As the brilliant motorcycle constructor William Henderson felt obliged to leave the Excelsior Henderson
factory, he sought financial backing for a new motorcycle project. He set out to continue developing
a new, fast and light inline four and got the means established in Philadelphia Pennsylvania
where he got a factory for building the Ace on Syracuse Street.
The new Ace quickly
got the word out and was able to deliver the new and beautiful four in just a year. It was at this time
in history that Henry Ford had got his Ford model T factory working at top speed and Ford and his lawyers
were busy fighting off every lawsuit thrown at them for breaking all and any alledged patent rights .
William Henderson and the Ace factory made every effort to make the new Ace different in every detail
from its competitor four, the new side valve Henderson model K. It was said that not even bolts
or screws were interchangeable on these machines.
The new Ace quickly became a favourite in motor sports and the factory supported this by staging
a world speed record attempt themselves prior to the 1923 Chigago Motor show.
What more triumphant than to steal all attention with a record breaker and show winner in the home
town of Ignatz Schwinn and the giant Excelsior Henderson factory.
My own Ace is currently about 90%
restored, I have decided to plate the cylinders and restore and attach my Williamson sidecar
before firing it up.
My 1920 Ace was bought new by a then 23 year old woman. She used it to join the competition
in long distance road races at the time. These popular races were run on public roads and were enduring
tours under very rough conditions like from Oslo to Trondheim and back (by another route)
The first owner
These popular competitions were the reliabilitiy runs equivalents of the
international six days trials, but these national events were competition on penalty points for minutes
too late or early. The total distance in three days were some 650 miles and both ways had mountain passings,
and the roads of that day...
Quite a few Ace motorcycles were run and ruined in motor sports.Restoring
the Ace is something really different.There are not many parts to be found. Some of the engine wrecks that
still exists shows that the Ace of its day were run harder that they were built for. The facts that the
owners still has kept the broken pieces lying about from the twenties, also shows that they respected
those magnificent fragile thoroughbreds.
For many different reasons it takes a long time to get a motorcycle like Ace restored
to a functional state, buthere it is as a display at a rally which was run i 2014 to commemorate the real race where
this Ace actually won the sidecar class with Mimi riding.