Motorcycles and sidecars were a natural combination in the beginning of the 20th Century. Motorcycles were relatively inexpensive and many were sold as a justification that they were utilitarian, never mind they were also fun. That came to an end when Henry Ford utilized the assembly line in the production of his famous Model T in 1914, which reduced the price of a car below that of a sidecar oufit. Motorcycles and their sidecars now became sporting vehicles leaving the utilitarian aspect to just a few commercial outfits.
Harley-Davidson had contracted with the Rogers Manufacturing Company of Chicago to produce a line of sidecars specifically for their sales, an arrangement that perhaps began in 1913. In 1914, the order was placed for 2500 sidecars and double that in the following year. The 1915 Harley-Davidson sales catalog stated that a new gondola type sidecar designed and manufactured by H-D would become available by October 20th of that year. A long history of sidecars from Harley-Davidson began, slowly growing in applications to cover 45, 61, 74 and 80 inch models, and included many commercial vans and even wide track sidecars. While the basic tub remained the same, the differences were in the chassis but left hand sidecars were also available for many of the overseas markets. In 1936 a brand new sidecar debuted that provided more comfort and used fenders patterned from the motorcycle. This model prevailed through the late 1960's when it was replaced with a fiberglass bodied sidecar.
This Harley-Davidson sidecar is from the personal collection of Bud Ekins. Mounted on the 1936 VL also on offer (Lot 403), it was used by Bud and his brother Dave in the Great Race, a transcontinental time trials. The paint scheme, by Ekins and Von Dutch, and the name "Mona" are from this period. Enjoy the experience of using a sidecar with an exciting history of ownership by Bud Ekins. Harley-Davidson will be discontinuing sidecar production after this year and may mark increased interest in their collection.