They Call This V8 Bike the Widowmaker 7

Don't ask what happened to numbers 1-6

January 30, 2017 9:00 am

Not everyone can handle a V8 engine. 

Now, a V8 engine loaded on a custom motorcycle in the 1970s? That takes a whole different level of sanity.

It’s appropriate that the mechanic behind the Chevrolet small-block 350cid V8-powered Widowmaker 7 was known as the Michigan Madman. Born E.J. Potter, the racing phenom rode it to set the 1973 Guinness World Record for world’s fastest motorcycle — a record he had in his sights at a young age.

“The idea to mount a V-8 car engine sideways on the frame of a chain-driven Harley-Davidson motorcycle came to him when he was 16,” writes The New York Times.

That divine inspiration led to seven V8 bikes — the first three christened “Bloody Mary,” the last four “Widowmaker” — as well as a jet engine-powered three-wheeler that topped out at around 200 MPH and eventually later sold to Evel Knievel.

EJ Potter V8 Motorcycle (4 images)

Apart from a car engine, this Widowmaker 7 also features “Crane gear-driven roller cam and rockers, Brodix aluminum heads, 12.5:1 forged pistons and a 1960s Vertex Len Hughes-built magneto and Kinsler-rebuilt Hilborn fuel injection,” according to its auction listing.

Unfortunately for motorcycle enthusiasts, the auction is over. But you can always contact them about the lot in case you’ve got an offer they can’t refuse.

Want to see a Widowmaker in action? Here’s a video of Potter on July 4, 1999, when he came out of drag racing retirement to give the Widowmaker 5 one last go before it went into a museum.

(FYI: he was 58 at the time.)

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.