c.1920 Harley-Davidson 'Board Track' Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 20T18951

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 5N
c.1920 Harley-Davidson 'Board Track' Racing Motorcycle
Engine no. 20T18951

Sold for £ 17,250 (US$ 22,219) inc. premium
c.1920 Harley-Davidson 'Board Track' Racing Motorcycle
Engine no. 20T18951
* Keystone type racing frame
* Single-gear transmission
* An older restoration

1909 marked the appearance of Harley-Davidson's first v-twin, though it was not until the adoption of mechanically operated inlet valves in 1911 (replacing the 'atmospheric' type inherited from the single) that production really took off. Known by the sobriquet 'pocket valve', this 'F-head' (inlet-over-exhaust) engine - built in 61ci and 74ci capacities (1,000cc and 1,200cc respectively) - would remain in production for the next 20 years. The Harley single's transmission arrangements - direct drive by means of a leather belt - were continued at first on the twin, but the need to make better use of the engine's power characteristics, particularly for sidecar pulling, prompted the introduction of a two-speed rear hub for 1914, by which time chain drive and a proper clutch had been adopted. Later that same year a conventional, three-speed, sliding-gear transmission with 'step starter' was introduced on the top-of-the-range version of the twin which, with full electrical equipment, was listed from now on as the Model J.

An older restoration, the machine we offer has been restored in the style of a board track racer. Board track racing became popular in the USA in the early 20th Century, when purpose-built tracks sprang up catering for both cars and motorcycles. The racing was spectacular and often dangerous – there were numerous fatal accidents – but what eventually led to its decline was the expense of maintenance and relocation, and the motorcycle sporting scene shifted to dirt ovals constructed for horse racing.

Harley-Davidson remained aloof from motorcycle sport in its formative years, preferring to concentrate on developing its road models and the establishment of a national dealer network. The first serious factory racing effort was launched in 1914 and soon bore fruit, one of its more spectacular early achievements being victory in the Dodge City 300 in 1915 when six of the first seven machines home were Harley-Davidsons.

This fascinating motorcycle features a frame of the kind first adopted by Harley-Davidson for its works racers in 1916. Known as the 'keystone' type, this chassis used a pair of plates instead of a conventional lower loop, thus enabling the engine to function as a stressed member. These rigid frames had the engine slightly offset to the left to assist cornering on the bankings and were in common use from 1916 to 1925. Other noteworthy features of include single-gear transmission, un-sprung front fork, dropped handlebars and short straight-through exhaust pipes. There are no documents with this Lot.

Saleroom notices

  • The full engine number L20T18951.
Contacts
c.1920 Harley-Davidson 'Board Track' Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 20T18951
c.1920 Harley-Davidson 'Board Track' Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 20T18951
c.1920 Harley-Davidson 'Board Track' Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 20T18951
c.1920 Harley-Davidson 'Board Track' Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 20T18951
c.1920 Harley-Davidson 'Board Track' Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 20T18951
c.1920 Harley-Davidson 'Board Track' Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 20T18951
c.1920 Harley-Davidson 'Board Track' Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 20T18951
c.1920 Harley-Davidson 'Board Track' Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 20T18951
c.1920 Harley-Davidson 'Board Track' Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 20T18951
c.1920 Harley-Davidson 'Board Track' Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 20T18951
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For Motor Cars and Motorcycles a 15% Buyer's Premium is payable on the first £50,000 of the final Hammer Price of each Lot, and 12% on any amount by which the Hammer Price exceeds £50,000, VAT at the standard rate is payable on the Premium by all Buyers, unless otherwise stated.

Buyers Premium on all Automobilia lots will adhere to Bonhams group policy, 25% up to £50,000 of hammer price, 20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 of hammer price, and 12% on the balance thereafter. This applies to each lot purchased and is subject to VAT. Some lots may be subject to VAT on the hammer price. These lots will be clearly marked with a dagger (†) printed beside the lot number in the catalog.

Payment Notices

For payment information please refer to the sale catalog.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
N NOVA declaration

If purchased by a UK resident, this machine is subject to a NOVA declaration, undertaken by Bonhams upon a successful sale, to facilitate the registration of the machine here in the UK.