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.

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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.

8 Responses to “1924 Ner-a-Car: back in the family!”

  1. Ben Geutskens Says:

    Hi John,
    Congratulations with your recently acquired toy.
    It’s a lot of fun indeed to take the bike apart, learn how it all functions, assemble it and ultimately run it. Good luck! I’m looking forward seeing all the photographs you will take.

    Ignore my website for the time being; it’s about a Dutch flat bottom yacht in the Dutch language. I’m working on a ‘pictorial partslist’ for the English Neracar Model A however. I’m in the process of taking photographs of most assemblies and parts, put the arrows with dimensions in it and post it on the website. That will allow others to make replica’s of missing parts, like rear stand, etc.

    Again, good luck.

    Ben (from Holland)

  2. GARY FRANKEL Says:

    THIS IS GARY FROM OHIO. I MAKE THE GRIPS. YOUR MAG. MAY ONLY NEED A CLEANING AND A FRESH CONDENSER. MANY OF THE CONDENSERS FAIL FROM THAT PERIOD.DON’T OVER THINK THE PROBLEM UNLESS THERE HAS BEEN LOBOTOMY ON THE WHOLE SYSTEM.

  3. David, Scotland Says:

    John,

    you must be very pleased with your recent purchase, how long were you looking. I sent you (I think) an e mail with details of a green US model for sale in Madrid (Spain) did you receive it ?
    I have a 1926 model C which I have just started to restore into a running condition but still keeping it as original as possible, a joy to work on and so “simple”
    Maybe a total restoration later but need to get it running first.

    Dave

  4. marnik,belgium,flanders field Says:

    hello john:
    Like you see their are stil ner a cars.I have look fore one about 3 years;
    Eng mod B.I’m very happy with it,i now the feeling off the day its in your garage.And the time wil com when its running …whats a feeling is that?
    regards marnik

  5. Susanne Kindred Says:

    I have a Ner A Car in my garage that belonged to a close friend of the family.
    Thank you

  6. michael terry Says:

    Hello, Ive just completed a 1922 model for the neracar museum in syracuse ny. Frank has every model, I have a complete 1923? 24 . The 1922 has a smaller motor than the later ones but still moves along. The machine is well built . When the public in the antique motorcycle world sees them running around i feel they will be well sought after.They are very easy to drive and everybody likes them . Mike terry..

  7. Paul rigsby Says:

    Hi,
    My Great Uncle owned a Ner-a-Car dealership in reading Pennsylvania and also successfully campaigned one in a 24 hour endurance race, taking first place in a field of much larger bikes on two separate years. If you are interested please contact me and I will send you a photo of his dealership. I would love to own one of these machines for similar reasons as you. Regards, Paul.

  8. Damon Dardaris Says:

    Hi,
    I’m a Neracar owner in Syracuse. Bought from Frank at the above “museum”. He would be a good resource for you. I corresponded a few times with Ann Gilfillan back in 1998; sent her some photos and she sent me some photos of her dad. I exhibited mine at the local historical museum and gave a talk on the machine. Let me know where you can be reached and I’ll send you some photos and manuals.
    Damon

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