V8 motorcycle from 1918

Dave sends us this: "Beautiful 1913 Scripps-Booth Bi-Autogo. A 3,200-lb. motorcycle with training wheels that lower at slow speeds for stability, a V8 engine and enough copper tubing to provide every hillbilly in the Ozarks with a still. The Bi-Autogo does enjoy the historical distinction of being the first V8-powered vehicle ever built in Detroit."

1913 Scripps-Booth Bi-Autogo (Thanks, Dave!)


  1. @#3. I want a phantom corsair now. The best part about it was that it was designed by Rust Heinz, member of the Heinz Tomato Sauce Heinz family.

  2. For those of you in Los Angeles, you can currently see this on exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Truly bizarre.

  3. When I saw this bike I instantly thought of Cory. I can imagine Agatha Heterodyne or Gilgamesh Wulfenbach riding around on it. Too bad I didn’t notice before it doesn’t have handle bars over its wooden front wheel but uses a steering wheel in the back instead. I’m envious of you Milothedj, I’d love to see this machine in person. Incidentally if you like the Phantom Corsair as much as I do you can get the Hot Wheels version (Collector #656 of the 1999 First Editions) for around $2.

  4. @6: Nah … Gil would’ve put wings on it and flown it around. And Agatha would have turned it into some kind of hyper-intelligent cyclopean clank the first time she dozed off in the lab…

  5. This thing weighs about 600 pounds more than a Cessna 172. It would easily beat a Skyhawk in a 1/4 mile, but I wonder where the algebra shows the airplane catching up to the motorcycle? Would this thing be capable of over 130 mph?

  6. Ye Gods, if I owned this I would rock it every day. BTW, is their not some hideously expensive Swiss machine that uses a similar idea? Looks like a missile, has 2 wheels w/little stabilisers that come down automatically at low speeds. I’m sure I’ve seen Jeremy Clarkson riding one.

  7. @2: 45 HP according to the first couple of Google hits. So @9 I’m not convinced it would beat a 172 in a 1/4 mile, the second Google hit says it has a top speed of 75 mph. “There’s no replacement for displacement” may generally be true, but I don’t think it did this thing much good. That radiator is the coolness though.

  8. I talked to a guy driving a Citroen SM today and thought that was the baddest vehicle I’d see all week. Holy wow does this ever out-bad the SM’s ass. Can you imagine how dangerous you’d look with your spatterdashers tucked under a V8? Makes my Guzzi look like a skateboard.

  9. If one finds oneself in Maine (I know, why would you? but I used to live there) this thing is part of the collection at the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum, near Rockland. It’s humongous!

  10. It looks to me like a hybrid Steam Punk cross between a fire engine and a Art Nouveau/Deco Tetsuo bike from Akira, awesome!

  11. Actually, this ‘vehicle’ now resides in the Peterson Museum in Los Angeles, on the 2nd floor.
    I was there last weekend and saw it and I WANT IT! =D
    Its just amazing.

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