1954 Allstate Puch 175 SV

     It was thirteen years ago when I first saw the 175SV. It was part of a huge automotive collection consisting of half a dozen restored cars and trucks from the 1930's-1950"s. There were old fashioned gas pumps, banners on the walls..even a female manequin on roller skates, with a tray of food, just like at A & W restaurants. You really felt like you had stepped backward in time. 
    Leaning against one was was this little Allstate motorcycle, which I immediately fell head over heels for. The styling is what got me, nothing square, everything was curved, kind of like a woman, and nothing on the bike looked out of place, or stuck on. 
    I mentioned to the owner that I liked the bike, and if he ever decided to part with it, to please let me know, because I was very interested. He had began restoring the bike two decades earlier, but it never was completed. Having said that, he did a wonderful job of preserving the little SV, as it was mostly complete, with very little damage, and most important, no rust.

    The owner had decided to thin out his collection a bit, and I was offered the bike. Anyone who collects anything and is married will tell you that sometimes our spouses can"t understand why we need to get another ( you name it)..and really, I can't explain it either, but that's the way it is. Anyways, I waited until she was out and snuck out to pick it up.

     I then put on my lift table, and said no more until that evening. How does one break the news of yet another motorcycle taking up residence to his wife? In my case I told her I was cheating with a curvy, red headed named Mona, and that she should go out to the shop to meet her. Seeing that we have been married so long, and she knows my tricks, she say's, " you are full of shit.......the bikes just keep multiplying out there"....so, it went over well.
    Back in the day, the big department stores offered equipment, rifles, cars, and motorcycles, under their own respective brand names. Montgomery Wards used the "Riverside" name for their motorcycles, and Sears Roebuck used "Allstate" for theirs. How this worked is that Sears would contract a major motorcycle manufacturer to manufacture and rebadge their product to sell to the retail market. Sears would contract for several hundred to a few thousand units of an item each year, which allowed them to buy it at a discounted price. They also produced their own manuals for the bikes with their own part numbers, with the hopes the consumer would buy their parts from Sears, and not the local Puch dealer...the local what??

    Sears began selling Puch manufactured motorcycles and motorscooters in 1950, and stopped in the late 1970's.
Just to clarify who Puch was, they were officially known as Steyr Daimler Puch, and were based in Austria. This company was made up of some of the oldest names in the field of automotive manufacture in Europe. They were and are still leaders in the automotive and armament sectors. Puch has ceased motorcycle production, but has a very rich history in motorcycle racing.
    When Sears went shopping for a motorcycle manufacturer and a motorcycle, they chose, in my opinion, one of the best styled, and innovative motorcycles then in production. The engine was a two stroke, twin cylinder, which had two pistons positioned one behind the other, on a common connecting rod, in two seperate cylinders ,machined out of one piece of cast iron, but sharing the same combustion chamber, known as a split single or a twingle.(The word twingle has been used to describe a two cycle twin cylinder engine, where both pistons hit top dead center at the same time, rather than opposite of each other). 

     If you think that sounds complicated or weird, the Fischer carburetor was mounted on the left side of the engine, just above the cylinder base. The choke consisted of a shutter affair, which you would close to restrict air. then you would depress the tickler until gasoline began running out of the bowl, then kick it over....high tech back in the fifties. 
    The chassis is completely fabricated from heavy gauge pressed steel, with the only section of tubular steel being a brace running from the steering head to the lower front motor mounts. These pressings are welded together to produce an incredibly rigid chassis.....this set up really isn't the definition of a chassis, and with all the curves, I feel more comfortable calling it the "body" of the bike, although it was given the knick name of " tin weasel" back then. Electrical is of the six volt type with breaker points and a condenser, and the speedometer and ignition master switch is housed in the headlight bucket.     
    The Allstate had telescopic front suspension and shock absorbers at both wheels when most manufacturers where still building motorcycles with friction dampers up front and rigid in the back. The solo seat is also part of the suspension as it is spring tensioned to allow some "bounce" when riding on the really rough stuff. The two springs are mounted under the fuel tank, and were adjustable. 
    All in all, it was a pretty leading edge package back in 1954, full of the latest in technology. The bikes were produced is a 175cc, known as a 175 SV and a 250cc, known as a 250 SGS. Below are some pictures of my 1954 175 SV. For now I have reinstalled most of the parts I have into a mock up. In the future I intend to put "Mona" back into proper order.