1950 Harley-Davidson WR 750cc Racing Motorcycle
Registration no. 104 XUC
Frame no. 50WR2088
Engine no. 50WR2088
Introduced in 1929 as a competitor to Indian's successful 750cc sidevalve Scout v-twin, the Harley-Davidson Model D - better known as the '45' (its capacity in cubic inches) - really took off when the USA's entry into WW2 created an unprecedented demand for the military WL version. This 750cc sidevalve engine would turn out to be one of the longest running Harley motors, ending its days in the 1973 Servicar. In between it enjoyed considerable success in American oval track racing following the AMA's introduction in 1937 of Class C for 750cc production-based motorcycles intended to make racing more affordable for ordinary enthusiasts. Indian's Sport Scout set the initial standard but Harley was quick to catch up, introducing a series of ever more powerful versions of the '45', culminating in 1941 with the arrival of the first built specifically for racing: the WR, which was available in dirt track and WRTT road-racing forms. In 1950 Larry Headrick, riding a WR prepared by legendary tuner Tom Sifton, won all three AMA national mile races to gain the coveted 'No.1' plate.
In the 1940s and '50s, race programmes listed the engine numbers of the competing motorcycles and that offered here - '50WR2088' - is shown as entered for the Springfield Mile on 19th August 1951 ridded by Norman Robarge from Waukegan, Illinois, and carrying race number '53'. The subsequent history of the bike is unknown until circa 2000 when it was bought in the USA as a basket case and taken to Germany. There it was converted to WRTT specification, with the later twin-leading-shoe front brake and four-speed gearbox added to make it more competitive in the German historic racing classes. It was campaigned for the next few seasons in circuit racing, sidecar racing, hill climbs and sprints before being bought by the current owner in 2006 and registered in the UK. Fitted with hydraulic ride control, it has been ridden to various rallies in the UK and Holland, and sprinted with the VMCC, covering fewer than 1000 miles since acquisition. Factory records show only 69 WR models built in 1950, of which approximately 15 are believed to survive. The machine is offered with VMCC dating certificate and Swansea V5.
- The frame number is: 7583