HomeObject Detail

1951 Harley-Davidson FL and sidecar; Harley-Davidson; 1951; CMM245

1951 Harley-Davidson FL and sidecar; Harley-Davidson; 1951; CMM245
1951 Harley-Davidson FL and sidecar
About this object
The 74ci (1,210cc), overhead-valve, V-twin FL series was launched into the Harley-Davidson product line-up in 1941 to replace the UH and ULH 80ci (1,310cc) models. The ‘F’ indicates the large, overhead-valve, V-twin engine series and that code has been continued through to the present day on the company’s large-frame models. The ‘L’ indicates a fat front tyre. The first FL featured the ‘Knucklehead’ engine, which was superseded in 1948 by the ‘Panhead’ engine, so-called because the chrome plated valve covers look like inverted pans. It incorporated aluminium cylinder heads and hydraulic valve lifters that operate in an oil mist, and the oil lines were internalised.

In 1950, the engine’s inlet ports were redesigned and enlarged, providing a 10% increase in horsepower while the new ‘Mellow-tone’ muffler produced a deeper exhaust note.

Hydra-Glide hydraulic telescopic front forks replaced the earlier springer forks in 1948. The solo FL model was equipped with a four-speed gearbox operated by a hand shifter but this black and white 1951 example equipped with a sidecar features a gearbox with three forward gears and a reverse. It was acquired for the NZ Classic Motorcycles collection in May, 2009, via a US auction house, having undergone a full restoration to show-bike condition. It was acquired by Transport World for their Classic Motorcycle Mecca collection in May 2016.

Maker Role
Date Made
Place Notes
Chestnut Street (now Juneau Ave)
Object number
Copyright Licence Help
All rights reserved