A Vintage Harley’s Story to Revival

On any week end way back in the 60s you could stroll around practically just about any small community in The us and surely you would most likely find a vintage Harley Davidson such as this left in front of a tavern or bar.

Chances are, too, that the H-D shines underneath the gleam of streetlights or neon lights that lit up the landscape. These motorcycles were good, straightforward, vintage machines, too, that although not completely stock; bore a generous dosage of authentic Harley Davidson pieces.

A lot of these motorcycles were modified over time and were dressed with more modern components, all in the name of maintaining the bike updated right up until such time as sufficient cash has been saved to get a new motorbike. Saddle posts were bashed straight back to make room for more recent motors. Following the renovation fad hit in the 90s, most of these bikes were returned to factory configurations or gave up their parts to a more ambitious renovation undertaking. The ones that remained, we called them “ham and eggs bikes” due to their mixed parts.

Like classic choppers and custom bikes of an early period, few still exist, and those that do symbolize that can-do attitude and mood that reminds us of our culture and our nation’s development thus far. In the 70s, I took off with my mom’s station wagon to Kentucky from our home in New York to buy a 1948 FL dressed in 1954 sheet metal along with a Glide front end. I instantly fell in love with 1948 Fls and afraid that I’d never get a fully stock one that I bought it sight unseen. Soon I realized that it was an EL originally equipped with a 61′ V-twin.

This specific motorcycle is actually owned by Wes Hogue of Gentry, Arkansas. The bike began life being a law enforcement motorbike that worked with the Manila (Philippines) police force. The EL was part of Harley-Davidson’s export fleet that produced foreign profits during that period. The bike was utilized in service from 1948 until eventually 1970 when it was retired and parked for good in the police force’s bone yard. A couple of years later, sometime in 1974, “Greasy” Collins, an officer in the USMC positioned in the Philippines, was looking for something to drink when he went in a bar in Manila to have one.

From where he was sitting, he had a good view out the rear door. What he noticed was a Panhead sitting in the police department’s weed-infested bone yard. He inquired if anyone knew anything about the aged motorcycle; and then he was advised to speak with the local authorities. A deal was struck for the bike, and then he had it brought it back to the states in his shop for a restoration project. Right after evaluating the bike he figured out that just the engine, transmission; backside wheel, and front were usable; all of the other corroded parts were thrown away. Arlen started out with a new framework being the basis for the motorcycle, and the rest flourished from there on. The new motorcycle also sported a Sportster gas tank, customized oil tank, a signature Ness color coats, and loads of character. Wes also explained that Greasy’s motorbike “had a sissybar over it higher than the Empire State Building.”

In the early 80s, Wes acquired the motorcycle from Greasy and planned to make it a much more road worthy bike, so he go about modifying things and collecting parts to achieve that goal.

The old motor cases are standard, reinforced employing a major re-weld in proper spots to hold things intact. It sports a 61” base end connected to a 74″ top end with low-compression pistons. The refurbished engine gets gas through an older Mikuni carburetor.

The luggage bags and windshield are genuine H-D items from the 80s. Wes says these come in handy; too, as he rides this motorbike most of the time. As of this writing, the bike’s bottom end has burned 130,000 miles, and it is even now looking good.

Always wear a good head protection such as carbon fiber helmets

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