Clive Way’s Motorcycle Dragster



A VW engine on a two-wheeled frame? I would not ride this for one million dollars.

Original article here.
     Posted By: Paul - Thu Mar 03, 2016
     Category: Daredevils, Stuntpeople and Thrillseekers | Inventions | 1960s | Motorcycles

I've been down the strip on a fuelie Harley once - EXACTLY ONCE!

This thing is no stranger than what some countries are racing down the track now-a-day.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 03/03/16 at 10:24 AM
60 cubic inches is roughly 980cc. I'm with Paul; it'd take some serious reward for me to give this thing a whirl.
Posted by TheCannyScot in Atlanta, GA on 03/03/16 at 01:13 PM
Some guy in Australia cut two cylinders off a WWII Spitfire Merlin V12 engine and mounted it on his motorcycle. Here is the test starting of the engine.
Posted by BMN on 03/03/16 at 03:07 PM
I remember seeing something a while back on TV about a man who makes all kinds of things with rocket motors. Dunno if he ever constructed a drag bike.
Posted by BrokeDad in Midwest US on 03/03/16 at 05:34 PM
It's for good reason that they use the phrase "terminal speed."
Posted by ges on 03/03/16 at 06:35 PM
Hell, I'd ride it for free. Looks like a blast. And I'm 47 with a half-dozen motorcycle crashes under my belt. Buncha scared little girls, the lot o' ya.
Posted by A Nonny Mouse on 03/04/16 at 09:19 AM
You aren't looking at this from the engineer's standpoint. Power from that sub litre supercharged motor is probably around 100 horsepower. Modern 1 litre motorcycles reach that output easily without intake boost.

Considering that the stock VW motor of the time was 1200cc, (the 1600 cc would come along about three years later) and rated at @ 40 h.p., Clive's achievement should be commended.

A very low center of gravity prevents vertical instability and the long wheelbase promotes straight line stability. All told, it was probably a lot safer than most vehicles taken down the strip.
Posted by KDP on 03/04/16 at 09:36 AM
@Mouse: I've been riding for over 50 years and at my age you just don't 'bounce' like you used to.

@KDP: My 330cc Piaggio puts out 32.8Hp and cruises my scoot down the road at 75-80MpH and I've seen 99.5MpH. (long hill, strong tail wind) That's almost 1Hp @ 10cc and that's impressive!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 03/04/16 at 10:17 AM
I agree with Expat, I don't bounce anymore either sweetie.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 03/05/16 at 12:38 AM
That's not what BD said.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 03/05/16 at 12:41 AM
Am I the only one who noticed those are two different motorcycles? In the top photo, the upper frame is above the front tire, giving room for a shock absorber. In the lower photo, the upper frame is even with the front axle.
Posted by Phideaux on 03/05/16 at 01:04 AM
When I fall. I don't bounce when I fall. :lol:
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 03/05/16 at 01:51 AM
The (fairly average) bike I drove to work today and every other day is exactly as fast as the reported quarter-mile. Motorcycle performance has come a long way in 50 years. Of course, mine is 28 years old and has 106,000 miles on it, so I don't push it anywhere near the red line. Driving that old dragster would be a blast!
Posted by Dave Hanford on 03/05/16 at 02:44 AM
@Patty: Well, that clears that up.

@Dave: What'ch'a ridin'?
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 03/05/16 at 03:38 AM
Phideaux: that fact escaped my eye. Good catch! I no longer recall the source of the second foto, but it was identified as the same fellow and same machine.
Posted by Paul on 03/05/16 at 10:07 AM
My brother-in-law once built an ultra-lightweight airplane that used a Volkswagen engine as it's power source. Apparently this was commonly done. You wouldn't get me up in one, though.
Posted by Dave Plechaty on 03/10/16 at 02:37 AM
My father worked with Clive Way at Hawker Sidleys (de Havillands?) and I remember being taken to a drag meet as a very young boy. I just remember the noise, the smell and a old ambulance that I think he used for transport. 50 years ago maybe.
Posted by Nigel Porter on 09/19/17 at 03:45 PM
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