From:Dave Ciccalone
Subject:RE: More Black Wheels - and More Spanky Date:Mon Apr 13 23:25:52 2015
Response to:5644
Mr. Hennessey, in a record time response to your question the other day asking
about the color of original Henderson blue, it is in fact, a nearly-black shade of
navy blue. Often on the original accessory chassis parts (e.g., footboards, brake
pedals), it is difficult to tell if they are Henderson blue or black unless you look at
them in the light of day.

However, the debate on the black wheels almost amazes me.

First, let me say, I like black wheels better. My father's KL, which I now own, has
black wheels most likely painted by John Scharle when he refurbished the bike
around 1952. He also added a harley fuel filter and ace petcocks, so he wasn't
necessarily concerned with "fine point judging".

The bottom line as far as I know, is that there are no primary document literature
pieces indicating black wheels on KJ's. What is primary literature? In my opinion,
it's a simply a factory sales brochure, factory parts catalog, a DATED factory
magazine advertisement showing black wheels, or dealership order slip.

I would be curious to know if anyone has a 1931 sales brochure. Every KJ
brochure I have and have seen advertised on eBay, shows a bullet style headlight.
I have multiple copies of two variations of KJ sales brochures showing bikes with
bullet headlights. These sales brochures state the finish of the wheels as cream.

Motorcycling and Bicycling magazine of Chicago typically had advertisements
showing off the new Deluxe highlights in the fall issues (Sept. - Dec.) of each
year. I don't know have issues later than 1928, so I do not know if this continued
for the KJ. If anyone has an advertisement from 1930-1931 this would be a
great resource.

Again, in my opinion, "period photos", police bikes, or "special order" arguments
don't mean much. I don't see dates in the corner of any of the "period photos".
Our Gang ran into the 1940's, that bike could be a decade old. I've never seen
any cars painted like a Police cruiser at a Ford dealership. I would bet that bikes
could probably have been ordered in purple if someone was willing to pay for it.

Otis Spiker was certainly a knowledgeable Henderson resource. Pick up a copy of
The Worlds Greatest Motorcycle Records, which highlights Bennett's accolades,
and one can read how Otis road along with Bennett near St. Louis during the
October 1922 transcontinental record run. There's no doubt he the credentials
to be an expert. However, I believe he wrote the restoral society bulletins
decades after Cortland Street closed its doors, therefore that would not qualify
the restoral society documents as primary sources. I mean no disrespect to Otis,
he did us all a favor by stoking interest in these bikes for decades.

What does it mean? Paint your wheels what you like, you're the one who has to
look at them and like them. However, if I was doing a fine point restoration of KJ,
I'd paint the wheels cream. Based on everything I've seen and read on the KJ
Exchange and throughout my fathers extensive literature collection, it's the only
factory defensible wheel color. If someone has some factory literature this is a
great venue to share with the few others of us who are interested. Like I said, I
like black wheels better, I'd rather get some proof!


To add some more fuel to the black wheels fire, there are some wonderful period
photographs now located in the "Pictures, Old Ads, Etc." section.

Perry Ruiter found these on the University of Southern California's Special
Collections website. All were taken in 1930. Four are KJs advertising for Purr-
Pull gasoline, and one is a De Luxe with the Our Gang characters.

Click on the photos for large pictures.

Click on the "SuperSize" button for huge photos. You can use your browser's
scrollbars to move the pictures around -or- you can drag the pictures around
with your mouse.

Clicking on the large or huge pictures will take you backwards.

There are a lot of oddball features on these KJs. How many can you spot?