When it comes to motorcycles, speed is easy. Thanks to their extremely light weight and lack of crash structures, even tiny engines can get a bike up to speed very fast. This 1970s drag bike, though, takes motorcycle speed to a completely different level.
Built by famous motorcycle builder and racer E.J. Potter—who at age 16—the "Widowmaker 7," as it's known, is a purpose-built drag racing bike powered by a 350 cubic-inch Chevy V8 making 500 horsepower.
Visually, the bike is all engine. Velocity stacks loom below the rider's chest, and the engine exhales through open headers. The seat is positioned above the rear tire, and that's about all there is to this thing.
In 1973 the Widowmaker 7 was confirmed as the fastest motorcycle on Earth by Guinness Book of World Records, recording an 8.68-second 1/4 mile run at 172 mph. Obviously it's been dethroned since then, but it's still a cool piece of two-wheeled history.
The Widowmaker 7 at the Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction. Bonhams estimates it will sell for around $65,000 to $85,000.
This video of Potter doing a run down the drag strip is all you need to understand why this bike is special. He manages to put up a 10.3-second quarter-mile time at a speed of 145 mph—smoking the rear tire the whole way.