It never ceases to amaze me the detail and the surprises that antique Harley’s posses. Even this one, which is rustic, has a fantastic deal of beauty and grace.
Today we are taking a very rare look at history in motion. This 1934 Harley still purs like a kitten. Seeing something like this in person is very rare but this video is the second best thing. As a fan of all things Harley I love taking a peek into the past and seeing the evolution that these motorcycles we all love. This is a great opportunity to tell you a little about the American brand that we all love.
Way back in 1901 William S Harley, at the ripe old age of 22, sketched out his first plans for an engine with displacement of 7.07 cubic inches and 4 inch fly wheels. It actually started out for use on a bicycle. That is right, a bike. It took about 2 years but Harley and his friend Davidson eventually met up and developed the engine in Milwaukee. Believe it or not, the engine was not powerful enough originally to make it up those steep Milwaukee hills!
By 1905, the team had developed a better and more powerful engine that they felt was worthy of advertising. Their first ad was placed in the “Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal”. They advertised the engine alone as a perfect project for do-it-yourselfers (the original DIY’ers) looking to fix up their day-to-day bikes into mean motorbike machines.
Fast forward to the 1920’s and Harley-Davidson had evolved into the biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. The rest is now history! The Harley-Davidson bike was eventually used in WWII and continues to be a huge part of Americana and the American culture as a whole!
In January 1905, small advertisements were placed in the “Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal” that offered bare Harley-Davidson engines to the do-it-yourself trade. By April, complete motorcycles were in production on a very limited basis. That year, the first Harley-Davidson dealer, Carl H. Lang of Chicago, sold three bikes from the dozen or so built in the Davidson backyard shed. (Some years later the original shed was taken to the Juneau Avenue factory where it would stand for many decades as a tribute to the Motor Company’s humble origins. Unfortunately, the first shed was accidentally destroyed by contractors in the early 1970s during a clean-up of the factory yard.)
From The Video Owner:
The ingenuity that is available is almost genetic like some inner calling that reaches into your heart. Those ideas that are flashes of brilliance against a bright sky where the open road is less about a destination and more the flag of freedom. There is something remarkable in each Harley, and that link is a bond between man and machine.