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"WHIZZERS 101"

Like many guys my age, I had a Whizzer when I was a kid, back in 1958. It was an early "H" (H2437) on what was probably a "Roadmaster" frame with a "Pacemaker" fork. I cobbled it together from parts and pieces of various defunct bikes, but it did run! And it ran well!

A couple of buddies who had "real" Whizzers got a big hoot out of me building this crate, but when we finally got it fired up, it would outrun either of theirs. I donít know if it was hotter, or I was just goofier, but it did. I eventually wore the thing down, and sold it by mail to a kid in upstate New York somewhere for $25. (Remember "Midget Motors Directory" published in Athens, Ohio?)

† In the ensuing years I have "turned wrench" on various vehicles from motorcycles to 66,000 lb trucks, but a lot of what I learned about mechanics and engines early on I owe to that poor old motorbike. I wish I had it today.

About six years ago I ran across an article on the '48 Whizzer in a magazine called "Early Riders" at a newsstand. I decided I would like to have another Whizzer to play with, so I started hunting. After about two years, I found one, partially completed, on a Columbia Newsboy Special, and another engine lying in a shed, which I put on a Wards Hawthorne. They were the first bikes I put back in running order. They are my "riders" and have been a source of considerable enjoyment. Both bicycles are original, probably late 50's or early 60's, except for the Schwinn Springer forks, which I added. Both have "H" engines, one with a roller crank, tall breather, and high- fin head. Somebody had ported that engine, and it's fairly hot.

Since then I have accumulated several other bikes, of various models. I remember the difficulties I had hooking up with knowledgeable people, and parts sources, and the costly mistakes I almost made before I got good information. I was fortunate early on to hook up with Harv Trombley at Memory Lane Classics, and with Bob Baker, who has been a valuable source of information and advice, and without whom I would most probably have failed. Both occurrences were quite a matter of good luck, and not of good management on my part.

†Way back when I had my first bike, life was simple. A Whizzer was a Whizzer...period. If something didn't fit, you hit it with a hammer. If it still didn't fit, you hit it harder. Looking back, I believe all the bikes we had were "H" models. Maybe one "J". I think a 300 engine passed through my hands, but I didn't know what it was at the time. It was a Whizzer.

About the Articles:There is a lot of good information available out there, and some wonderful folks. There are Clubs, and Newsletters, and Service Manuals, and Parts, and Meets. But where? And how do you start? A lot of the articles are written by collectors and restorers for each other, and that is grand. But they assume that the reader had a Whizzer when he was a kid, or has had one for a couple of years, knows a lot about it, is at least a half decent bicycle mechanic, and knows where to get parts. But what about the guy who didnít have a Whizzer, and never fixed his own bike, and doesnít know what "Hemmings" is, or about "Carlisle" or "Hershey", let alone "Portland", and "Bucyrus". This guy needs a place to start.

The educational system in this country is over 200 years old, but we still have first grade.

Welcome to First Grade, "Whizzers 101"

Mac


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