Excelsior-Henderson Brand To Be Sold At Mecum Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction

Excelsior-Henderson Super X
A 2000 Excelsior-Henderson Super X Deadwood Special. Owner: Chris Backs, Santa Maria, California. Photos by the author.

Have you ever dreamed of owning your own motorcycle company? Well, here is your chance: the Excelsior-Henderson brand and all of its remaining intellectual property are to be auctioned at the 27th annual Mecum Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction, on January 27, 2018. This includes ownership of the brand name, ten federally recognized trademarks, web domains, previous frame and engine designs, and 18 expired patents.

Read our Retrospective on the 1999-2000 Excelsior-Henderson Super X.

In the early 20th century, there were three major players in the U.S. motorcycle manufacturing industry: Harley-Davidson, Indian and Excelsior-Henderson. Throughout the 1920s, the “Big 3” raced head-to-head on dirt and wooden race tracks around the country, until the Great Depression nearly took all three. Harley survived by selling tooling, parts and a licensing agreement to Japan, Indian was bought out by the DuPont family, and would enjoy its heyday later in the ’30s and ’40s, and Excelsior-Henderson’s Ignaz and Frank Schwinn decided that 2-wheeled vehicles of the non-motorized kind were most likely to survive a long depression, so they pulled out of the motorcycle business. (And yes, Schwinn bicycles did rather well.)

A brief effort to revive the company in the late 1990s resulted in less than 2,000 motorcycles being produced before the money ran out, and the Excelsior-Henderson brand is now up for sale again to the highest bidder.

What would you do with your very own motorcycle company?

For more information, visit mecum.com.



  1. How fun would it be to revive a brand like this and make it successful? Highly against the odds for ROI I would imagine. One can dream… Great article!

  2. Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum in Chandler OK, has one of those 2000 built in the ’90s, still in the original shipping crate. A great place to stop when traveling Route 66 thru Oklahoma.


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