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Thread: 1955 kh

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  1. #1
    Harry Miller Guest

    1955 kh

    Howdy-
    I'm restoring a 1955 KH (55KH1155) back to original. It's coming along fine and I have all parts needed in hand, more or less.

    I do have a couple of questions for whomever can help:
    1) Is there anyway of finding out the history,original paint and accessories via the VIN?
    Did HD keep any such records? I've restored a few cars and that info can be found for certain mfgs. and certain models.

    2) If I can't find out the original paint color, I'd like to paint it HD orange. Is there a way of getting a paint code or exact color match?

    3) The bike has had a rough life and I've had to correct several blatent mistakes performed over the years. Someone in it's past tried to HotRod the beast so they put in KR exhaust cams but left the stock intakes. They shaved the pistons tops and grooved the heads between the valves and pistons. The carb is a Linkert M74. I think the stock carb was a M53. The question is:all of this has been brought back to stock except the carb. Will this carb still work or should I look for an original? I've cleaned up and rebuilt the M74 so it would make good trading material.

    Thanks for the help-
    Harry

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Beautiful Northern NM
    Posts
    12,287

    Re: 1955 kh

    Harry,
    1) Short answer is no. H-D did not keep that kind of records nor did dealers, so there is no way to trace equipment unless you know the original owner or it is an un-restored machine.

    2) Orange was never an original '55 KH color. The stock colors were Pepper Red, Atomic Blue, Anniversary Yellow, Aztec Brown and Black. A special color option is Hollywood Green with matching oil tank and toolbox/coil cover.

    3) The carb you need is an M53-A1. It will function far better on the bike than the M-74. Try to find one. They appear regularly on eBay.

    Robbie

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Puget Sound, America
    Posts
    15,170

    Re: 1955 kh

    OOPS.... I was typing when Robbie was, sorry 'bout that!

    Hello Harry, welcome to the forum. You've come to the right place, plenty of info here, lots of guys who really know what they're talking about.

    I think you're out of luck in chasing down the particular information on the motorcycle based on the VIN. I believe the MoCo used to keep those kinds of records, but a fire and/or the purchase by AMF wiped them all out. I don't know the exact details, but I know who does, and I'm sure he'll set us straight!

    It is possible to achieve a color match to the original color of the motorcycle, there are several places I can think of that can come close, and some might be better than others in that regard. Have you found any remnants of the original paint that might reveal what the color was? The order blank for 1955 lists the following colors:
    Pepper Red
    Atomic Blue
    Anniversary Yellow
    Aztec Brown
    Black
    Hollywood Green

    The Order Blank also states that on the KH model, "the tool box, oil tank, and spark coil cover are enameled to match the tanks and fenders."

    There may be a paint "scheme" available, also, but I don't know that, not really a K guy. But there are a few K Model experts here, they will know for sure.
    I don't see Orange as a color option for 1955. If you're really interested in "correctness", an orange paint job would be like an elephant in the room. But it's your bike, your choice, and you're the one you have to please!
    52 HydraGlide
    59 Pan/Knuck Chopper
    77 Stroker Shovel FLH
    94 Evo Secret Components

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Beautiful Northern NM
    Posts
    12,287

    Re: 1955 kh

    I guess I should have welcomed Harry too. Welcome Harry!
    And Big Incher's statement as to the oil tank and tool box/coil cover being painted to match applies only to the special Hollywood Green option. All the other colors combos are tank and fenders only. I have all the KH sales brochures for '54,'55, '56, all the printed K parts books, all the H-D Enthusiasts, and lots more printed k info so if I can help, fire away.

    Robbie
    '55 KHK

  5. Re: 1955 kh

    Harley didn't use orange until 1968. It was called "jet-fire orange" and is available from Antique Cycle Supply.
    "Ride 'em, don't hide 'em!"

  6. #6

    Re: 1955 kh

    A card was included with the motorcycle that listed the serial number and every option, color, ETC. Most times this card was trashed, but some dealers saved them. A friend recently purchased a large quantity of them that came from Harry Molenaar's dealership. Perhaps other long gone dealers have this type of paper stashed at home.
    I am headed over to the home of a long time dealer of the '40's-'70's today to see if his family has any boxes of paper in the garage. Anybody who know the family of any old time dealerships should make inquiries.
    Chris Haynes
    A.M.C.A. Member
    Costco Member
    I can't Re Member
    http://vintageamericanmotorcycles.com/
    Be sure to register so you can view large photos

  7. #7

    Re: 1955 kh

    Welcome to the classic harley forum family and good luck with your project.

    Are you the motorcycle artist?
    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"


  8. #8

    Re: 1955 kh

    When I redid my 65 pan the local dealer had one of those cards on it .Then he passed and the new guy threw 40 yrs worth sales and maintance records I don't like the new guy much any how

  9. #9

    Re: 1955 kh

    I stopped by to visit former Santa Monica, CA dealer late 1940's- mid 1970's Andy Verrone's widow today to see if Andy, who never threw anything away, still had his cards and invoices. She told me she was sure they were there but I would have to talk with her son about getting them. I spoke with him and he said that next time he was in town he would look for them for me. I have my fingers crossed. Most of the Harley's on the West side of Los Angeles area were sold by Santa Monica H-D. Elvis bought one to six of them every time he came to town, and gave them away when he left.
    Chris Haynes
    A.M.C.A. Member
    Costco Member
    I can't Re Member
    http://vintageamericanmotorcycles.com/
    Be sure to register so you can view large photos

  10. #10

    Re: 1955 kh

    I'm a new guy as well with a Black 55 KH. Welcome - I recently found this forum and I've only made a couple of posts and asked a couple of questions so far, but everyone has been very helpful in getting me started up to this point. I'm a younger guy in my mid 30's so hopefully I can learn a lot from the forum to carry on some of the knowledge to another generation. But right now, can't help you with any of your questions...

    It's been a nice new place to live so far

    Have any current pictures of your project??
    1955 KH - Something about riding a bike 20 years older than I am... I love it!

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