1957 Harley-Davidson FLH with sidecar
Engine no. 59FLH5640
By the mid 1940s the Knucklehead installed in Harley-Davidson's first overhead-valve twin-cylinder roadster was beginning to show its age, prompting the Milwaukee firm to engage in a wholesale revision of the engine for 1948, the new top end giving rise to the unofficial nickname "Panhead". While the engine's bottom end remained fundamentally unchanged, the top end gained aluminum cylinder heads and those distinctive pan-shaped rocker covers. Oil lines were internalized and hydraulic valve lifters adopted, an innovation that greatly reduced tappet noise and simplified maintenance. Maximum power increased to 50hp in the 74ci FL model, but the main advantage of the many improvements was greater reliability, a factor that could only extend the Harley's appeal.
The "pan" featured a new "wishbone" frame incorporating bowed front down-tubes, and in 1949 gained a hydraulically damped telescopic front fork, becoming the Hydra-Glide, though this name was originally applied only to the fork and did not become an official model title until 1952. Harley's big news for 1955 was the introduction of a new high-performance FL variant denoted, as usual, by an "H" suffix. For the FLH, the Panhead motor was redesigned around stronger crankcases, producing 60hp thanks, mainly, to an upped compression ratio.
This gorgeous restoration matches its purpose perfectly: rigid, hand shift FLH with Harley-Davidson sidecar. Rolling comfort, in style, for two. The seller undertook the meticulous restoration in 2004 having bought it in 1994 when completely disassembled, and in boxes. It had last been registered in April 1977 to a Randy Killingsworth of Kansas City, Kansas registering 10 miles on the odometer. The 74ci, 3-speed plus (internal) reverse machine has been restored inside and out, nut and bolt by nut and bolt, to a standard that might be described as "better than new". Upgraded cosmetically with triple chrome plate and the frame powder coated. Coker reproduction tires are fitted although the spare, carried on the sidecar of course, is an unused original Goodyear Super Eagle 100. The speedometer is a restored original as is the steering dampener.
Rare and glorious, reportedly functioning as it should, this Harley sidecar rig is fun to ride, both forward and in reverse!
- Please note that the correct engine number for this motorcycle is 57FLH5640; it is titled under its engine number and its title is in transit.