1938 HARLEY-DAVIDSON WLDR Engine no. 38WLDR1316 • Finished in Harley’s Teak

1938 HARLEY-DAVIDSON WLDR Engine no. 38WLDR1316 • Finished in Harley’s Teak Red • Rare aluminum cylinder heads Motorcycle racing in the early days of American racing was relegated to factory prototypes where the average rider on his homebrew competition motorcycle rarely had a chance to end up in the winner’s circle. This all changed with new rules established by the A.M.A (American Motorcycle Association), the governing body in American racing. Class C racing was basically a “ride what ya brung class, using street motorcycles for racing. Riders would have to show ownership of their machine, remove the lighting and fenders at the track, and do battle. Racing machines that were instantly recognizable to the viewing fans had a lot of impact on sales. It wasn’t long before Class C became the dominate class of motorcycle racing in America. And undoubtedly there were a lot of wolves under sheeps’ clothing in this form of competition. Both Indian and Harley-Davidson were guilty of this stretch of the rules, but their survival depended on their brands winning in front of the public. The year 1937 ushered in the new Harley-Davidson WL series of 45 cubic inch motorcycles which were aesthetically like the 61ci OHV models that debuted the year before. The 45s also benefitted from advances showcased in the Big Twins. The 45s had a redesigned motor featuring a recirculating oil system and roller bearings throughout the engine, just like the Big Twins. In 1938, the 45’s again benefitted from trickledown technology with an improved transmission like the Big Twins, with 3 speeds and a drum shifter cam. Oiling was improved with a vane-type dry sump oil pump driven off the rear cam. Harley-Davidson had fallen behind the Indian Sport Scouts in the ring of competition when Class C became prevalent but that now changed with the newest 45 cubic inch roadsters....or racers. The WLDR which was offered beginning of 1937 started to level the playing field. By 1938, the WLDR became a potent racer, available right out of the Harley-Davidson catalog. Unknown competitor, Ben Campanale battled it out at Daytona that year against Indian’s Lester Hillbish and won. He won again in 1939 becoming the first two-time winner of Daytona. The 1938 Harley-Davidson WLDR being offered was restored by Dale Walksler of Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. The machine is finished in Harley’s Teak Red, highlighted with a black stripe bordered with gold pin striping. Many rare parts were used in this authentic restoration of the WLDR. Perhaps containing some factory experimental parts that left the factory, but this engine possesses special enlarged intake ports into the cylinders and rare aluminum cylinder heads. It’s a motorcycle that looks fast just setting there, or the new owner could put it back on the road and hunt for Indians.