Glenn H Curtiss riding a 269 cu in (4,410 cc) V-8 motorcycle of his own design at Ormond Beach, Florida, US reached an unofficial speed of 136


Thursday 24th January 1907

Glenn H Curtiss riding a 269 cu in (4,410 cc) V-8 motorcycle of his own design at Ormond Beach, Florida, US reached an unofficial speed of 136.3 mph, a record speed for a motor vehicle. The air-cooled F-head engine was developed for use in aircraft. The forty horsepower engine was the two carburettor version of the Curtiss Model B-8 aircraft power plant, one of thirteen engines listed in the May 1908 “Aerial and Cycle Motors” catalogue. The engine weighed 150 lb (68 kg) and was offered for US$1,200 but it did not sell, in spite of the engine’s notoriety from the speed record. Curtiss remained “the fastest man in the world,” the title the newspapers gave him for going faster than any vehicle, on land, sea or air, until 1911, when his absolute record was broken by the 141.7 mph (228.0 km/h) Blitzen Benz automobile. No motorcycle surpassed the record until 1930. Curtiss’s success at racing strengthened his reputation as a leading maker of high-performance motorcycles and engines.


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