1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613

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Lot 128
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber'
Engine no. 32VL5613

Sold for US$ 12,650 inc. premium
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber'

Engine no. 32VL5613

• Barn find bobber
• Linkert carburetor

Rivals Indian had long ago demonstrated the efficacy and performance potential of the side valve engine and thus the "flat head" Harley-Davidson V and high-compression 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/1210cc 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-center 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 re-design. 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 new engine was cheaper to produce, and its relative affordability would prove to be an important factor during the Depression years of the early 1930s.

This VL has been bobbed. Post-WW2 seeking more speed riders would pull off unnecessary heavy accessories and thus through weight reduction achieve their goal. The resulting bikes were called "bobbers" and those left behind with stock bikes could here their rivals refer to them as "garbage wagons"! Very little is known of the history of the faded yellow, barn find, bobber. It was bobbed in period, a Linkert carburetor was added and a JD front fender replaced the original. After at least ten years in the barn "we added fuel and oil –primed the oiling system, kicked three times and she ran great," as reported by the seller. It continues to start well, shifts and runs strongly. The seller again, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." We say beautiful, indeed.

Saleroom notices

  • The title is in transit.
Contacts
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
1932 Harley-Davidson VL 'Bobber' Engine no. 32VL5613
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