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Knucklehead

The UL File Is Now Open: Episode 1

By General Posts

Artistic rendering of my lovely-self from my first Bike Feature in Easyriders in 1971 – Bandit

Purchase, Pegs and Paint
By Bandit with photos from the Redhead

It all started in the center of an odd South Dakota winter, 2022 and a hunt for a running Knucklehead engine. I found myself talking to several knowledgeable brothers in the industry and the price for Knucklehead engines climbed spectacularly. Hell, shit, piss, way beyond spectacular.

Steve Massicot at Paughco mentioned an old employee who needed funds and had a UL for sale. A complete bobber, although the running aspect was in question.

I remembered George Christie’s classic flathead with fatbobs. We rode to the Yuma River run in the early ‘70s.

As you know, I’m nuts and believe I can fix anything. Most bikers can, so I cut a deal, but UL Steve wanted cash….

READ This Tech & Rebuild Adventure – Step by Step – with Photos on Bikernet.com – Click Here as the Newest Feature Article on Custom Build Series comes Alive!!!

CHECK OUT over 22 Motorcycle Building Projects in this Series at Bikernet.com BIKE BUILDS Section
https://www.bikernet.com/pages/bike_builds.aspx

4 Major Motorcycle Trends Sir Hagerty Witnessed at the Mecum Auction

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by James Hewitt from Hagerty.com

Values have skyrocketed of late in the motorcycle world but there were still deals to be had.

The spending frenzy at Scottsdale’s January auto auctions may have garnered the headlines, but just a short road trip away in Las Vegas, Mecum’s motorcycle auction put on a similarly spectacular show for the two-wheeled crowd.

We reported last year that millennials prefer classic & vintage Harleys over Indians.

Knuckleheads are benefitting from broader, multi-generational appeal, and demand is increasing because younger buyers continue to move into the market while older ones aren’t leaving.

CLICK HERE To Read this Classic Motorcycle Market Report on Bikernet.com

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Bandit Lights an Xmas Fire

By General Posts

Bandit’s Cantina Episode 96 : a 2021 Christmas story

by K.Randall Ball

Bandit looked around at the dozen or so kids and looked at the sleek classic chopper with highbars he was building. The Knucklehead engine and transmission were now in place.

Marko approached and whispered something into Bandit’s ear, “Exactly,” Bandit added.

It was the week after Thanksgiving. Marko disappeared for a minute and returned with a couple of large boxes marked, “Xmas.”

“We need to do something to brighten Christmas for these kids. I’m going to paint the Chopper red and white for the holidays.” said Bandit.

CLICK HERE To Read the Christmas Episode of Bandit’s Cantina – The Series.

Join the Cantina to read all the Episodes – a live ever-growing series.

https://www.bikernet.com/pages/cantina_the_series.aspx

Harley-Davidson FL 1946 Sells for 473 Times Its Original MSRP

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by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Born at a time when World War II was raging all across the world, the FL line of motorcycles turned out to be a hit in the Harley-Davidson portfolio. Little did the bike maker know however that many decades after its introduction, this line of Knuckleheads will be worth many times over their original money.

The FL you’re looking at, sporting a bit more chrome than what the bike maker offered back then, comes from the year immediately after the end of the war. It looks so shiny and new thanks to a restoration process it went through about a quarter of a century ago. A restoration process that also helped significantly increase its value.

You see, back when it was made alongside close to 4,000 others of its kind, the two-wheeler had an MSRP of just $465. Adjusted for inflation, that would be around $6,200 in today’s money. Still a very, very long way from the sum it just sold for last week.

The bike was listed on the massive lot that went under the hammer during the huge Mecum motorcycle auction in Las Vegas. This particular FL shares the second position on the podium for most expensive bikes sold there with an E model from 1943, behind the champion of the event, the $297,000 Strap Tank.

$220,000 is how much someone paid for the FL, which would be 473 times more than its original price back in 1946, or 35 times more if we do the math with the inflation-adjusted amount.

