Prototype 2x2 Bonham Tote Gote

#1

Thought this bike was very interesting and of historic significance. It's been on eBay for over a month now, it isn't mine, but it is a very rare prototype 2x2 Tote Gote! Very similar to a Rokon. I had heard tales of the 2x2 Tote Gote being developed for the military by Bonham, but not being able to compete against the Rokon, who ultimately won the contract. Here is one of the three prototype which Bonham apparently made to test out. It is listed as a 1959, which seems accurate if not a little early.

This one is a "partial restoration" (sellers words) and looks fairly complete. Apparently purchased at the factories bankruptcy closing auction, in we can assume was Provo, Utah, it has somehow found its way to Pensacola, FL. It still has the original Armstrong front tire which the seller notes is "dry rotted" and the front 2x2 drive system is visibly incomplete, missing the front chain from the sproket to the front wheel and god know what else. Interesting also is the 3 speed transmission (with reverse!)

Listed at 1,299 or OBO by the seller.

Description from the auction:
"1959 BOHNAM TOTE GOTE 2X2 Wart Hog . RARE PROTOTYPE that was almost picked up by Cushman to compete with Rokon.One of three produced this being the larger one. As told to me this was purchased at factory bankruptcy auction. Armature restoration almost complete just need the included chain and belt installed, The original front tire is dry rotted. Has 3 speed trans with reverse . Light is not original to the bike.
Motor runs very good bit still needs belt and chains installed but they come with it.. Being sold as is
Own a very rare piece today!
Local pickup near Pensacola FL or i will assist with your shipping."











 

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Davis

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#3
No way in hell is his story true. We would’ve known as Ralph is still alive and a friend of mine. But I’ll ask him at the fest.
 
#4
That's interesting.

Whoever it turns out created it...out of curiosity, do you have any idea how the front sprocket was used...like was there a motor on the front, or some wild transfer of power from the main engine up to the front sprocket? If so, I'm trying to envision how that was accomplished.
 
#5
Not saying the story is true, or that these are even a Bonham creation, that is info from the seller. But I have personally seen rumors of 2x2 gotes having been created by the Bonham corporation echoed around the Tote Gote community before. Where I can't remember. I think it was the Tote Gote land website.

I personally feel it may be a Bonham product as there are definitely Bonham characteristics to it. It's hard to tell since it's been "restored" aka red-neckized a bit...but the way the forks are made with the bars bent slightly back, the 6hp 143302 briggs engine commonly used by Bonham, armstrong tires which most Bonham gotes seem to have came with originally. I think it's safe to assume this isn't something your typical Florida man is making out in his garage. It is too complex and old to have been homemade. We must also consider Tote Gote has become a generic term, based off the brand Bonham created, to describe an mini bike designed for off-road/mountainous use. Similar to how we call making a copy a "xerox". It may be that it's a "tote gote", but created by one of Bohnam competitors.

What really seems wrong is the age, in 1959 the Bohnam corp would have been 1 years old. Were they really equipped to make such a complex bike then? I'd assume it to be more of a 1960-64. Before Briggs and stratton started putting dates in the code number, which this engine doesn't even have.

It appears to have a setup to somehow transfer power from the rear jackshaft assemblies (probably a shaft out of that rear gearbox) to the front forks via a chain (or belt?) underneath that cover you see in the second to last photo. On the front forks appears to be a shaft with a sproket or pulley on it that leads down into another right-angle drive to transfer that power to the front wheel. Rokons, a similar 2wd bike that were also very popular in the 70's and 80's, used a similar setup but was improved upon.
 
#11
I have talked to him lots of times. He brings his books with him to the gote fest. No mention of that pos ever came up.
Pretty offensive and rude of you to call it a POS when you clearly know nothing about it. I think it’s a neat piece of ingenuity whatever it is. I’ll agree with the others who think it’s neat. Richard, while vastly knowledge of tote gotes, does not know everything. Just as I do not know everything or you do not know everything.

Ralph probably has a lot of stories to tell and just because he hasn’t brought it up to you personally doesn’t mean it did happen.
 
#12
You are in uncharted territory just quit. Now that havasu Dave isn’t posting here you are here to act like an idiot. Yes Markus has you on everything else and you will never have the gotes. Already been done.
 
#13
Woah

I would love to see the bike with that cover off. Curious to see if it’s a belt or a chain under there
Noticed what appears to be a late-model collar with Allen head set screw on the front axle, and some welding to the hub
 
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#15
You are in uncharted territory just quit. Now that havasu Dave isn’t posting here you are here to act like an idiot. Yes Markus has you on everything else and you will never have the gotes. Already been done.
Idk what you’re referring to about “uncharted territory”. And whatever happened with havasudave, idk what that was either, is irrelevant to the discussion about this 2wd tote gote but sounds like a bunch of drama I want nothing of. I have 2 Tote Gote Novas sitting in my garage, a 670 & 675 if that’s what you mean by “you will never have the gotes.”.
I wish you the best of luck from here out.
 
#17
Idk what you’re referring to about “uncharted territory”. And whatever happened with havasudave, idk what that was either, is irrelevant to the discussion about this 2wd tote gote but sounds like a bunch of drama I want nothing of. I have 2 Tote Gote Novas sitting in my garage, a 670 & 675 if that’s what you mean by “you will never have the gotes.”.
I wish you the best of luck from here out.
I don’t need it. You got nothing on me as far as gotes go as far as correct or nice. I’d be wasting my time giving you a lesson on them.
 
#18
I don’t need it. You got nothing on me as far as gotes go as far as correct or nice. I’d be wasting my time giving you a lesson on them.
So basically you’re a pretentious asshole. GTFO my thread. I could point out 100 things wrong with your nova, from the wrong side screen gauge material being used all the way up to it being the incorrect color for a true restoration. I’ve been a member on here since 2006 and have never met someone with your demeanor.
 

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