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Vintage Bike Shots

 The tank emblem you see was introduced in '47 and was continued on the '48 models. '48 was the last year of the Flathead in the Big Twin package, however, '48 was also the first year of the wishbone frame. Armed with these facts (and barring any half-year controversies,) one can easily distiguish between the '47 and the '48 flatheads--first, look for this tank emblem--that tells you '47-'48; next, look at the front frame downtubes--if straight, it's a '47; if it's a wishbone, it's a '48. And, if I'm not mistaken, the '48 wishbone was a 1-year-only frame; the 49's and later wishbone frames had flattened downtubes for mounting a horn. In contrast, all 45" solos utilized the single loop frame for all years of production.


In 1936, Harley made a splash with its first Overhead Valve production bike, the Knucklehead. The "splash" was quite literal; the bikes provided overhead oiling to open rocker assemblies without a scaveging system leading back to the bag. Conequently, oil spray soiled bike and rider. A factory fix was conceived to provide enclosure, but production models with the update lagged. It might be useful to contemplate how, perhaps, the REAL production bikes rolled out a few years later while early sales might be better understood as prototype bikes for guinne pig buyers. But, in the day, demand for the new motors was strong, and the factory obliged; no harm, no foul, I suppose. By today's standards, however, that's remarkable, commercially speaking. In the day, factory pragmatism had long been a recurring tendency, and updates came slow and sloppy, giving rise to half-year controversies and endless arguments concerning "correctness." In sum, Vintage Harleys are technologically unremarkable, but they ARE distinctly unique and culturally unmistakable. Late Evos and Twin Cams, though, broke that mold, and the character and influence of new technologies has been obvious and unrelenting; showroom floors have replaced the pea gravel.


Lots of vintage iron at Hanford (2007). The Indian above is representative of the bikes on hand. Happily, the Hanford swapmeet was recently purchased by one of the regular vendors, so contrary to previous reports, Hanford is back! Also continuing is the Southern California Vintage Cycle Show and Swapmeet at El Camino College in the City of Torrance. These have been tremendously sucessful venues, and it's good to see their continuance. Everyone in the industry should do all they can to support these fine events by participating. You can still find information regarding these events at the Bator International web site.