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Lot 315: Harley-Davidson 61ci Model J

Motorcycle and Motorcars, Bonhams & Butterfields (14 November 2009)

1909 marked the appearance of Harley-Davidson's first v-twin motorcycle, though it was not until the adoption of mechanically operated inlet valves in 1911 (replacing the 'atmospheric' type inherited from the single) that production really took off. Known by the sobriquet 'pocket valve', this 'F-head' (inlet-over-exhaust) engine - built in 61ci and 74ci capacities (1,000cc and 1,200cc respectively) - would remain in production for the next 20 years. The Harley single's transmission arrangements - direct drive by means of a leather belt - were continued at first on the twin, but the need to make better use of the engine's power characteristics, particularly for sidecar pulling, prompted the introduction of a two-speed rear hub for 1914, by which time chain drive and a proper clutch had been adopted. Later that same year a conventional, three-speed, sliding-gear transmission with 'step starter' was introduced on the top-of-the-range version of the twin which, with full electrical equipment, was listed from now on as the 'Model J'. Periodically revised and up-dated, the 'J' had gained a front brake, stronger fork and pumped lubrication by the time production ceased in 1929. These pre-1925 'long tank' Harleys are becoming hard to find in good running condition and this excellent original example possesses a wonderful patina of age. The machine is magneto fired, the left-hand throttle also controlling the ignition advance/retard. Lighting is fitted at front/rear and the tires are white 'non skid', while the license plate is a genuine 1922 Washington item. This motorcycle has been gone through by Dave Fusiac, well known Model J guru in the AMCA, who says it's the best running example that he has ever ridden. It starts easily, idles smoothly, runs and shifts well, etc and is great fun to ride, attracting attention wherever it goes.

Lot Details
Auction Motorcycle and Motorcars
Bonhams & Butterfields, Los Angeles
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number315
Estimate$25000-$35000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1922
Condition rating2
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number
Engine number22J8331
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors