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Lot 360: Harley-Davidson Model 11K Boardtrack Racer

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

Motorcycle racing on America's dirt tracks and board tracks in the early days of motorcycling was a spectacular assembly of manufacturers, completely unlike the dominance currently with a handful of companies. In those days, motorcycles like Merkel, Thor, Emblem, Reading Standard, Yale, Excelsior, Pope, Jefferson, Waverly and others lined up against Indian and Harley-Davidson on America's tracks. Harley-Davidson however didn't initially support racing efforts but made use of privateers using Harley-Davidson's motorcycles in their advertising. Their efforts, much like today, center on improving the breed through thoughtful engineering and evolution. When the company entered the world of racing as a factory late in 1914, it was with a motorcycle that was not quite reliable as other race equipment being based upon the company's sturdy road engine. Success came in a big way in Dodge City on July 4, 1915 following many humiliating losses. Harley-Davidson, after 300 miles of racing, crossed the line in 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th places, showing the industry that Harley-Davidson had arrived.

This 1915 Harley-Davidson board track racer is representative of the machines the company entered on the fateful day Dodge City. The company was serious and included the Model 11-K, a twin cylinder 61 cubic inch engine in their 1915 sales catalog with a list of mechanical descriptions that included "mechanical construction to meet any requirements" with optional equipment of mechanical or hand oilers, various wheel sizes, saddles, transmissions and chassis equipment. They also reserved the right to change any feature without notice. In those days, any rider could order a competition motorcycle directly from the factory. Little did Harley-Davidson realize that following their 1915 catalog, the world would take notice of their achievements.

This 1915 Harley-Davidson 11-K offered is beautifully restored from a genuine racer that had spent the last 20 years on vintage race tracks. It is rare and unique in being Harley-Davidson's first factory competition motorcycle offered to the public. Finished in Harley's Renault Gray with dark blue and red striping, it is spectacular to view and would be equally impressive on the race track once again. Sold on a Bill of Sale.

Lot Details
Auction Motorcycle and Motorcars
Bonhams & Butterfields, Los Angeles
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number360
Estimate$45000-$50000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$50000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$58500
Year1915
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number
Engine numberA795
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors