Horex and Zundapp Citation Motorcycles- True Do-It-All Motorcycles

13 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Horex and Zundapp Citation Motorcycles- True Do-It-All Motorcycles
Zündapp Z 300

Horex Resurrected, Radical Indeed – Special Feature A flashback to a true do-it-all motorcycle, the Horex/Zündapp Citation.

Editor’s Note: After seeing an article in Cycle World about the revival of the Horex, John Gregory recalled that brand’s historic past. Gregory was a Norton Dealer in Wisconsin, as well as the builder and mechanic of the twin-engine Norton-powered “Hogslayer,” which Motorcycle Hall of Famer T.C. Christenson piloted to multiple NHRA records, wins and championships in the 1970s.

Inspired by Boris Murray’s twin-engine Triumph, the 300-plus-horsepower, 1620cc, nitro-burning Hogslayer dominated ’70s drag racing.

Germany’s Horex brand (see links below) has been resurrected before. The Horex Imperator 400 was bumped to 452cc and sold as the Zündapp Citation from 1958 to 1960 (named after the famous Triple Crown horse). Later, Floyd Clymer planned to sell a modified version as a 500cc Indian.

I first saw the Citation at the show booth of Berliner (the New Jersey-based importer of all the cool Euro brands) at Bike Week in 1959. What a machine for the day: unit-construction vertical-Twin, reliable Bosch electrics, square 66.0 x 66.0mm bore-and-stroke dimensions, overhead cam, center main bearing, dual carbs, gear-drive primary. And it came with long, tapered megaphones, tuned-length air horns and larger main jets in the crate.

That same year, I ordered a Citation and two Ducati Americanos to start Sunset Motors in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In June, I rode the Citation to the annual Wisconsin rally where, in addition to dirt-track racing, they had drag racing. My friends convinced me to take off the mufflers and run it.

To say it was amazing is an understatement: We ended up winning the drags against Triumph and BSA 650s and the new Sportsters. I rode the 150 miles home with my trophy on the nacelle, Brando style.

Larry Cox, a local drag racer, bought the Citation and decided to try it at Great Lakes Dragaway. He had replaced the seat and German helmet fenders with alloys and a Bates seat. We put on the megs, air horns and larger jets. After a few practice runs, Larry won his class with a 12.80-sec./103-mph pass.

Two years prior, I had set the track Street Bike record on a race-kitted Triumph 650 at 12.80/105 mph. The Citation was ahead of its time but didn’t sell because 650s were hot, and the styling was just too strange compared to a Triumph or BSA.

Next, Ron Luczywko, a local Pro rider, asked to ride it in the 1960 100-miler on Daytona Beach. The stock Metzelers were okay in the sand, but the bike ran hot; Luczywko qualified at 100.55 mph and finished 22nd out of 81 starters in the race.

For 1961, the AMA announced its first race at Daytona International Speedway, and Amateur dirt-tracker Henry Petraitis wanted to compete in it. So, we borrowed Cox’s Citation, took the lights off and put on a new set of Metzelers. We had to convince AMA referee Jules Horky that our 452cc machine wouldn’t get in the way of those fast Brit 500s and KR750s.

The top riders had roadracing experience and were factory sponsored, with race tires and brakes, engine kits and close-ratio gearboxes. At first, we were out of our league, but we learned fast. We were good in the infield but down on top-end. Our Triumph friends gave us some pink racing sparkplugs and recommended even larger main jets.

After that, it was faster and didn’t overheat. We called Mike Berliner, who put us in touch with dealer John Long in Miami, Florida. Mr.

Long said he knew what we needed and rushed us an Indian sprocket cut to fit. Right on, 126 mph!

Dirt-track announcer Joe Campbell had named Henry “Horizontal Hank” for his habit of shutting off late and going over, under, into and through the fence. Henry, in his first roadrace, was as high as second, but the brakes would fade and the stock tires would slip, putting him in the grass at the horseshoe. Mike Soens was there watching nervously.

Zündapp Z 300
Zündapp Z 300

About halfway through, he thought Henry was going to jump off the bike, but he was really just shifting his weight like all the riders do nowa thing Henry said he learned skiing as a kid. He went on to finish fifth in the 100-miler on a stock streetbike. Future Cycle World scribe Jody Nicholas won, lapping up to second place.

Horex Company Owner Fritz Kleeman sent a letter congratulating us.

The Citation went back on the street for the summer, and Henry was drafted. Luczywko finished a Daytona 200 on it, and the original engine had never been apart. Wanting more, we put in some racing valve springs, raising the revs to 9500.

We failed to finish the next race because the bronze roller cages in the big ends overheated and seized.

Working in his brother’s garage, Larry took out the engine, and we sent the crank to Berliner. Meanwhile, his brother needed room, so he put the chassis outside the garage. When we got the engine back together, the bike was gone! Luckily, Del Meyer had a nice little Berkeley monocoque aluminum-and-fiberglass British sports car. It came with an Excelsior 350 Twin, which had seized.

Del bought the Citation engine, and we mated it to the car with a foot clutch and a sequential-shift lever. Del and I drove 306 miles to Eagle River, Wisconsin, to an SCCA rally and speed trials. His dad, SCCA mechanic/driver Cliff Meyer, set fast time in the trials with the Berkeley. Then we drove home trouble-free except for a loose gas hose.

Cliff went on to drive the Berkeley at several more races.

Many people who knew about the Horex thought it was the inspiration for the Honda Twins. The first time I saw a Kawasaki Z1 engine apart, the design similarity was obvious, except for the dohc part; even the 66.0 x 66.0mm bore-and-stroke dimensions were identical. The main improvement: aluminum big-end roller cages.

Summer 2010: My friend Tony Giorno of Redline Cycle in Kenosha, Wisconsin, took his fast but unreliable Honda 450 dirt-tracker to the drags. The result was a 12.80-sec. quarter-mile, as fast as a Norton Commando. Pretty good until you remember the 452cc 1959 Horex/Zündapp Citation.

Zündapp Z 300
Zündapp Z 300
Zündapp Z 300
Zündapp Z 300
Zündapp Z 300
Zündapp Z 300
Zündapp Z 300
Zündapp Z 300
Zündapp Z 300
Zündapp Z 300

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