1936 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead Engine no. 36EL1180

1936 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead
Engine no. 36EL1180
• First year fully restored Knucklehead
• Nicely accessorized with rider's saddle backrest and luggage grill on the rear fender
• Leather saddlebags
• Gorgeous Sherwood Green and Silver paint with Gold pinstriping

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. Technologically, the Harleys were ahead of everyone, both in the United States and abroad. The new 61ci overhead valve became a sensational sales winner.

The success of the Harley-Davidson EL was largely due to it being a completely fresh design from the ground up and not a rehash of old trusted machines from the past. It was not a side-valve, nor an old F-head motor, but a brand new, overhead valve configuration, for the 'future.' The engine utilized a single cam with four 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 lighter chassis was all new with strong double loop frame rails and offered better handling. Up front the fork was now made from chrome molybdenum extruded tubing and was lighter than the former I-beam front forks. The oil tank was moved behind the engine, between the rear fender and the seat post, for a dry sump oiling system. The gas tanks were welded instead of being 'leak prone' soldered together. Atop the tanks set a novel and stylish instrument panel and speedometer. The same styling remains today on modern Harley-Davidson Big Twins.

Without question one of the most handsome and readily recognizable motorcycle power units of all time, the Harley-Davidson 61ci overhead-valve v-twin - known as the 'Knucklehead' after its distinctively shaped rocker boxes - arrived powering a stylish all-new motorcycle, with 37bp in 'E' form and 40hp in high-compression 'EL' form. By 1937 the Milwaukee factory quickly set about establishing the EL's performance credentials, Joe Petrali setting a new speed record of 136mph at Daytona Beach on March while Fred Ham later averaged 76mph for 24 hours at Murco Dry Lake in California.

This 61ci Knucklehead was restored in 1999 by one Paul H. Dickinson. He had bought a what he thought was a complete motorcycle 'in a basket' and found it had a 1936 motor and mid-1937 frame. Yet he did everything right. For example, he computer matched the original paint the result being this beautiful Sherwood Green with Silver. Regrettably the history file full of receipts has been lost. It is believed that the cylinders were re-bored. The bike has been dry stored for the past five years and thus will require mild re-commissioning; it was running well when put away.

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.