1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817

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Lot 222
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin
Registration no. 939 XUT Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817

Sold for £ 15,525 (US$ 19,443) inc. premium
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin
Registration no. 939 XUT
Frame no. 31V1817
Engine no. 31V1817
• Landmark sidevalve 'Big Twin'
• Restored condition
• Featured in the Discovery Channel's 'Harley & The Davidsons'

Rivals Indian had long ago demonstrated the efficacy and performance potential of the sidevalve engine, and in 1929 Harley-Davidson at last adopted this technology on a twin-cylinder model, having had a 'flat head' single in the line-up since 1925. This new engine was cheaper to produce, enabling Harley to price the new 45ci (750cc) Model D at $290, and its relative affordability would prove to be an important factor during the Depression years of the early 1930s.

For the 1930 model year, Harley-Davidson extended its sidevalve technology to larger models. Harley's 1930 brochure described the new 74ci (1,200cc) 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.'

Its manufacturer's hyperbole notwithstanding, the sidevalve Model V was far from an instant success. More massively built and heavier than its predecessor, the V was no faster and 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. Its problems solved, the 74ci 'flat head' v-twin went on to win the hearts of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts everywhere.

This example was purchased in February 2016 from Cosmo Classic Motorcycles for use in the Discovery Channel's hit TV show, 'Harley & The Davidsons', and featured prominently in the H-D factory scenes throughout Episode 3. The Harley had been purchased from an importer in 2010 by one of its previous owners, and was first registered in the UK in March of that year. That previous owner, an engineer, then restored the machine to a high standard with due regard to originality and detail. Works carried out included completely rebuilding the original engine and gearbox; relining the brakes; re-bushing the forks; fitting period-style Coker tyres; and installing a fabric-insulated wiring loom to original specification. All of the original tin-ware was reused together with the correct 1931-only exhaust system. The vermilion and black paintwork perfectly complements this stunning machine. Accompanying paperwork consists of the 2016 purchase receipt and a V5C Registration Certificate.

Saleroom notices

  • The documentation will be forwarded to Bonhams after the sale. The machine was featured in the Sky Drama 'Harley & The Davidsons' as a static display and will require recommissioning to a greater or lesser extent.
Contacts
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
1931 Harley-Davidson 74ci Model V 'Big Twin Frame no. 31V1817 Engine no. 31V1817
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