While digging through the archives in The Kneeslider research library, an interesting article turned up. It was about two engine builders, brothers Robert and Harry Millray of Saugus, California. It seems back in 1969, they had the idea of building a motorcycle engine, a 1200cc V4, and being hands-on “get ‘er done” kinda guys, that’s what they did.
The engine is a 60 degree, air cooled, pushrod V4 with a 180 degree crankshaft and 2 rods per journal. The connecting rods were from a Studebaker Champion, cut down to fit on the crankpins. Valves were 1 3/8 inches because that’s what they had lying around. The cases, heads and pistons were aluminum with iron barrels. It was designed, cast, machined and assembled by the two builders and the finished engine looks pretty nice. They also noted, you could tear it down with simple hand tools.
At the time, multi-cylinder engines like the Honda 750 four and the Triumph Trident were making waves so they thought a nice V4 would fit right in. They put their engine in a modified Norton frame and tried to fire up some interest from the various manufacturers, but no one showed any interest and the one and only prototype was the end of their V4 project. It ended up at the AMA Museum in Ohio, though I’m not sure if it’s still there.
It’s amazing how many start from scratch, do it yourself projects like this existed that practically no one has ever heard of. Neat stuff.