1936 HARLEY-DAVIDSON EL KNUCKLEHEAD Engine no. 36EL2391 • Finished in a uni

1936 HARLEY-DAVIDSON EL KNUCKLEHEAD Engine no. 36EL2391 • Finished in a unique and striking color combination Leading into the 1936 model year at the Harley-Davidson factory, the new 61 OHV project was having teething issues and potentially could have been cancelled. What they were not aware of at the time was the new motorcycle was poised to reshape the motorcycle industry. Stylistically, the new design was modern and aggressive in appearance. While Indian was marketing some very gorgeous motorcycles thanks to their streamlined tanks and fenders, and DuPont paint color schemes, the Harley-Davidsons just looked right from a motorcyclist’s point of view. Technologically, the Harley-Davidsons were ahead of everyone in the motorcycle industry, both in the United States and abroad. The new 61 OHV became a sensational sales success once in the riders’ hands. The success of the Harley-Davidson EL was largely due to being a completely fresh design from the ground up and not a rehash of old trusted machines from the past. It was not a sidevalve, nor an old F-head motor, but a brand new overhead valve configuration, for the modern times ahead. The engine utilized a single cam with 4 lobes that ran quieter, reduced backlash and allowed for better valve timing. The transmission was brand new with a 4-speed constant mesh cluster instead of sliding gears on a shaft as used by the “other American manufacturer, and worked through a new clutch design. The chassis was all new as well with strong double loop frame rails that were lighter and enabled the motorcycle to handle better. Up front the fork was now made from chrome molybdenum extruded tubing which looked better and was lighter than the former I-beam front forks. The oil tank now moved behind the engine, between the rear fender and the seat post, for a dry sump oiling system. The gas tanks were now welded instead of being soldered together which were prone to leaking. Atop the tanks set a novel and stylish instrument panel and speedometer, and idea ahead of the competitors. The same styling remains today on modern Harley-Davidson Big Twins. This 1936 Harley-Davidson EL was built as a personal motorcycle by Dale Walksler of Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Being a motorcycle for himself, he utilized many NOS factory parts from his personal inventory in the restoration. The restoration began with a semi-complete early issue 1936 Harley-Davidson EL from the Charlie Allen collection. As an early production motor case, it has a small 5/16 inch threaded timing plug and the boss has no humps above the number. This case also features a late production number contrary to the early case, however it was most likely one of Harley’s “hold back engines. The front end and handlebars came from the former mechanic in Memphis for Elvis Presley. As an early motor, the bike possesses correct short rib 1936 heads and 4-fin cylinders. With no shortage of the use of NOS factory parts, the restoration included the correct air filter screwed to the Linkert and OEM 1936 Goodyear tires, an early 1936 flat top oil tank, dash panel and speedometer, and the open beaded seat. The 1936-only front brake and the original small rear brake was added. All the sheet metal on this restoration is original. Color selection came from a special source. The Harley-Davidson factory used to have a Rolodex of all the factory color chips, hanging on the wall. This Rolodex was to be discarded so one of the workers retrieved and saved it for history. Walksler, now owns and used this Rolodex, selecting a special black and gold paint scheme that he really liked for his motorcycle. The look is outstanding with the black cylinders and complementing black on the fenders and chain guards.