Although we’re not specifically informed of this, we reckon the 74 cubic inch engine linked to a four speed transmission is still in working order, but do not expect this motorcycle to take to the roads anytime soon. That’s because there are only two reasons people generally pay this much for a bike this old: included it in a collection, or waiting for its value to increase some more so it could be sold for a profit.

California Highway Patrol Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead from 1937

By General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) might very well be the most famous American state law enforcement agency. A big reason for that is the “CHiPs” TV series that ran in the 1970s and 1980s and followed the adventures of two fictional CHP officers.

Set up in 1929, the organization currently covers everything from highway patrol duties to guarding state officials. And an important element the CHP officers use in performing their duties are vehicles, most notably motorcycles.

Presently, most of the two-wheelers serving with the CHP are Harley-Davidsons, with the Electra Glide forming the backbone of the several-hundreds strong fleet since 2013. But the law enforcement agency has always had an interesting love story with the Milwaukee company, and the Knucklehead we have here is proof of that.

What you’re looking at is one of about 1,829 EL motorcycles Harley made in 1937. It was deployed since new with the CHP, and thanks to its current owner, who purchased it in 1994, it now looks pretty much as it did back in the day it served.

The motorcycle lacks police-related hardware, such as a siren, a two-way radio speaker, and of course the red and blue flashers, but it has the right colors, badge, and the 61ci Knucklehead engine in the frame.

The bike is presently part of a collection called John Bernard Estate, and was for a long time on display at various museums, including its present location, the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa.

But hopes are it will not be so for long. It is going under the hammer at the hands of Mecum in Las Vegas at the end of the month. The two-wheeler is going with an original historical 1944 California pink slip, but no estimate on how much it is expected to fetch is given.

This 1936 Harley-Davidson EL Was Once Featured on a Miller Beer Can

By General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Despite being rather old, Knucklehead motorcycles are still around in relatively large numbers, and a good chunk of them still come in excellent condition. It looks as though each and every one of them, either on display in a museum somewhere or up for grabs through whatever means, has something special and unique to offer.

In the case of this here two-wheeler, that something special would be notoriety. Aside from the fact you’re looking at a first-year Knucklehead (according to Harley’s numbers, about 1,500 of them were made back in 1936), it was also the star of several high-profile events over the years.

It was back in 2003 when the bike climbed the highest on the ladder to success. First, it was part of a massive Harley event in Milwaukee, meant to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary, and then its image was used on a Miller collectible beer can released that same year.

The bike is presently part of the John Bernard Estate after being purchased back in 1989. It was restored by Dick Winger, a member of the board of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America, and now the plan is to make use of all of these things to get as much money for it as possible during the Mecum Las Vegas auction at the end of the month. Click Here to See Auction Page.

The EL is as original as they come, boasting the telltale red and black paint scheme and the 61ci engine sitting inside the frame—for reference, the engine number is 36EL1586. Most importantly, the two-wheeler has barely been used, as the seller claims there are just 40 miles of use on it, though that’s probably since the restoration was completed.

The Knucklehead is selling with a title, but no mention on how much it is expected to fetch (or on the reserve for it, for that matter) is made.

Final-Year 1947 Harley-Davidson FL Knucklehead on auction

By General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

How do you prefer you vintage Harley motorcycle? Do you like them restored to their former shine, or would you rather go for some modifications to make them unique, but somehow spoil them in the process? Well, if you’re a collector, there’s only one possible answer to that.

At the end of April, auction house Mecum will be holding its massive, annual motorcycle auction in Las Vegas. This year, a prominent presence on the auction block is that of an impressive Harley-Davidson collection belonging to a single, Tacoma, Washington resident museum owner by the name of J.C. Burgin.

The incredibly well preserved 1947 Harley-Davidson FL Knucklehead we have here is part of the collection. It entered Burgin’s possession all the way in 1983, and then underwent a careful restoration process that left the two-wheeler looking like it does now.

