All-original overseas "barn-find", from an important Long Island collection,1923 Harley-Davidson Model J Engine no. 23J10490

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Lot 205
All-original overseas "barn-find", from an important Long Island collection,1923 Harley-Davidson Model J
Engine no. 23J10490

Sold for US$ 35,100 inc. premium
All-original overseas "barn-find", from an important Long Island collection
1923 Harley-Davidson Model J
Engine no. 23J10490
Who doesn't love a good "barn-find" story? This 1923 Harley-Davidson J-model adds a little overseas intrigue to its tale. It was discovered in a Norwegian armory amidst a collection of old army vehicles, well-preserved by a cocoon of burlap and blankets. It was repatriated back to the U.S., where a quick check revealed that, though finished in Harley's traditional olive-green paint, the bike was in fact a civilian model with none of the usual military trappings.

Introduced in 1915, the J was a big step forward for Harley. We see the beginnings of streamline styling in the rounded corners of the gas tank. Gone are the starting pedals held over from the bicycle era, replaced with a proper kickstarter. Of note is the three-speed gearbox, and a J was the first Harley to be equipped with electric lighting. The 61-cubic-inch (1000cc) V-Twin benefited from better breathing and was guaranteed to make at least 11hp. That number would climb to 16 with continued power plant improvements.

Back in America and without much work the long-slumbering Norwegian Harley was soon making noise. It appears to be a low-mileage example without significant damage. The battery box is missing and the rear tire steadfastly refuses to hold air; otherwise this is about as authentic and unmolested as a nearly 90-year-old bike can be.

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All-original overseas "barn-find", from an important Long Island collection,1923 Harley-Davidson Model J Engine no. 23J10490
All-original overseas "barn-find", from an important Long Island collection,1923 Harley-Davidson Model J Engine no. 23J10490
All-original overseas "barn-find", from an important Long Island collection,1923 Harley-Davidson Model J Engine no. 23J10490
All-original overseas "barn-find", from an important Long Island collection,1923 Harley-Davidson Model J Engine no. 23J10490
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