The economy model Hummer was introduced in 1955. The Hummer was a 125cc, replacing the Model 125 which was dropped in 1952 when the Model 165 was rolled out. But the Hummer sported a newly designed "B" series engine. This engine would be enlarged in 1960 to 165cc, and again in 1962 to 175cc, serving until all U.S. lightweight production ceased in 1966.
While most people think the "Hummer" name comes from the rather distinctive exhaust sound of these bikes, they couldn't be further from the truth. Dean Hummer, the California Harley-Davidson dealer who had sold the most lightweights in the previous years, was called upon to design the new model. Dean is still involved with lightweight motorcycles, and is a member of the Hummer Club!
Dean Hummer (10k)
"This is a picture of me taken at Harley Davidson in Milwaukee, in February 1955, when they announced the model. The picture is not of good quality, [but it is] the only picture I have found. It is a copy."
The original picture is the victim of "hypo" stains, and is in bad shape. We hope to scan this on better equipment, and give a better image of the "Father of the Hummer".
One of the features of the "B" engine was the Bendix magneto-generator which eliminated the need for both the battery and ignition coil. One of the magneto's two internal coils provided current directly to the spark plug, the other to the lighting system. But the system couldn't quite handle the stoplight. For 1958-59, an external ignition coil was added, and responsibility for stoplight juice shifted from the magneto's lighting coil to the internal ignition coil. But the original setup would reappear briefly on the 1962 Ranger, which had no lights at all.