1922 Ner-A-Car Single

This is one quirky classic motorcycle, to say the least.

Both a misspelling of motorcycle designer Carl Nearcher and an apt description of the motorcycle itself (nearly a car), the Ner-A-Car remains the most successful hub-centered steered motorcycle ever built.

Originally designed in 1918, Ner-A-Car motorcycles were produced between 1921 and 1928. During that time, about 10,000 of the motorbikes were sold throughout the United States while in the United Kingdom an additional 6,500 are believed to have been sold.

Featuring a car-like chassis and fully-enclosed body work that protected the rider from any road grit and muck, the Ner-A-Car steered like an automobile and offered a considerable degree of the same kind of protection. Most of the mechanical components of the Ner-A-Car motorcycles were concealed under the chassis, with only the engine cylinder visible.

The Ner-A-Car motorcycles’ design also made them fairly sturdy and stable, which meant they were considered to provide an exceptionally smooth ride.

(Rumour has it, dealers and salesmen were so confident about this selling point that they would stand on the foot boards and ride the Ner-A-Car over rough roads with their hands behind their backs. What a sales pitch!)

Along with being easy to start, this stability made the Ner-A-Car motorcycle particularly appealing to female motorcyclists: the right to vote was recently-won and women looking to exert their new-found independence were a clever target market for Ner-A-Car. The styling and design of the Ner-A-Car also meant the motorcycles accommodated women’s clothing, in a time when wearing trousers was still uncommon.

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