One thing that all collectors have in common, be it collecting stamps or coins or Mustang Motorcycles, there is that one elusive holy grail piece that we all would like to call our own. In my case it would have to be one of the Catalina Special engines. Recently I had the pleasure of spending a few hours with a friend of mine, you might have heard of this guy in the club they refer to as "Shadow", I also know him as Cecil. You see Cecil has without a doubt the worlds largest collection of all things Mustang. Over the years he has accumulated numerous examples of our beloved bikes along with literally thousands of pounds of Mustang Motorcycle parts. You name it, he more than likely has it in multiples available to keep our toys operating correctly. In fact his inventory is such that if you would want to build a "new" Mustang he can sell you a complete kit to do so!
So as you would imagine over the years of acquiring these parts and pieces he has come up with some pretty spectacular items, which brings me to the Catalina Special Collection. While externally these Catalina's might look like the ones that grace our bikes, the similarities end there. These engines all share a larger bore and longer stroke reaching a displacement 440cc, quite an increase from the original 322. There were a number of other improvements which included larger exhaust ports, chain driven camshafts, roller bearings, and crankshafts that came in configurations of one piece, two piece, and three pieces. Even the headbolts got some attention, the Catalina's were provided with a larger sizing of 3/8" and had fine threads. As you will see in some of the pictures that follow connecting rods and cylinder heads made of billet aluminum aren't that new they were around over 60 years ago!
Take a peek at some photographic evidence and notable history for some of the most coveted examples of innovation from the early days of Mustang.
This is the Catalina Special that won the Catalina Race with Walt Fulton on board . Notice the billet one piece connecting rod.
This is 53 CS 531. History of this particular Catalina Special is unknown at this time. Closeup shows "CS" in serial number. How many of you are right now headed to your Mustang to look at your engine number?
Here's a picture that contains two of the most storied engines in Gladden Product history. The Cat 103 that won the Catalina Race, and who can forget the picture of Walt Fulton laid out in shorts, on a Mustang, at the Muroc Dry Lakes and setting a record holding 103 miles per hour!
4 Catalina's in a row
This is what is referred to as a "Series 85". It's another example of a racing Mustang engine. It carries a 3 3/16" bore and a 3 1/4" stroke and is destined for use in Cecil's prototype Mustang race bike. The bike, while has the flavor of the original, it sports a chrome molly frame, aluminum shocks, Ceriani forks, a Cecil designed needle bearing rear swing arm, Montessa race brakes, TT Industries magnesium case gearbox that features "clutchless" shifting, and more. Can't wait to see if Cecil will share a little "seat time" with me on this one.
P.S. If any of you can share more history regarding these rare parts, Please Do!