1931 - KJ 36652
Doug Strange
Maxatawny, PA

Doug writes "My KJ has an interesting history. It originally belonged to John Scharle of Allentown, Pennyslvania. He probably obtained it during the 1940's. It was upgraded with NOS fenders which Doc Cleveland talked John out of, so the fenders where swapped to another machine. In 1972, John was 70 and sold the machine to Cliff Pease in Virginia Beach. Cliff added a sidecar which he pulled out of a corn field in Iowa. A few years ago, Cliff was hit by a drunk driver while out on his 1926 Harley Peashooter for a quiet Sunday morning ride. Another friend who was close to Cliff bought the rig at the estate auction. He became very sick from lead poisoning and sold his collection. I was able to afford the KJ sidecar rig and bring it back home. I live not far from where John Scharle lived. So the bike came full circle 40 years later."

In the Summer 1997 issue of The Antique Motorcycle, Steve Blancard had a terrific article about John Scharle and his "lifetime affair with the Henderson four". That article contained some interesting details about this bike along with a period photo of it. The following is quoted verbatim from the article with Steve's permission: In September of 1943 he [John Scharle] heard about a derelict 1931 KJ (S/N KJ 36652) at Louis Simon's agency in Brooklyn, New York. This machine was originally sold in 1931 by the Jack Tracey agency in New York City. For some time now he had wanted to build a new motor for the Deluxe using a 5-bearing KJ crankcase and 1928 Ricardo head side valve cylinders. He thought the engine from this derelict would be suitable for his purpose.

One day after work, he took the subway nine miles to Brooklyn to inspect the machine. It looked rough and ragged, but pretty complete. The headlight was nothing but a rusted shell, the wiring was shot, handlebars bent, footboards worn down from excessive banking. The entire machine looked as if it had been hosed down with aluminum paint. After several visits, Simon convinced John to purchase the entire machine for $110. He made plans to ride the machine to Allentown, but first considerable work was required.

He took the subway to Simon's shop over the next few weekends to get the KJ in running order. Scharle was not impressed by the rather homemade looking, strap steel Auto-Lite generator mount used in 1931. The extra weight of the Auto-Lite caused excessive stress on the aluminum mounting boss cast into the the upper crankcase. He convinced Simon to exchange the Auto-Lite for a Splitdorf DU-7 as used on the previous models.

By late October, the machine was ready to go. Borrowing the license plate from his Deluxe and armed with a warm coat, motorman's coveralls and tools in his pocket, he set off for Allentown. He arrived safely by late afternoon. Scharle must have gained an appreciation for the relatively modern KJ after riding the Deluxe for so long. As it turned out, the next three and a half years were spent restoring the KJ to new condition. The Deluxe never did get the 5 bearing crankshaft.