Harley-Davidson Knucklehead
Lot 153
1947 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Engine no. 47E65969
Sold for US$ 29,250 inc. premium
Lot Details
1947 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead
Engine no. 47E65969
Harley Davidson made a major departure from their conservative, but very sound motorcycle designs when they introduced the overhead valve 'knucklehead' in 1936.

The side-valve V series big flat-head twins that were the company's main offering were very robust in design, but were modest in performance compared with offerings from the Indian 'Wigwam', and still featured total loss lubrication. The knucklehead offered full circulating dry sump lubrication, and an overhead valve hemispherical cylinder head design with high compression options. Like many new models, the early ones were plagued with a few problems, such as top end oil leaks, and insufficient braking, given the machine's potential speed. Possibly more than any source outside the Indian 'Wigwam' in Springfield, the knucklehead lead to the eventual downfall of Indian, who never shed their loyalty to the old-fashioned, charming, but less efficient side-valve design on their big Chief.

By 1946, the overhead valve Harley was a dependable and well-developed machine. The example offered for sale is the model E, which is the medium compression 61ci or 1000cc model. It is sufficiently rare, that the company doesn't even have the production records, which leads to the assumption it is included in the figures for the EL model, of which only 2098 were produced.

This is an opportunity to acquire an excellent project bike at well below the price of a restored knucklehead.
Without reserve

Saleroom notices

  • The engine number is 47EL5969.
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  1. David Swig
    Auction Administration - Motorcycles
    Bonhams
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  2. Eric Minoff
    Auction Administration - Motorcycles
    Bonhams
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  3. Mark Osborne
    Specialist - Motorcycles
    Bonhams
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    United States
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  4. Nick Smith
    Specialist - Motorcycles
    Bonhams
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