1905 Harley-Davidson 3¼hp Single Recreation
The early days of Harley-Davidson are intriguing, its history often enhanced by well-meaning marketing personnel. The legacy of the fabled company's 1903 origin did not take into account the first prototype was a feeble 1¾ horsepower, 15.85 cubic inch engine strapped into a regular bicycle frame, and was never commercialized. That honor fell to the following development, a 3¼ horsepower engine of 24.7 cubic inch displacement sometime in 1904. The Harley and Davidson lads had also been exposed to several other early makes of motorcycles in Milwaukee and were able to glean the most practical ideas from other pioneer manufacturers. The new engine was larger and had excellent power, and its slower running would ensure a long reliable life. They also recognized the advantages of carburetion over a simple mixing valve. Another important observation came from the loop frame of the locally manufactured Merkel motorcycle which securely held the engine in a position that enhanced weight distribution. Clever intuition and good research fulfilled their ambitions of creating an excellent motorcycle right out of the gate.
That first Harley-Davidson carried the company into a new century, and some 90 years following its debut, became the source of a unique project. During the mid-1990's, a group of artisans banded together to re-create a small number of this iconic motorcycle. Together, they desired to replicate the 1905 Harley-Davidson in the highest possible quality and be technically correct. Details such as the early engine's case studs, and the thread and pitch of various fittings were exactly adhered to based upon an original machine. Mimicking the original, this motorcycle does not have fenders.
The engine has never been started but was planned to be fully operable. Cosmoline has been applied to the internals to protect the finishes from the expected long term storage in a collection or museum.
In the case of this 1905 Harley-Davidson, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Whether you consider this machine a replica or art, is a personal judgement. Nonetheless it is a beautiful representation of one of the world's most famous motorcycles, and one that will surely be appreciated. Offered on a bill of sale.