I am so incredibly in love with this picture,because i really want to know how this thing even worked,seeing as how it has no visible form of cooling on the engine,and how the power got to the rear wheel would also be interesting.
This is EJ Potter, the “Michigan Madman”, who built a series of seven continuously evolving V8 motorcycles called “The Widomaker”.
It was a drag bike, so it didn’t need cooling. The motor only had to run for 8-10 seconds! You can see the water line is just looped.
You can see a picture of the driveline on the other side here:
As you can see, he fabricated his own bellhousing, then mounted a belt or chain with a cover, which drove a jackshaft back into the bike. No clutch, just direct drive. Kick it off the stand to start.
Because of the almost nonexistent load on the engine, it pretty much “ran away” during the run.
Here’s a recollection:
“I don’t know where E. J. Potter came from, the first time I became aware of him was when he was racing/showing off his exotic motorcycle. He took a Harley Davidson frame and put a small-block chevy engine in it, sideways. This engine had Hilborn injectors and burned Nitro, and was producing about 500 Hp. It was started by having a couple guys hang on from the side, and it was pushed with a truck. When the engine fired, the assistants lifted the rear of the bike (these must have been some strong guys!) and put it up on a wooden stand that kept the rear tire, a 10” wide racing slick, off the ground. When the christmas tree said go, E. J. would rev the engine to 6000 RPM and the assistants would push him off the stand! It did a wheelie about half-way down the strip, and did about 160 MPH in the quarter mile. E. J. tried to find a small, light clutch for the thing, but he never found anything that would work. He tried helicopter clutches, but even they didn’t quite do it. The rear wheel was coupled to the engine with a huge multi-width roller chain. Well, one day he reached the end of the strip and closed the throttle, and nothing happened - the throttle was stuck! He cut off the magneto, but a very hot engine (no radiator, just the thermal mass of the water in the block) burning nitro at wide open throttle doesn’t need much ignition! It kept right on running. He hit the brakes (dual caliper aircraft brakes) and that slowed him to about 150 MPH, but he could feet the handle retreating under his grip. There was no fuel cutoff! As he was approaching a line of trees at the end of the strip, he took the only action he could think of, he jumped off! He slid on his rear until it burned through his chaps into his skin, and then did some somersaults. Amazingly, he ended up being able to walk after all this, and followed the new gap into the forest to see what became of his machine. All he could find was an engine block! Nothing else recognizable.”
You can see a video here: