William S. Harley & Arthur Davidson

William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson dreamed of manufacturing a
motorized bicycle. This dream would be realized with the help of
Walter and William Davidson. Their efforts were the beginning of
a motorcycle legacy.

 1901 - In Milwaukee, William Harley, 21, and Arthur Davidson, 20,
        began experiments on "taking the work out of bicycling." They
        were soon joined by Arthur's brothers, Walter and William.

 1902 - The 1902 prototype was a 10.2ci, (167cc), single with 2.125" X
        2.875" bore and stroke with a 5" flywheel. [It would blow your
        hat off in a good breeze plus the almost 25mph it could attain.]

 1903 - The company Harley-Davidson was founded. Many changes were made
        to the engine design before its builders were satisfied. After
        the new looped frame was finalized, they were ready to begin

 1903 - The first Harley-Davidson motorcycle is manufactured: a 25 cubic
        inch (410cc) atmospheric-inlet-valve single-cylinder. Only 3 Harley-
        Davidson motorcycles were made in 1903.

 1904 - Production began in a shed behind the Davidson family home. The
 1905   machine was a 30 cubic inch (494cc) single which was later nicknamed:
        The "Silent Grey Fellow" nickname coincides with the new standard grey

 1906 - Harley-Davidson erected its first building at the current Juneau Avenue
        site in 1906. Catalogs are produced to advertise the new Silent Gray

 1907 - Harley-Davidson incorporated in 1907. A prototype V-twin
        motorcycle was built. Although only 150 motorcycles were made this
        year, 1907 saw the first Harley-Davidson® sold for police duty.

 1909 - The trademark 45 degree V-Twin engine, introduced in 1909,
        displaced 49.5 cu in and produced seven horsepower. Top speed: 60 mph.
        1909 production was truly massive compared to previous years (almost 8
        times the 1907 production rate) at 1,149 motorcycles.

 1912 - First clutch mechanism.

 1913 - The original 28' x 80' factory had grown to 297,110 square
        feet. Harley-Davidson began to dominate racing events. 1913
        production: 12,904 motorcycles.

 1914 - Stepstarter and internal expanding rear brake.

 1915 - Three speed transmission.

 1916 - The first issue of "The Enthusiast" publication.

 1916 - 1917 - 1918 - After Harley-Davidson motorcycles had proven
        their military value in border skirmishes with Pancho Villa,
        they were quickly called to duty when the U.S. entered WWI.
        Some 20,000 cycles would see duty before the war's end.

 1920 - Harley-Davidson became the largest motorcycle manufacturer in
        the world, boasting dealers in 67 countries. Harley-Davidson
        motorcycle development was evolutionary rather than revolutionary with
        side-valve machines replacing inlet-over-exhaust designs in the late
        1920s. 1920 production: 28,189 motorcycles.

 1921 - In February 1921, on a Fresno, CA., board track, a
        Harley-Davidson became the first motorcycle ever to win a race with an
        average speed over 100 mph.

 1922 - 74" Twin engine debuts.

 1925 - The debut of the teardrop gas tank.

 1928 - Front wheel brakes were introduced dramatically improving the
        safety and handling of Harley-Davidson's cycles.

 1929 - After the stock market crash of October 1929, Harley-Davidson
        sales suffered with everyone else's in the industry. This year saw the
        introduction of the first 45 ci (750cc) side-valve V-twins, the "D"
        series. These used the same frame as the singles, which was made
        possible by mounting the generator perpendicular to the engine. Early
        Forty-fives lacked the power of their competition, the Indian Scout.

 1932 - The 45ci Servicar model was introduced. Cost $450

 1933 - The depression hit Harley-Davidson very hard. By 1933,
        production in Milwaukee had dropped to 3,700 vehicles.

 1936 - Harley-Davidson wasted no time building momentum out of the
        depression, introducing its EL model, featuring the 61 ci (1000cc)
        overhead valve engine, also known as the "Knucklehead." This engine,
        termed the "61 OHV" in factory literature and called the Sixty-one in
        every day circles was a mid-season 1936 model. This, in the opinion of
        many, is the motorcycle that saved Harley-Davidson. At that time, for
        the first time, a major American motorcycle company was building a big
        motorcycle with overhead valves (this coming shortly after the major
        engineering difficulties of the 1929 Forty-five and the 1930
        Seventy-four. Also introduced this year was the 80ci side valve twin
        engine. Despite the specter of the depression Harley-Davidson produced
        almost 10000 motorcycles in 1936.

 1937 - William A. Davidson dies.

 1941 - Almost immediately after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor,
        Harley-Davidson's entire motorcycle output was produced for Allied
        use. By the end of World War II, 90,000 WLA army-version motorcycles
        had been built and shipped.

 1942 - Walter Davidson dies at age 65.

 1943 - Bill Harley dies at age 66.

 1947 - 74" OHV Big Twin engine.

 1948 - Harley-Davidson introduced a new 74 cu in. engine with hydraulic valve
        lifters and aluminum heads. The "Panhead" was born. 1948 production:
        31,163 motorcycles.

 1949 - The Hydra-Glide debuts.

 1950 - Arthur Davidson dies at age 69.

 1953 - Harley-Davidson celebrates its 50th anniversary while its
        oldest and closest competitor, Indian, went out of business, leaving
        Harley-Davidson as the sole survivor in a once overcrowded American
        motorcycle marketplace. Harley-Davidson expanded its line to include
        two-stroke engines and even a scooter. 1953 production: 14,050

 1957 - XLH Sportster debuts.

 1958 - The Duo Glide (based on the earlier Hydra-Glide model) was
        introduced, featuring a hydraulic rear shock suspension to go with the
        hydraulically dampened front fork. Also in 1958, Carroll Resweber won
        the first of four consecutive AMA Grand National Championships.

 1959 - XLCH Sportster.

 1960 - The "Topper," a fiberglass motor scooter, was introduced.
        Harley-Davidson teams up with Italian manufacturer Aeronautica Macchi
        S.P.A. to produce a line of smaller bikes including the Shortster and
        Sprint models. Italian-built lightweights were sold in America under
        the Harley-Davidson name. The Topper featured a pull-cord starting
        mechanism much like that of a lawn-mower.

 1963 - Willie G. Davidson joins Harley-Davidson as design director.

 1965 - George Roeder set a world land speed record of 177.225 mph for
        250CC motorcycles on a modified Harley-Davidson Sprint. Bart Markel,
        aboard a Harley, won the second of his three AMA Grand National
        Championships. With the addition of an electric starter, the Duo Glide
        became the Electra Glide in 1965, which was also the last year of the
        "Panhead" engine. Harley-Davidson became a publicly-held company when
        it issued stock in 1965.

 1966 - The introduction of the "shovel head" engine. Production:
        36,310 motorcycles.

 1967 - Electric start Sportster.

 1969 - Merger with American Machine and Foundry Company (AMF).

 1971 - FX 1200 Super Glide, considered the first true factory custom.
        Joe Smith, riding a drag bike powered by a single Harley-Davidson
        motor, was the first to break the nine-second barrier in motorcycle
        drag racing.

 1972 - 1000 cc XLH/XLCH Sportster. First disc brakes on a Harley.

 1974/75 - Chassis manufacturing and final assembly operations moves
           to a plant in York, Pa. Engine and transmission operations remained
           in Milwaukee, along with the corporate headquarters. 1975 production:
           75,403 motorcycles.

 1976/78 - Continuing the Harley-Davidson tradition of racing
           dominance, Jay "Springer" Springsteen won the AMA Grand National
           Championship in 1976, 1977 and 1978.

 1977 - FXS 1200 Low Rider and FLHS.

 1978 - In 1978 Harley-Davidson sold the Italian operation (the old
        Aermacchi company) and the sales of Italian motorcycles with the
        Harley-Davidson name was halted.

 1978 - 75th Anniversary models debuts.

 1978 - FLH 80 Electra-Glide debuts.

 1978 - First electronic ignition on a Harley.

 1979 - FXS 80 Low Rider debuts.