Wrapped in blue on the body parts that support paint, the two-wheeler retains the chrome shine the bike maker envisioned it for the Knucklehead engine. Most of the FL’s original hardware was preserved, from the front fender lamp to the horn cover. There’s even a red ball tank emblem in there for effect.

The motorcycle is powered by the same powertrain back when it was made, meaning a 74ci unit running a four-speed transmission.

The fact that this bike comes from 1947 might boost its price a bit in the upcoming auction. That was the last year of production for the Knucklehead, as starting 1948, the era of the Panhead began. For reference, back in its day, a motorcycle such as this sold new for around $600 – that would be roughly $7,000 adjusted for inflation.

Now, of course, they sell for a hell of a lot more on the collector’s market. For this particular 1947 Harley-Davidson FL Knucklehead, Mecum gives no estimate as to how much it is expected to fetch.

1938 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Runs Like New

By General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Harley-Davidson has had a rough patch these past few years, and 2020 was the coronation of its problems, a time when it lost its CEO, a factory overseas, and gave up on its direct involvement in the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle series.

Earlier this week, the Milwaukee-based company announced a plan for the next five years to turn things around, taking baby steps to make some profit, expand some segments, and reward its workforce. There’s even talk of getting back the public love, although given how not that many new models are planned for the next five years, it’s hard to tell how it could happen.

And that’s a shame because, after all, it was public love that kept the company afloat during the Depression years, right alongside Indian. Public love and the technological gambles the bike maker was not afraid of making.

Like taking the Flathead-engined VL motorcycle off the market in 1936, before the economic hardship was even over, and replacing it with what came to be known as the Knucklehead. It stayed in production for a little over a decade, right through the war years, and then the Panhead came along and kicked it away.

But that decade was enough for the Knucklehead to impress Americans and give birth to an army of followers that are still devoted to it to this day. Followers who keep restoring and then selling them to others who are alike.

One particularly fancy Knucklehead is going under the hammer in April, during the Mecum motorcycle auction in Las Vegas. The pre-war model, made in 1938, was the subject of restoration work that got it back in shape, so much so that the 61ci (1.0-liter) engine that gives it its name still spins the wheels. It has done so for the past 148 miles (238 km), since it left the garage where it was cared for.

Stainless 1940 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Has Oil Running Through Its Frame

By General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Just like car lovers, motorcycle enthusiasts around the world had to settle for online shows this year. In America, where the bulk of custom shops is located, that was nearly a tragedy in itself.

Most of the nation’s summer events – aside from Sturgis, obviously – were either postponed or canceled. Some bike makers, like Harley-Davidson, stepped in and tried their best to ensure people still have a means to show their creations.

For the Milwaukee-based company, that aid came in the form of The No Show, a Youtube-based series that featured back in June the machines created by 60 builders from 10 countries.

Among them was this 1940 stainless steel Knucklehead, coming our way from Buffalo, NY-based Christian Newman. Built a couple of years back, the bike is the winner of the People’s Champ competition, and the recipient of the prize for best Knucklehead at Born Free.

The build has stainless steel frame and fork, housing the slightly-modified 1940 Knucklehead engine, a narrower-than-usual transmission, and a reworked clutch. One of the most important custom touches involves the way in which that engine gets its oil.

According to the builder, there are almost no hoses on this bike. The oil gets into the engine directly through the frame, via the right-side chain stay, and gets back into its tank through the front downtubes.

Visually, the bike looks like a proper custom build centered around Harley hardware but also blends some elements from the automotive world. The front lens of the headlight, for instance, comes from a 1951 Chevrolet, while the rear lenses (there are two of them) have been taken from Hudson cars made in 1940 and 1941, respectively.

As a side note, had this year’s Born Free show taken place at the scheduled date, Newman says this stainless Knucklehead is not what he would have brought. Instead, the builder was planning to show another stainless steel machine, in the form of a turbo flathead.