Daily demonstrations at 11am, free with admission!

Schwinn Whizzer Model WZ-1948

Schwinn_Whizzer_1947 _web03.jpg

Whizzer motor kits were introduced by Breene-Taylor Engineering Corporation, a Los Angeles maker of aircraft parts, in 1939. The kit sold for $54.95 and included an air-cooled, four-cycle engine that when added to a bicycle, enabled the rider to cruise powered by the motor. During WWII, the company was given permission by the War Production Board to continue production of engines, although one needed a qualifying certificate as a defense worker to purchase one. After the war, the company changed hands and production moved to Pontiac Michigan.

Advertised as “America’s Finest Bicycle Motor”, the majority of Whizzer engines were retrofitted to bicycles, many to the Schwinn Cantilever frame which was heavy enough and needed no modifications to add the engine. Whizzer’s slogan changed to “America’s Finest Motor Bicycle” in 1947 when they began production of a proprietary brand of motorbikes that used a design too close to that of the patent-protected Schwinn frame. Rather than face a lawsuit, Whizzer ceased motorbike production and passed frame production to Schwinn.

The Schwinn-built WZ model seen here is an example of a Schwinn designed to be a motorbike. Small changes were made to the Cantilever design such as a notched rear fender and frame for belt clearance, thicker spokes, heavier coils in the spring fork, and has a front drum brake was added.


Manufacturer: Whizzer Motor Company & Arnold, Schwinn & Co.

Country of Origin: Pontiac, Michigan (engine), Chicago, Illinois, USA (bicycle)

Engine: Whizzer; air-cooled, single cylinder, 4-stroke, 1.375 bhp

Transmission: Direct drive

Years of Production: 1939-1965 (original); 1997-2009 (new versions)

Top Speed: Approx. 40mph

Number Produced: Unknown