 1980 - The 80 cu in FLT Tour Glide, with five-speed transmission,
        oil bath enclosed rear chain and a rubber-mounted engine (the
        predecessor to today's Harley-Davidson touring motorcycles) was

 1981 - Senior executives at Harley-Davidson purchase the company from
        AMF. Harley-Davidson once again becomes a privately owned company.
        With improved manufacturing and quality process, many of the old flaws
        of the HD design were resolved. A new image was forming.

 1983 - President Reagan imposes additional tariffs on all Japanese
        motorcycles 700 cc or larger.

 1983 - The Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) is established.

 1984 - The Introduction of the "Evolution" engine debuts. The first
        Softail models and Air Assisted Anti-Drive.

 1986 - By offering common stock and subordinated notes,
        Harley-Davidson once again becomes a publicly owned corporation.

 1987 - In an unprecedented move, Harley-Davidson petitions the ITC
        for early termination of the five year tariff imposed in 1983.

 1988 - Patented "Springer" front-end returns.

 1989 - Spartanburg, SC Chapter # 4813 is Chartered!

 1990 - Dyna model is introduced.

 1991 - All Harleys change to five speed transmission.

 1992 - All Harleys adopt a belt drive.

 1993 - "90th Anniversary" homecoming.

 1995 - First fuel injection models.

 1998 - Harley-Davidson's "95th anniversary" homecoming.

 1999 - New Twin Cam 88 cu. in. motor introduced.

 2000 - New Twin Cam 88B with internal counterbalancers introduced.
        The Softail Duece makes its debut. New stiffer softail frame


                      H-D Motorcycle Timeline

                         By Bruce Bryner

[1903 -1929 *The F-Head]
1903 ----------- First Single (25?, 1906-27?, 1909-30?, 1929-30.5?)
1909 ----------- First V-Twin - 50?
1912 - 1921 ---61? E, F, J
1919 - 1923 ---37? Horizontal W Sport Twin
1920 - 1929 ---74? JD (1930-36 = V, 1937-48 = U)
1926 - 1935 ---21? A, B & OHV AA, BB

[1930 - 1974 *The Flathead engine]
1932 - 1937 ---45? R
1932 - 1974 ---Servicar
1935 - 1937 ---80? VL

[1936 ? 1947 *The Knucklehead engine]
1936 - 1952 ---61? OHV EL
1937 - 1942 ---80? UL
1937 - 1951 ---45? WL
1941 - 1947 ---74? FL
1942 - 1945 ---45? WLA Army, XA 750cc Army

[1948 - 1965 *The Panhead engine]
1948 ---------74? FL Pan
1949 - 1957 74? Hydra Glide
1952 ---------45? K
1954 ---------55? KH
1957 - 1971 55? XL Sportster
1958 - 1963 FL Duo Glide
1965 - 1970 FL Electra Glide

[1966 ? 1984 *The Shovelhead Engine]
1970 - 1971 - XR750 (1972-80 = Aluminum, 1981- ? engines only)
1971 - 1980 - FLH1200
1971 - 1972 - FX1200 Super Glide
1972 - 1976 - XLH, XLCH 1000cc
1972 --------- Shortster
1974 - 1980 - FXE 1200
1977 -----------FLHS
1977 - 1979 - XLT
1977 - 1978 - XLCR, FXS Low Rider
1978 ----------FLH80
1979 ----------FLH80 Classic, FXS 80, FXEF1200, Fat Bob
1980 ----------FXWG Wide Glide
1980 - 1982 - FLT Tour Glide, FLHS, XLS, FXEF80, FXB Sturgis
1981 - 1986 - FLT Classic
1982 - 1985 - XLS Roadster
1982 ----------XLHA, XLSA
1982 - 1983 -FXR, FXRS Super Glide II, FXSB Belt, FXRT Tour Glide
1983 ----------FXDG Disc Glide
1983 - on-----FLHT, FLHTC

[1984 ? present *The Evolution Engine] (First years)
1984 ----------FXST
1984 ----------FXRDG ? only year
1986 ----------FXR ? re-introduced, FLST Heritage Softail
1987 ----------FXLR Low Rider Custom
1988 ----------FXSTS Springer Softail
1990 ----------FLSTF Fat Boy
1991 ----------FXDB Dyna Glide Sturgis
1992 ----------FXDB Daytona Dyna Glide ? only year
1992 ----------FXDC Super Glide Dyna Custom
1993 ----------FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide, FXDL Dyna Low Rider
1995 ----------FXSTSB Bad Boy, FLHR Road King


