1930 Harley-Davidson 74ci VL 'Big Twin' Frame no. 30 1651 Engine no. 30V8795

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Lot 323
1930 Harley-Davidson 74ci VL 'Big Twin'
Registration no. HW 9016 Frame no. 30 1651 Engine no. 30V8795

Sold for £ 12,650 (US$ 17,459) inc. premium
1930 Harley-Davidson 74ci VL 'Big Twin'
Registration no. HW 9016
Frame no. 30 1651
Engine no. 30V8795
The 'flat head' (sidevalve) Harley-Davidson VL 'Big Twin' was announced in July 1929 as a replacement for the inlet-over-exhaust 'pocket valve' twins that had been in production since 1911. The twin headlamps, round toolbox and Klaxon horn were carried over from its immediate predecessor but nearly all of the rest of the bike was new. Harley's 1930 brochure described the new 74ci machine as 'standing head and shoulders above all comers, with such startling new features as a 20% more powerful motor with Ricardo removable heads, interchangeable wheels, bigger tires, drop-centre rims, lower riding position, greater road clearance, automatic increase of generator output, drop forged forks, 100% stronger frame, theft proof lock, dual front drive chain, improved clutch, and many other features making the 1930 Big Twin the greatest motorcycle value ever offered.'

Despite its maker's evident enthusiasm, the model V was far from an instant success. More massively built and heavier than its predecessor, the V lacked top-end power to such an extent that the first examples were recalled for an extensive engine redesign. A larger crankcase accommodating heavier flywheels did the trick and, its problems solved, the 74ci 'flat head' went on to win the hearts of Harley enthusiasts everywhere.

This Harley-Davidson VL was bought by the centenarian owner in 1941 from a naval officer, then sold and repurchased many years later. Correspondence on file appears to indicate that in 1965 the machine belonged to Mr W R Newton, Secretary of the Bristol Vintage Motorcycle Club. Mr Newton wrote to the Bristol licensing authorities that year, receiving confirmation that the registration 'HW 9016' was allocated to a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in April 1930 (copy letter on file). Unfortunately, all early logbooks have been lost, the earliest registration document on file being a V5 issued in January 1994 when the original registration was retrieved. Old/current V5C documents are on file also together with a photocopied operation/maintenance manual and a restoration guide. The Harley was restored soon after purchase in its pre-existing livery (note the heraldic emblem on the fuel tank) while subsequently the gearbox was rebuilt by specialist Steve Slocombe. Its present mechanical condition is not known and thus the machine is sold strictly as viewed.

Saleroom notices

  • The Engine Number is 30V8795C.
Contacts
1930 Harley-Davidson 74ci VL 'Big Twin' Frame no. 30 1651 Engine no. 30V8795
1930 Harley-Davidson 74ci VL 'Big Twin' Frame no. 30 1651 Engine no. 30V8795
1930 Harley-Davidson 74ci VL 'Big Twin' Frame no. 30 1651 Engine no. 30V8795
1930 Harley-Davidson 74ci VL 'Big Twin' Frame no. 30 1651 Engine no. 30V8795
1930 Harley-Davidson 74ci VL 'Big Twin' Frame no. 30 1651 Engine no. 30V8795
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