1924 Ner-a-Car: back in the family!
My great grandfather, my dad’s grandfather, Carl Neracher, invented a very curious motorbike that was produced in the 1920s, competing with Indians and Harleys of the time. Strangely, my father, Carl Neracher Morris, had never seen one until I happened to meet online an English Ner-a-Car enthusiast, Ken Philp, and introduced the two of them, and Ken invited my dad to flag off the record 11 Ner-a-Cars competing in the 2001 Banbury Run. Recently my father and I agreed that if we found one for sale, that we would try to buy it, to have an example of this history for our family, because I thought I would be capable of maintaining it, and of course because it’ll be a ton of fun cruising around town or showing it off at vintage bike events.
After many months of nothing coming up, in December, suddenly three appeared, almost at once! This one, bought from Ken Caulkins, an interesting character in Ceres, CA (an amazing inventor himself), seems to be the perfect one for us. It is an American model (the UK had three models, very similar, but manufactured independently in England with different tooling). The American one is probably the production model closest to the design that my great grandfather penned himself. The bike is in very complete shape, but not running and with several minor problems so that I have an excuse to take it all apart!
Here’s a pic of my dad and me the day the bike arrived in Austin.
To get the engine started, it needs the fuel system redone. The gas tank was kreem-lined in the past, but the coating is bubbling, and since then gas has been allowed to turn to varnish. It also appears the fuel line is probably leaking, judging by the layers of teflon tape on the petcock fitting.
That will probably make it run, but a previous owner also added an ignition coil from a car and powered it with a battery. The original points are being used, which makes me think the original ignition coils might need rewinding.
The bike has also been dropped on its left side, and the stand and left foot rest are bent, the handlebar was badly repaired, the leather seat has a chunk missing, and other parts are scraped.
I’ll either keep blogging here or else create a new site with information about the Ner-a-Car as the project progresses. There will be a ton of pictures of my work, and there’s a stack of documentation that came with the bike. All those might be useful to other Ner-a-Car enthusiasts.