                       Year 2000 H-D Models

Dyna Glide:

FXD Dyna Super Glide
FXDL Dyna Low Rider
FXDS-CONV Dyna Convertible
FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide
FXDX Dyna Super Glide Sport


FLSTC Heritage Softail Classic
FLSTS Heritage Springer
FXST Softail Standard
FXSTB Night Train
FXSTD Softail Deuce New Model
FXSTS Springer Softail


XL 883C Sportster 883 Custom
XLH Sportster 883
XLH Sportster 883 Hugger
XL 1200C Sportster 1200 Custom
XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport
XLH Sportster 1200


FLHR/FLHRI Road King Fuel injection option
FLHRCI Road King Classic
FLHT Electra Glide Standard
FLHTC/FLHTCI Electra Glide Classic
FLHTCUI Ultra Classic Electra Glide


                The Harley-Davidson Alphabet
                   by Clement Salvadori

        (from American Rider, January-February 1995)

A great many people over the years have become suitably confused by
Harley-Davidson's model designations. And rightfully so. The
alpha-designations merely exist, the letters seemingly drawn out of
thin air.

Today, even though we have only two basic engine designs to deal with,
the Sportster X and big twin F, the number of letters for one model
would do credit to a bowl of soup. For example, the 1995 model line
included the FLHTCI and the FXSTSB - mouthfuls both.

Let us analyze these. First, the FLHTCI bagger. The F stands for the
medium compression 74-inch OHV engine introduced in 1941; the L stood
for the slightly more powerful "Special Sport Solo" version. The H was
tacked on in 1955, indicating the "Super Sport Solo." In 1978 the
80-inch engine was introduced as an option, and by 1981 the F model
designation meant an 80-incher. The T was added in 1983 to indicate
that this was a touring machine with bags and batwing fairing, and the
C also came in that year to show that this model had "classic" looks
and a higher price tag. The I is the first use of that letter, and is
alphabetical proof that this model is fuel-injected rather than

Got all that?

Now the FXSTSB. The F has been demonstrated. The X shows that this big
twin had the lighter, Sportster-type front end inaugurated in 1971.
The ST (in this case those letters have to stand together) stands for
the Softail chassis design, introduced in 1984. The second S is the
Springer front end, intro-Ed in 1988. The B is for the new 1995 model,
the Bad Boy.

Confused? And rightfully so. While all these letters might not make
much sense to the average Harley enthusiast, they help a lot in the
parts department - especially when prefaced by a year, such as an 1984

Often the first alpha-designation a Harley enthusiast interested in
Harley history hears is about someone's JD model, indicating the
74-inch V-twin introduced in 1921, but the lettering goes back long
before that.

Up to 1908, there was only one Harley model per year, a battery-fired
single cylinder, so any further designation than the year was
superfluous: i.e., an 1907 Harley. But in 1909, the factory offered
four singles, with either 26- or 28-inch wheels (wheels were measured
from the outer edge of the tire back then), and either battery or
magneto ignition. These were referred to as the Model 5 (fifth year of
production, which, for Harley-Davidson purposes, began in 1904) with
battery and 28s, the Model 5-A with mag and 28s, 5-B with battery and
26s and 5-C, mag/26. The abortive twin was called the 5-D.

In 1910, the single-cylinder racer was called the 6-E. In 1912, things
got real complicated with both chain and belt drive being offered, and
a clutching mechanism designated by an X; all wheels were the 28-inch
variety. The basic single was the Model 8, the mag-fired twin with
"freewheel control" and chain drive was called the Model X-8-E.

In 1914, we see the first use of the F letter, a 61-inch magneto twin
with two-speed gearbox. In 1915, the J model appeared, the twin with
three-speed transmission and battery ignition. That was also the year
of the first K model, a racing twin.

In 1916, the year designation was changed from year of production to
calendar year, so it was not 12-F, but 16-F. Eight models were
available that year: the F, J, E, R and T twins, and C, B and S
singles. Already Harley was complicating things, as the E of 1910 was
a racing single, while the E of 1916 was a one-speed twin.

