February 28, 2010

“Mr Big’s Big Vintage Harley Adventure – Update”

My apologies to my legions of fans out there, but I’ve been remiss in updating my vintage motorcycle blog and it’s time to correct that. In my last entry, I detailed my ability to crash unceremoniously in my driveway. Undeterred, I have been back in the saddle a few times since to better acquaint myself with the old girl.

1947 Harley "45" Sales Brochure

1947 Harley "45" Sales Brochure

I must admit that I haven’t felt quite ready to get out into real traffic yet. Understand that I live in a suburb of Houston and the traffic, even just outside my neighborhood, is quite demanding. Even on a modern bike, you better have your head on a swivel just to stay upright and out of trouble.

However, my short term plan is to ride to a local dealership and enter the little bike show they usually have in the spring. It will be a good opportunity to show her off and meet some like minded riders interested in vintage motorcycle activities.

One thing I have noticed is that my area of the country is not exactly a hot bed for vintage bikes so there is not much locally to access for knowledge about vintage Harleys. It appears that the biggest concentration remains in the northern states, parts of the east coast including Florida, and the west coast. Take a cruise through the vintage bikes for sale on eBay and you’ll see what I mean.

The good news is that the forum here at CAIMAG has been invaluable in accelerating my learning curve in a very short period of time. And I am extremely grateful for all the help I’ve received because without it, I’d still be staring at this bike with no direction or even a clue as to what I had. Really neat when you think about it, but I have pretty much instant access to advice from vintage motorcycle owners all over the world.

That being said, I’ve decided on that direction. My earlier blogs detailed my findings of a 1941 WLA Harley motor with pretty much a 1947 WL Harley roller. So I found and purchased a nice set of 1947 WL cases with matching belly numbers and also a correct Linkert M51 carburetor. After I’ve had an opportunity to ride and show a little more, I plan to tear her down and swap the cases for the correct ones, and go through the bike from stem to stern.

1947 WL Cases & Linkert M51 Carb

1947 WL Cases & Linkert M51 Carb

The paint is just ok and needs to be redone, the tank has some rust and needs sealing and I’m sure I’ll find some other bits and pieces that will need to be corrected. So when I complete the “restoration” my goal is to have a pretty correct 1947 Harley Davidson WL.

Goulding Litecar Reproduction

Goulding Litecar Reproduction Sidecar

The other tidbit I’d like to share is that I got another wild hair and now I want a sidecar. Would be nice to locate a vintage one that is correct for my bike, but I’m sure they are pretty rare and finding one may be a challenge, but you never know. Again, the classic Harley forum members were a great source for information on sidecars.

I was also made aware of a gentleman in Poland that makes a quality reproduction of the Goulding Litecar, so I may consider something like that down the road. I think it would be neat to take my “kids” for a ride with me. When I mentioned it, they seemed less than enthusiastic but I’m sure they’ll come around.

Sidecar Kids

Sidecar Kids

Filed under Mr. Big's Blog, Trike & Sidecar by Mr. Big

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Comments on “Mr Big’s Big Vintage Harley Adventure – Update”

March 1, 2010

Buzz_Kanter @ 8:51 am

Nice post and good luck with mastering your new old Harley. I bet there are more classic and vintage bike enthusiasts around you than you realize. Get out on yours and ride and they will find you. Sidecars are not all that rare.

dwhendri @ 10:45 pm

Good article Mr. Big – thanks as always.
Unfortunately, I agree with you that there doesn’t seem to be much apparent interest in vintage bikes in this part of Southeast Texas. Can’t figure out why – plenty of overall interest in bikes here, just doesn’t seem like there’s too many people interested in keeping the old iron alive. A local AMCA Chapter would probably help – Cherokee Chapter is pretty far away (hint). Let me know when you’ll enter that local show!

March 18, 2010

HAWKEYE @ 8:25 pm

If you change the cases you will have to re-register the bike as a ’47. I’d just build another bike over the period of time finding all ’41 parts and one day .. voowallaa!.. you can switch motors and have a correct ’47 AND a correct ’41…and no re-registration…I’m sneaky that way .. and I like having more bikes…