Lot 359: 1941 Harley-Davidson 45ci WL
This 1941 Harley-Davidson WL utilized the legendary 45c.i. flathead twin engine. Long considered the workhorse of the Harley-Davidson model lineup, this engine was launched in the summer of 1929 to usher in the era of the company�s sidevalve engines. In 1932, Harley-Davidson licensed their 45 to be manufactured in Japan under the name Rikuo. During World War II, it served the military and assisted our allies on their fronts. It remained in the solo motorcycle model lineup through 1952 and was used as late as 1973 in the three-wheeled Servi-Cars. Its success and longevity were attributed to its simplicity. It was often mistaken for a Big Twin because it looked similar to its larger 74c.i. and 80c.i. flathead brethren.
Manufactured during the model�s peak production years, the Harley 45 was notable for its reliability. From the beginning, the engines had a cam for each cylinder that allowed easy tuning, and honed the skills of backyard mechanics and racers all over the country. The bike�s simplicity made it both reliable and easy to maintain.
During 1941, materials for manufacturing in the United States became increasingly difficult to obtain, with essential supplies being directed to a pending military build-up. Civilian motorcycle production was severely reduced, especially for the 45 which was already being produced for our military and the Canadian forces.
This 1941 Harley-Davidson WL was professionally restored and has been well maintained with less than 3500 miles on the odometer since completion. Paint and rubber items, including tires, are in very good condition. As a civilian motorcycle produced in limited numbers immediately prior to World War II, it is relatively rare. The WL can still provide an enjoyable ride for the person seeking a relaxed pace in life.
A Sale of Important Motorcycles and Motorcars|
Bonhams, The Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, California
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