Record holder: Motorcycle with 48 cylinders to be sold

Tinker Toy
Completely unrideable, but a record holder: motorcycle with 48 cylinders is to be sold

The Tinker Toy is almost immobile – but of course it attracts everyone’s attention

© Bonhams

The engineer Simon Whitelock wanted to get into the Guinness Book of Records with a motorcycle. To do this, he converted a Kawasaki to 48 cylinders – and secured the entry. Now the monster is to be sold. But be careful: it’s actually completely useless.

Four cylinders are quite a lot for a motorcycle – most two-wheelers work with one, two or three cylinders, anything over a V4 or in-line four is considered a curiosity. Such large engines are almost never used in series production: a Goldwing is still sold with a six-cylinder, a V8 can only be found in vehicles that are unsuitable for everyday use, such as a Boss Hoss. It’s clear why: space on a motorcycle is limited and it’s best not to be too heavy. A large engine counteracts both.

The motorcycle is drivable, but not built to be ridden

The so-called Tinker Toy by the British engineer Simon Whitelock is actually absolute nonsense. Because it is a motorcycle with 48 cylinders. Three rows of eight cylinders on each side power the very long vehicle. First of all: The builder himself admits that although it is mobile, it was not built to be driven.

But what you won’t do for a record. In one In the older video about the motorcycle, Whitelock explains his motivation behind the monster. He has been attending motorcycle meets since the eighties and the special bikes have always stuck in his mind. He wanted to play along and screwed together ever wilder engines: his projects include, among other things, a nine-cylinder “three-three” and an in-line sieve. The “Tinker Toy” was supposed to top it all off and end the madness.

That’s why the converted Kawasaki is equipped with a 48-cylinder engine with 4,200 cubic centimeters, which consists of a total of 16 Kawasaki KH250 two-stroke three-cylinder engines. This gigantic engine not only makes the motorcycle incredibly long, but also very heavy. It weighs a whopping 600 kilograms. Another curiosity: a single-cylinder engine from a 125cc Kawasaki serves as the starter.

Many other parts are taken from across the world of motorcycles: Goldwing suspension, BMW gearbox and lots of tailor-made pipework, cables and welding keep the Tinker Toy on the wheels. The exhaust system is handcrafted.

There was a record for this achievement: “Simon Whitelock (UK) built a motorcycle with an engine powered by 48 cylinders. These are the most ever installed on a land vehicle,” it says on the certificate .

“I think it will go between 190 and 210 kilometers per hour”

“That’s what it was built for. It’s not for performance or for going fast. But I think it will go between 120 and 130 miles per hour,” Whitelock explains in the video. Whether you should try this is another matter.

In the same video you can see an attempt to move the Tinker Toy. Due to its enormous length, it not only looks extremely awkward, but also appears extremely dangerous. In addition, there is an enormous amount of noise coming from the 48 cylinders and after a few meters it looks as if the rear of the motorcycle is dismantling itself. It’s hard to imagine how frightening this vehicle must be at 190 km/h.

The Tinker Toy is actually way too long because of its motor. Safe transportation looks different.

© Simon Whitelock / YouTube

After more than five years in a museum, it is now going under the hammer. At the time, Whitelock said: “I don’t actually want to sell it. But if someone were to make me a serious offer, it should be half a million pounds.”

It would be surprising if it brought in so much money. At the end of April it will be part of the “Spring Stafford” auction Bonhams It is currently in the catalog with an estimated price of 47,000 to 70,000 euros. Even that would be a lot for a motorcycle that you probably won’t be able to drive. Even if “Engine1” reports that Whitelock claims his Tinker Toy is street legal. Nobody has arms that long.

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