1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669

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Lot 162
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination
Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669

Sold for US$ 20,700 inc. premium
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination
Frame no. ZE36T
Engine no. 42WLA21669
• Extensive history file
• Subject to a mechanical restoration

In 1937, Harley Davidson introduced a new series model called W that featured a 45 cubic inch engine and more importantly a recirculating oil system that was supposed to reduce maintenance and increase reliability. This was specifically convenient for the rider that did not need to check the oil, adjust the oil pump or even lubricate the engine while riding anymore. Harley quickly received an order from the US Army to replace its fleet of RL models.
In 1939 the US Army purchased the 39W model and then in 1939 two prototype 39WL(A) Models were sent to the Mechanized Cavalry Board at Fort Knox, Kentucky. These were the first true 'WLA' Models having the typical military look. The 39WL(A) was a straight adaption of the civilian Model, still retaining the I-beam type front forks.

As soon as the war started in Europe in 1939, US Army started to run some tests putting different motorcycle manufacturers in competition. Between HD, Indian and Delco, Harley managed to gain Army's trust thanks to their WLA prototype.

In the first trimester of 1940m about 400 WLA40 models were ordered by the army.

In total, 70 000 WLA and WLC were ordered during the war, by the US and the allies. Spare parts for nearly half of all these bikes were also produced. These bikes were usually called 'Liberators' in European occupied countries, as they were usually ridden by the troops liberating cities from the German occupation.
Thanks to the WLA reliability and intense use during the war, Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company received the Army-Navy E Award in 1943. This E Award was given to companies that participated to the wartime effort. Harley Davidson workers were called 'Soldiers of the Production Line' and employees of the time could wear an 'E' Pin on their jackets.

The award would be especially mentioned in all future advertising as a sign of support to the War Effort.
Thanks to that history, the WL model, civil equivalent to the WLA, is one of the most important bike in the US motorcycling history. In 1946, Harley Davidson even introduced a racing bike using that flathead 45 called the WR which was compliant to the Class C AMA rules.

Offered with a substantial history (viewing recommended), the motorcycle offered here has been subject to a mechanical restoration with the history file containing the invoices for the work carried out.

Footnotes

  • As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note this motorcycle pre-dates the use of frame numbers by Harley-Davidson. The engine serial number indicates 1942 (or later) production. Additionally, the title will be in transit.
Contacts
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
1940 Harley-Davidson WL45 Combination Frame no. ZE36T Engine no. 42WLA21669
Auction information

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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.

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PLEASE NOTE: THE BUYER'S PREMIUM FOR THIS AUCTION IS AS FOLLOWS:

For MOTORCYCLE property the premium is 15% on the first $100,000 of the bid price and 10% on any amount of the hammer price exceeding $100,000. Buyers are required to pay any applicable import duty, sales or use tax, as the case may be.

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