1937 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead Engine no. 37EL1094

The story of the debut of the legendary Knucklehead includes gunshots, friendly ones at least. During the 1935 Harley-Davidson Dealer’s Convention an unnamed pistol-packing dealer, obviously impressed by the new offering from Milwaukee, fired the celebratory shots into the ceiling. He was looking at the motorcycle that would rescue The Motor Co. from the bleak days of the Great Depression, its new overhead-valve design also meeting the threat from long-time rival Indian. Here was a “musclebike”… 61 cubic inches pumping out 40 HPO…with looks to match that could open a whole new chapter in the story of the Milwaukee Marvel.

In addition to being a winner in the looks and sales departments, the EL was also one of the best performing bikes of the day. In March 1937, Harley trumpeted Joe Petrali’s new speed record clocked at Daytona Beach. At a speed of 136 miles per hour, the record bested even Indian’s claim to top speed fame. The Knucklehead was on a roll, one that hasn’t slowed even now as it’s one of the most sought after Harleys

This 1937 example, one of only 1829 produced that year, sports some tasteful personal touches including the hand-painted Harley-Davidson emblem on the gas tank rather than a decal, and a small fortune in additional chrome. What it’s feel like to ride this bike…priceless.