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Thread: Affordable classics?

  1. #1
    Rex Guest

    Affordable classics?

    I'm a strange character, only 22 but utterly in love with 30's, 40's, 50's cars bikes, boats, machines etc. I've recently been thinking about getting a motorcycle, but don't know anything about them. After a bit of research, I found that a late 30's or 40's harley is a beautiful sight to behold. I realized this when i stumbled upon on a 1940 Knucklehead on ebay. Incredible.

    Harley-Davidson : Touring:eBay Motors (item 170329888663 end time May-10-09 15:11:27 PDT)

    Of course, after a bit more research, I found that they're very expensive. Can anyone give me ideas for a similar looking bike thats not going to cost 20k? I'm not affraid of a project. I can do anything. But I'd really like to get something I could get running and drive this summer. I've got to many other projects at the moment for a basket case. Although the cosmetic condition is of no concern. It seems that the flatheads are a lot cheaper. How similar are these two bikes (aside from the engines?)


  2. #2

    Re: Affordable classics?

    Yup, flatheads are a lot cheaper than OHV Harleys. And smaller displacement (45s and Sportsters) are less than 61s and 74s.

    Knuckleheads (OHVs from 1936 to 1947) are going for big money now, Panheads (OHVs 1948 to 1965) are a bit less, and 45s (WL sidevalves) are less but not cheap any more.

    Do your homework and keep your eyes open for the right deal.

    The least expensive "classic Harley" is a coneside Shovelhead from the early 1970s. Good luck.
    Buzz Kanter
    American Iron Magazine Harley forum
    American Iron Magazine Digital Delivery

    "It is always fascinating to watch the development of rationalizations for an argument"

  3. #3

    Re: Affordable classics?

    Wwhat about a big twin flat head like a UL or VL?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    East TN, just north of Chattanooga

    Re: Affordable classics?

    I second Buzz's comments. Cone Shovels give you all of the mystique of an antique HD at a thrird or fourth of the cost of a Knuckle. Also if its a certain look you want, you can get a Shovel and add the bits that you like on the older bikes e.g. Hydraglide tins, 3.5 gallon tanks, tanks emblems, air filter, etc.


  5. #5
    Rex Guest

    Re: Affordable classics?

    I looked through a ton of pictures of 70's harley's but didn't see anything that looked like a 40's harley's. Its the shape of the frame and fenders, the handle bars, the springer front end, the seat, etc. that attracts me to the older bikes. How much could I get into a 40's flathead for? Doesn't need to be complete or even running, but it would need to have most mechanical parts. Are these engines expensive to rebuild?


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Everett, Washington

    Re: Affordable classics?

    Maybe a recent springer softail would do the trick. Depends on whether you want a project or a ride. Until the last year or two Harley made a Softail Springer Classic model you could make look very ancient with some easy mods, like square footboards, vintage-style trim and maybe a 1935-style fishtail muffler in black. Lots of riding without much fixing, and they rolled out the door new in the vicinity of $16K. One's on ebay now for $14,950 with 7K miles, Buy It Now.

    Google the 2007 Softail Springer Classic FLSTCI to see it. You would never fool a vintage expert like Mr. Haynes with it, but it does look older than anything else in the Harley lineup.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Re: Affordable classics?

    I'm a strange character (Rex)

    Not at all! You have the right caracter!
    Apocalyps 21.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    North East Ohio

    Re: Affordable classics?

    A lot about pricing has to do with where you live. Supply and demand kind of thing. Around here you could expect to pay in the “ballpark” of,
    40’s…… 45 flathead = 6-8k
    50’s…… Panhead=10-15k
    60’s…… Panhead=8-10k (unless it’s a 65 cause they are special)
    I would expect any of the above machines to run and to be in ridable condition. One nice thing about the early bikes is that alot of parts are interchangable through out manufacutered years. So its easy to build them to your liking using genuine parts. Lots of nice Jonny Cash bikes aound. Good Luck in your hunt.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Greensboro, NC-USA

    Re: Affordable classics?

    One word-Scout. Is not the AMCA running a contest for young riders who can write an essay for a chance to win a bike to build?
    I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure - Clarence Darrow

    "All that a fella has to do, is ride into that Union Camp, raise his right hand and swear as such that you'll be loyal to the United States, and he can take up his horse again, and go home." Yeah, Right...

    1947 Indian Chief
    2012 Indian Chief

  10. #10
    Rex Guest

    Re: Affordable classics?

    Micmac, are you suggesting I look for an Indian Scout? I love them, but thought all of the Indians were very expensive.

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