Exacting recreation built around an original motor,1908 Harley-Davidson 26.8ci Model 4 "Strap Tank" Single Recreation  Engine no. 2113

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Lot 273
Exacting recreation built around an original motor, 1908 Harley-Davidson 26.8ci Model 4 "Strap Tank" Single Recreation
Engine no. 2113

US$ 160,000 - 200,000
£ 130,000 - 160,000
Exacting recreation built around an original motor
1908 Harley-Davidson 26.8ci Model 4 "Strap Tank" Single Recreation
Engine no. 2113
Boyhood friends Bill Harley and Arthur Davidson literally hit the ball out of the ballpark with the introduction of their first Harley-Davidson motorcycle. It wasn't luck that propelled the young men into glory but the intuitive knowledge and experience to utilize the best of the then current practices in motorcycle engineering. They had been exposed to several different motorcycle designs in the Milwaukee area as they tinkered in their diminutive backyard wooden shed, attempting to build their first machine. By the time the prototype emerged in 1904, Harley and Davidson had selected important key designs which led to their early success. Their engine, similar to the local Mitchell motorcycle was sufficiently large enough to be able to tackle the harsh Milwaukee terrain. Their first frames were copied from another local manufacturer, the Merkel, but more importantly located the motor low in the frame for improved handling and strength.

It has been suggested that the original intent was to only construct a handful of these motorcycles for their personal use...that is until their neighbor Henry Meyer offered to purchase the original prototype in late 1904. That instance set the seed for the future. Building two more motorcycles in 1905, some 50 more were produced for the following year requiring the simple woodshed be tripled in size. Company growth was astounding as a large wooden building was constructed for 1907 on property purchased, with a 2-story brick addition added by 1908. Production that year totaled 450 motorcycles which sold each for $210.

By 1908, the Harley-Davidson motorcycle engine had grown slightly to 26.8 cubic inches but still retained the appearance of the original's successful F-head design. Up front were strengthened Sager Cushion Forks which first appeared under license in 1907 and provided a superior ride quality compared to its contemporaries. The engine cases were significantly strengthened as well while the engine continued to breathe through an atmospheric intake valve. Nicknamed the "Strap Tank Harleys", the 2 quart oil tank was banded on top of the gas tank. However the substantial muffler gained them the universally recognized name of "Silent Gray Fellows". Ignition was provided by total-loss battery. Finish was a pleasant Renault Gray with carmine pin striping but the original Piano Black could also be ordered. These early Harley-Davidsons were incredible and reliable roadsters that utilized sound engineering and development through keen observations.

This 1908 Harley-Davidson was the recreation by a group of artisan enthusiasts using an original engine and carburetor that was purchased twenty years ago. The opportunity presented itself to allow these skilled men to build a handful of motorcycles as Harley and the Davidsons would have constructed the original, learning while preserving the manufacturing techniques used on the early motorcycles. The engine was restored then the internals archivally preserved for the future with Cosmoline however the ancient motor was made fully operational. The minutest details of the engine and chassis were scrutinized to accurately clone the motorcycles to the highest degree of precision. The execution of this motorcycle is outstanding and earned 99.75 points in AMCA judging in 2004.

Early Harley-Davidsons are rarely presented for public sale as they are enthusiastically cherished by their owners. This is an extraordinary opportunity to own an exceptional representation of the 1908 Harley-Davidson.

Offered on a Bill of Sale.
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Exacting recreation built around an original motor,1908 Harley-Davidson 26.8ci Model 4 "Strap Tank" Single Recreation  Engine no. 2113
Exacting recreation built around an original motor,1908 Harley-Davidson 26.8ci Model 4 "Strap Tank" Single Recreation  Engine no. 2113
Exacting recreation built around an original motor,1908 Harley-Davidson 26.8ci Model 4 "Strap Tank" Single Recreation  Engine no. 2113
Exacting recreation built around an original motor,1908 Harley-Davidson 26.8ci Model 4 "Strap Tank" Single Recreation  Engine no. 2113
Exacting recreation built around an original motor,1908 Harley-Davidson 26.8ci Model 4 "Strap Tank" Single Recreation  Engine no. 2113
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