First introduced in 1939, the Model D Whizzer clip-on bicycle engine signaled the beginning of Breen-Taylor Engineering’s efforts in the motorcycle industry.

Reminiscent of the foundations of motorcycle history, the Whizzer was a kit sold to convert your bicycle into a motorcycle. The first model, Model D, produced 1 3/8 horsepower. World War II threatened to stop all production of Whizzers, as Breen-Taylor was first and foremost a manufacturer of aircraft parts. However, Breen-Taylor sold the Whizzer division, and the new owners convinced the War Department that its motors would help defense workers commute without wasting precious gasoline. (The Whizzer gets roughly 120 miles to the gallon.) The “New Model,” F, was sold to defense workers only for the duration of the war, and was one of the only new vehicles available in the United States at the time. 1946 saw not only the introduction of the Model H, but also a move to Pontiac, Michigan

, where Whizzer could utilize the nearby automotive manufacturing facilities. The Model H introduced many improvements and boasted a production of over 139,000 units; 16 times more than all other Whizzer models combined.

Specifications: Model H. 2½ horsepower, 8½ cubic inch, air-cooled one-cylinder engine. 125 mpg. Price new: $89.50-$97.50.

On loan from Dean B. Westover

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