By the late 1920’s, Harley Davidson was forging ahead as a leader in the American motorcycle industry. The company produced several models each year, aiming to capture the business of a wide-spectrum of motorcycle riders. Both single- and twin-cylinder machines were being produced, ranging from 350cc to 1200cc.
But the old "olive green" look was still the same, and it was getting old. Riders of machines like this 1927 Harley-Davidson JD were quick to "make their machines their own", customizing their bikes in nearly every way imaginable. This example features bright blue paint, fender skirt, spotlights, working turn signals, and a hand-operated megaphone exhaust cutout!
During the early days of Class C competition, both Harley and Indian took to the drawing boards to make their machines faster and more reliable for the amateur racer. While a few "factory built cheaters" were built for preferred riders, machines like this 1937 Indian Sport Scout racer took home countless checkered flags and trophies from many of America’s biggest racing events.
This machine is preserved in "as-raced" original condition, and still runs like the wind!
The motorcycle industry was hit hard by the Great Depression. Both Harley and Indian struggled to keep production going, while the Excelsior Motorcycle Company closed its doors altogether in 1931.
1933 was Harley-Davidson’s lowest production year since the companies infancy — with production reaching just more than 3700 machines. This one-of-a-kind machine was produced at the Harley-Davidson factory for a customer of Guy Webb’s Harley-Davidson Dealership in Minneapolis, MN. It features the then-obsolete 1931-type HD 45 cubic inch Model DL engine, in a 1933-type Single Cylinder 21 cubic inch B-model chassis. The machine recorded a top speed of 88 mph when tested at HD, and is documented as the very first Harley-Davidson with the customer’s name on the gas tank.
The 1953 Indian Chief is among the elegant motorcycles the Springfield, Mass based firm ever produced. Featuring 80 cubic inch sidevalve engine and three speed transmission, the machine may have been a bit behind Harley-Davidson in the ways of performance. But the styling of the machine rivalled anything HD had ever made available to the public. 1953 was the last year for Indian production in America.
This beautiful example was restored in the early 1990s by the late Tony Watson. It is among the first 100 point Indian Chiefs ever restored.
This one-of-a-kind oddity was built by Mr. Al Gunther of Pontiac, Michigan in 1955. Nicknamed the "Gadget Bike", the machine was handbuilt in Gunther’s garage using what materials he had available. Gunther worked as a machinist for General Motors’ Transmission division, and in his spare time, spent many waking hours on his little red pride and joy.
Gunther based the machine around a 1913 Harley-Davidson single-cylinder engine, and built his own 6 speed transmission to accompany it. The machine features magneto ignition, sprung front end, and water injection system to rid the primitive engine of carbon build-up.
It was purchased by WTT in 2012 at the Oley, PA AMCA Swap meet and is kept in running and operating condition.