If you haven’t already read the November/December 2014 issue of Motorcycle Classics featuring Czech enthusiast Pavel Malanik’s amazing recreation of the fabled 1909 Torpedo V4 — really an inline semi-radial 4-cylinder — do yourself a favor and click here to learn the full story behind this amazing effort to build what surely must have been one of the most intriguing and powerful motorcycles of its day. Originally built by partners Alois Nagle and Frantisek Trojan in Kolin, Czechoslovaki, the Torpedo displaced 1,640cc and produced an estimated 10-12hp. The Torpedo V4 could supposedly hit 75mph, a big number back in 1909. Unfortunately, Nagle and Trojan only built one example, and it disappeared decades ago. That didn’t stop Malanik, a skilled machinist and creative genius, from duplicating their effort. Working with little more than a surviving photograph of the V4 and a line drawing of the company’s road-going V-twin engine, he built what he believes is a faithful reproduction of the landmark machine.
And Malanik did more than just build the bike, he also documented the machine’s first start and took it out on the road, filming video of the bike in action. It’s an amazing machine, and thanks to Pavel Malanik we can do more than just read about it, we can see it in motion. Enjoy. — Richard Backus