Pure Madness: 1914 Militaire

Part car and part motorcycle, the Militaire was marketed at traveling gentlemen who owned a large automobile and desired a lighter vehicle to get around economically.


1914 Militaire
Engine: 68ci (1,114cc) air-cooled IOE inline four, 2-11/16in x 3in bore and stroke, 11-1/2hp
Top speed: 30-40mph (est.)
Carburetion: Single Schebler updraft
Transmission: 3-speed w/reverse, shaft final drive
Electrics: Bosch magneto ignition
Frame/wheelbase: Channel steel frame/65in (1,651mm)
Suspension: Cantilever leaf spring front, adjustable cantilever coil-sprung seat rear
Brakes: 7in (178mm) external/internal contracting/expanding drum rear
Tires: 3in x 28in front and rear
Weight (dry/est.): 770lb (350kg)
Seat height: NA
Fuel capacity: 3gal (11.4ltr)

Is it a motorcycle? Is it a car? Is it a Militaire or Militor? We crack a cold case that spans a war and five bankruptcies.

Motorcycling’s history involves so many myths and legends. Militaire, which spans the years 1910 to 1922, is a classic case of both. It is a myth that the Militaire was designed purely to meet America’s World War I demand for a battlefield motorcycle. But it created a minor legend by trying (unsuccessfully) to mate the virtues of both two- and four-wheeled transportation.


In the pre-World War I era, there were literally dozens of motorcycle manufacturers in the U.S. But whereas many of them were simply bolting outsourced engines into their own frames, the various incarnations of Militor/Militaire/Militor made 80 percent of its product in-house. Quite an achievement.

Bighorn to Mars
3/1/2019 9:24:57 AM

Wow ! Shaft drive What a motorcycle for 1914 ! Seems like it would have went faster mph.

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