The heck with this; let us start with the alphabet and go right
through to see how many letters have been used, and how many times.
When you see a /, that means the letter(s) was secondary (FL),
tertiary (FLH), etc. To try to keep this under control, I will start
with the models that were in the 1920 line, and ignore what went on
before that date.

A (1926): SV/OHV 21-inch single (magneto ignition)
A (1960): TS (two stroke) 165CC Topper scooter
B (1926): SV/OHV 21-inch single
B (1955): TS 165CC single
/B: Belt-drive Sturgis model (ex. 1982 FXB)
C (1920): i.o.e. 35-inch single, special order
C (1930): SV/OHV 30.5-inch single
/C: Custom, Classic or Caf
/CH: Magneto Sportster (ex. 1958 XLCH)
D (1929): SV 45-inch twin
/D: 74-inch engine (ex. 1921 JD)
/D: Extra power (ex. 1930 DLD)
/D: Dyna Glide frame (ex. 1991 FXDB)
/DG: Disc Glide (ex. 1983 FXDG)
E (1936): OHV 61-inch twin
/E: Electric starting (ex. 1964 GE, 1974 FXE)
/E: Police engine (ex. 1953 FLE)
F (1920): i.o.e. 61-inch magneto ignition (dating from 1914)
F (1941): OHV 74-inch twin
/F: Battery ignition flat twin (ex. 1921 WF)
/F: Footshift (ex. 1952 FLF)
G (1933): SV 45-inch Servi-Car
/H: Larger engine (ex. 1936 80-inch VHL, 1955 55-inch KH)
/H: More powerful engine (ex. 1955 FLH)
I: Fuel injection (ex. 1995 FLHTCI)
J (1920): i.o.e. 61-inch twin (dating from 1915)
/J: Magneto ignition flat twin (ex. 1921 WJ)
/K: More powerful K model (ex. 1955 K11K)
L (1920): Single-passenger sidecar (dating from 1915)
/L: Higher compression engine (ex. 1936 EL)
M (1920): Commercial sidecar (dating from 1915)
M (1965): TS 50CC single, Aermacchi
/N: Newspaper delivery sidecar (ex. 1929 MN)
/N: Nostalgia (ex. 1993 FLSTN)
/O: Open-body commercial sidecar (ex. 1926 MO)
/P: Police model
Q (1920): Two-passenger sidecar chassis (dating from 1918)
R (1932): SV 45-inch twin
/R: Rubber-mount FX model (ex. 1982 FXR Super Glide)
/R: Pseudo-racing model (ex. 1983 XR-1000)
/R: Racing model (ex. 1952 KR)
S (1926): OHV 21-inch, for racing purposes
S (1948): TS 125 single
/S: Sport (ex. 1978 FXS and XLS)
/S: Sidecar use (ex. 1936 ES)
T (1921): Twin-cylinder racer
/T: TS 165 single (ex. 1953 ST)
/T: Touring (ex. 1977 XLT, 1980)
U (1937): SV 74-inch twin
V (1930): SV 74-inch twin
V (1994): DOHC 61-inch twin, for Superbike racing
W (1920): SV 36-inch flat twin (dating from 1919)
W (1937): SV 45-inch twin
/WG: Wide Glide (ex. 1980 FXWG)
X (1957): OHV 55-inch twin (usually used with L; i.e. XL)
Y: Only letter never used
Z (1973): TS 90CC single, Aermacchi

All the learned readers can now berate me for my inaccuracies and
omissions, such as racing models, sidecars, package trucks, etc.

I also left out most of the Aermacchi model designations, or this
would have been far more complicated than necessary. Nor did I include
all alphabets in all models; there are just too many.


 I hope you have enjoyed reading this, as much as I have enjoyed
researching the legacy of Harley Davidson. My research was taken from
many sources on and off the Internet. I would like to thank Bruce
Bryner for his generosity in contributing: HD Motorcycle Timeline. If
there are any mistakes, please E-mail me so they can be corrected. I
make no claims to being an expert on the subject of H-D. My expertise
are in knowing a good ride when I ride one.

Thank you, GG ~ The WebWench

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