With an incredible restoration, this 1937 Crocker Small Tank 61-25 is the 25th model produced by Al Crocker at his 1346 Venice Boulevard workshop.

Original Crocker Small Tank

The first 23 Crockers built by Crocker and his partner, Paul Bigsby (inventor of the Whammy Bar for electric guitars), used hemispherical combustion chambers. From Crocker No. 24, the cylinder head was changed to a new, flat-chamber design with parallel valves, more like an automotive Heron head, which Crocker improved upon three more times over the course of his V-twins.

Original 61ci engine

In all, Crockers used five different cylinder-head castings in seven years. The Crocker Big Twin was a work in progress, and while its performance was excellent from the start, it was an all-new design of engine, gearbox, and frame, which all needed development as actual road riding revealed room for improvement. Every Crocker V-twin was hand-made to order, with the engine’s state of tune and its overall capacity specified by the customer. Crocker had designed his cylinder barrels with extra thick walls, so it was possible to push the motor to a full 1490cc without “stroking” the crankshaft throw.

Original 61ci engine

Most Crockers were built with the original 1000cc capacity, but a few monsters were built for true speed merchants who wanted to prove they had the fastest production motorcycle in the world. That was a claim Al Crocker happily defended, offering a money-back guarantee to any rider “beaten” by a Harley-Davidson or Indian; he never had to make good on that promise, as even the new Harley-Davidson Knucklehead was a good 15-20 MPH slower than the smallest Crocker V-twin.

Original Crocker Small Tank

Crocker’s gearbox was incredibly robust with its steel gear case welded into the bottom of the frame and the gears themselves designed to withstand 200 HP. The Crocker was a true American superbike; the only other motorcycle in the world with a similar performance was the Vincent Series A Rapide.

 

Crocker Small Tank Specs

Manufacturer Crocker Motorcycle Company
Years of manufacture 1936-1942
Quantity produced, units about 70
Price
Today’s value
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
Type V-Twin
Engine capacity, cc 1000
Bore and stroke, mm 82.55×92 (bore 3¼ , stroke 3 5/8”)
Engine rating 60 hp
Ignition
Carburetion
Electrics
Clutch
Transmission Constant mesh type
FRAME AND WHEELBASE
Frame
Front suspension
Rear suspension
Brakes
Wheel size
DIMENSIONS
Length, mm
Width, mm
Height, mm
Wheelbase, mm
Ground clearance, mm
Seat height, mm
Mass, kg
Fuel, ltr
Top speed, km/h
Range, km

* – Data on the results of metering at the exhibit “Motorworld by V.Sheyanov”.