1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052

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Lot 155
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle
Engine no. 51WR1052

US$ 60,000 - 70,000
£ 48,000 - 56,000
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle
Engine no. 51WR1052
· A wickedly nice WRTT that starts and runs – fast
· Iconic Harley racer with a true place in Harley's history
· Top quality world-class Leo Hulnick restoration

Harley-Davidson's entry into the new 'class of 45' occurred (in 1929) with a new sidevalve engine in the 21ci single Model B's chassis. This cost saving idea required the generator on the engine to be mounted vertically, hence the nickname 'three-cylinder Harley' by its detractors. And typical of Harley-Davidson, the evolution of this model was one of conservatism. In 1930, it got a new frame and in 1932 the generator was now horizontal thanks to the new frame, and in 1937 it received dry sump lubrication in part to the development of the Knucklehead. A new transmission and clutch in 1941 finished the substantial upgrades to the model.

Excelsior's Super-X began the race. Indian won it and Harley-Davidson outlasted them all. In the first two decades of motorcycles in the United States, two displacement classes prevailed; 21 cubic inch and 61 cubic inch, and racing classes were developed around these criteria. Then Excelsior introduced the class breaking Super-X in 1925, a 45ci engine that featured unit construction with the crankcase containing both the flywheel assembly and the transmission. Actually, it was a direct response to Indian's little Scout which was a 37ci engine, and a phenomenal sales success. In 1927, they too punched out the Scout to a full 45ci displacement. Harley-Davidson jumped into the game too in 1929 but had difficulty promoting their 45 incher against the sales leadership Indian and Excelsior had a stranglehold on. That '45 class', or 750cc, is still a recognized class in the sales and competition of motorcycles today.

This machine features rare 19-inch road race wheels – with brakes front and back - special narrow factory race clutch and matching skinny primary cover, Peek-A-Boo cam cover for easier ignition timing adjustments, Harley factory 5-gallon tank and rare matching shifter arm, rare oversized factory 6-quart cast aluminum oil tank, and a factory stamped 3-speed close ratio race transmission. Rare also are the MR3 Linkert race carburetor and longer factory road race exhaust. Matching leather saddle, pillion and chin pads together with period-correct Jack Tracey windshield to let the rider 'get under the paint' down the straightaways are still with the bike.

This lovely restoration undertaken by the famed Harley race bike guru Leo Hulnick was run by several racers: Joseph Holoubek (race no. 99) in Sturgis 1949 and again in 1957 (race no. 82), and Harland Zobel (race no. 15) at the Springfield Mile on August 17, 1952, for example.

Dale Walksler of the Wheels Through Time Museum says that this WRTT 45ci Class C racer might just be the nicest and most correct WRTT in the world! In amazing condition and complete with all the best racing components, he could just be right.

Footnotes

  • Offered on Bill of Sale. 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.
Contacts
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
1951 Harley-Davidson 45ci WRTT Factory Racing Motorcycle Engine no. 51WR1052
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