Oh no, not another 1940s Hensel Steam-Powered Motorcycle! Wait, what? A Hensel Steam-Powered Motorcycle?! What the heck is that, you ask? Well, I’m not sure if I even know! This uber-custom, steampunk, post-apocalyptic, Mad Max machine was custom made by a gentleman in the 1940s. It’s listed on eBay with a current bid price of just over $1,500 but the reserve isn’t met. Try to explain this one to your shipper. Not to mention your spouse. Or, maybe even to yourself! Unless you live in Rockaway Park, New York, you most likely won’t be driving this one home, although it has been titled in California as a home built motorcycle! “Yes, DMV? I have a 1940s steam-powered, three-wheeled motorcycle and.. ” click.
This thing is laugh-out-loud fantastic! It’s like Caractacus Potts traded in his Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for something even more fantastical. The story goes that an aviation mechanic, and obviously a closet genius and engineer, Fred Hensel, made this thing in the 1940s. This is a three-wheel motorcycle but it looks more like an armored car. And, yes, it has natural air-conditioning!
Apparently, anything and everything that could be handmade was. He “even made the door handles and hinges instead of using existing ones.” It has “rack and pinion steering, a 2-part fold-up steering column, which folds up, and away, for entry into the vehicle.” The seller says that you “could write a book on all of the insane engineering that went into this.” Now that’s my kind of testimonial.
After crawling into the seat, you’ll see these controls in front of you. For anyone older than maybe 40 or 50, this may not seem as daunting as it must be for anyone who grew up with push-button start and a one-click CVT transmission, not to mention that a lot of vehicles don’t even have basic gauges anymore! This is one of those theft-proof vehicles, at least as far as driving it away goes. I guess Jay Leno and a few of you who are familiar with steam-powered vehicles could fire this one up, literally, and take off with it. I’m dying to know what the seller’s reserve is, and where they got this! They says that they’re selling it because it’s not getting the attention that it deserves in their small collection. What is that giant, beautiful car parked behind this machine?!
Prepare to have a few skinned knuckles and elbows operating this monster. I don’t see a GPS or a cup holder, hmm.. The registration is from the 1960s and I wonder if it actually could be titled and registered now? The seller “had some steam guys look it over and it was figured out that it burned “solid fuel” wood, coal, zombies, anything, would be burned to make the steam.” Ha! Darn near like a Chrysler Turbine but not quite as finished off.. but what a work of engineering art. I would love to have this machine, just to make sure that it gets preserved. Would any of you know how to operate a steam-powered vehicle like this? What do you think of this home-built Wenkel?