sources claim that Smith's was a built-under-license version of the British-made Wall Autowheel while others state that it was an in-house design. Whatever the case, Smith's incorporated many improvements over Wall's version. Many thousands of Smith Motor Wheels were sold during the period 1914 to 1919, with various improvements being made over the years. The Motor Wheel was also used to power a curious vehicle called the 'Smith Flyer', a crude buckboard that mounted the power unit as a fifth wheel behind the rear axle. In May 1919 the manufacturing rights to the Smith Motor Wheel and Flyer automobile were purchased by the Briggs & Stratton Corporation of Milwaukee. They made a number of major design changes and continued production till 1924. This Smith Motor Wheel is attached to a Henderson bicycle manufactured by Arnold Schwinn & Co. An older restoration, this colourful and technically interesting machine will need re-commissioning and the usual safety checks before returning to the road.

Bonhams 1793
101 New Bond Street
United Kingdom
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Bonhams Collectors’ Car department