Bonhams : 1937 Harley-Davidson 61ci Model EL ‘Knucklehead’ Engine no. 37 EL 1115
1937 Harley-Davidson 61ci Model EL ‘Knucklehead’ Engine no. 37 EL 1115

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Lot 862
1937 Harley-Davidson 61ci Model EL ‘Knucklehead’
Engine no. 37 EL 1115

Sold for US$ 49,140 inc. premium
1937 Harley-Davidson 61ci Model EL ‘Knucklehead’
Engine no. 37 EL 1115
Without question one of the most handsome and readily recognizable motorcycle power units of all time, the Harley-Davidson 61ci overhead-valve v-twin - known as the ‘Knucklehead’ after its distinctively shaped rocker boxes - arrived powering a stylish all-new motorcycle in 1936. A twin-loop frame was deemed necessary to handle the 61’s increased power (37bhp in ‘E’ and 40bhp in high-compression ‘EL’ forms) while the front suspension too was beefed up, the forks switching to oval tubing in place of the previous forged I-beams. Teething problems associated with the earliest examples had been sorted out by 1937 and the Milwaukee factory quickly set about establishing the EL’s performance credentials, Joe Petrali setting a new speed record of 136mph at Daytona Beach on March of that year while Fred Ham later averaged 76mph for 24 hours at Murco Dry Lake in California to set a new best mark.
Progressively improved, the ohv Harley became available in 74ci (FL) form from 1941, remaining a cornerstone of the Milwaukee range in ‘Panhead’ and later ‘Shovelhead’ versions until superseded by the Evolution-engined bikes in the 1980s.

This simply stunning ’37 Knucklehead is offered fresh from a meticulous and painstaking total restoration carried out over the period 2005 to 2006. To original specification and correct in every detail, the machine is supplied with its original 1937 keys and is said to start and run beautifully. The machine is offered with Certificate of Title and full documentation of the rebuild including bills and a photographic record. First-of-the-line models of historic classic motorcycles are particularly sought after by discerning collectors and none more so than the 1936 and ’37 Knuckleheads, of which there can be no more correct example than this one.
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