Kenneth Winter's Streamliner

Owner: Kenneth Winter

Original Make/Model/Year: 1967 Open Kadett B 1,100cc automobile 4-cylinder motor, BMW /5 motorcycle transmission and rear drive.

What is it?

I call it the Streamliner. We counted eight different manufacturers. Opel car motor, BMW slash 5 transmission and rear drive, Packard horn, 19" wheels with Model A rims and tires. And a Mercedes hood ornament.

Where did it come from?

I have this real weakness for a particular category on eBay: "car, other" and "motorcycle, other." That's where all the weird stuff is. It was described as a streamliner. I'd been wanting a rat bike of some sort, and this fit the bill. It had traded hands a couple times and was in an estate transaction, and then he bought it from a guy out in Utah, who was in his late 80s and didn't know where it came from. He had stored it for a long time under his porch. This guy [the seller] was in Florida. When you see the pictures of it, it looks kind of stupid with the body on it. But when he [the seller] took the body off and started showing me the mechanicals, ahhhhh! When I saw that front end... The attention to detail is amazing, in certain places.

What have you done to make it streetable?

The original seat, best we could figure, was made out of brick, and was square. It must have weighed 40 pounds. I added the fenders. I went to the junkyard and just tried a bunch. The front fender is a rear fender off a Suzuki, the rear fender is off a Honda 750, the headlight is off an old Triumph, the radiator is off a 959 crotch rocket, and that's a V-Star seat. The taillight is Model A. They keep wanting me to put the bodywork back on, but it drags on the ground. I don't think that body had any of those lights and crap on it when it was raced. Somebody's added the lights and it had a license plate bracket, so somebody's tried to ride it on the road.

What's it like to ride?

If you look at all the covered style of streamliners, that have a body, they all have center-hub steering. All the steering is inbound. We've had it up to 81 mph on the taxiway, and the clutches were slipping. [Kenneth keeps the "bike" at his hangar at the Middlesboro Airport.] It's surprisingly stable. It has torsion bar suspension. It rides on these rods that twist, that's the springs, there's four of them, and you can slide them in and out [to adjust the spring rate]. We thought it would be horrible, but because you're so low, between the axles, when you get rolling, it steers really nice. The suspension and steering are completely isolated. Somebody had a lot of time on their hands.

What do you know about its history?

No true history. I contacted the AMA, the Bonneville Historical Society, sent them all pictures and they said they had no records of anything like that. With the bodywork, they said it would have been in the streamliner class.

What's it weigh?

Almost 800 pounds, without the body.

What will you do with it?

I'll play with it for a while, show it off. If it doesn't grab me, I'll probably sell it.