Kevin’s grandfather, Jack Williams, owned Syndicate Scuderia, a speed shop in Langley, British Columbia. Jack started wrenching in 1947 at the age of 16, and soon everyone in town knew him for doing impeccable bodywork and for being mechanically perfect. After building Vancouver’s first hot rod — a three-window ’34 Ford coupe with a flathead V8 — Jack became a fixture in the local car scene, and in the early ‘60s he became an international hot rod legend when he debuted the Scuderia front-engine slingshot dragster. It had a blown, 404-cubic-inch Hemi, a shapely, metal-flake blue aluminum body, and a blue-tinted Lexan canopy over the driver capsule, which sat above the rear axle; it’s remembered as one of the most beautiful dragsters ever built. The streamliner made its first pass in 1963 at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California, where Jack ran the quarter-mile in 8.83 seconds at 169 mph.

    When the bike ran, it had a 500cc JAP (John Alfred Prestwich) Type 6 single-cylinder engine that burned alcohol and had a huge domed piston that could handle the 15:1 compression ratio. Jack didn’t install brakes, because brakes cause friction and drag, and he wanted all the speed he could get; fortunately, he often raced at decommissioned World War II runways and when he crossed the quarter-mile mark in 11 seconds at 120 mph, he had plenty of run-off to coast to a stop. 

    More than 60 years after his famous grandfather let vultures pick apart his drag bike, Kevin has pieced it back together and given it a name. When he takes Zeus to shows, Kevin rarely leaves the bike’s side, telling stories of Jack Williams, the man who first built the bike, who Kevin loved and looked up to and hoped to impress. “He was kind of a stubborn guy, a man of few words who didn’t give out a lot of credit,” Kevin recalls. “I know if he saw this drag bike all back together, he would be like, ‘It looks good, but I would’ve done it a little different.’ It’s kind of funny that way.”

     1953 custom built JAP drag bike.
500cc JAP Type 4B speedway engine
4 speed BSA transmission
1953 BSA hardtail frame, stretched six inches and lowered 2.5 inches
Early '50s BSA forks, drilled and cut down 3 inches
Amal controls and grips
Custom exhaust and seat
BTH magneto

 You can find the whole story of this amazing motorcycle and its makers at Iron & Air Magazine
Photo credit to Jenny Linquist.
Artwork by Chris White aka Buzz Vizualz.

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