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Showcase cover image for 1951 Panhead

General Information

Year
1951
Make
Harley Davidson
Model
FL
Color
blue
Packages
Huh?
History
After always riding British bikes I had a hankering for a HD.
I bought the bike as a basket case in the late 70s with the intention of restoring. It had a peanut tank, fender wrap seat, long twisted steel girder front end, skinny front wheel with no brake, no transmission. a piece of junk.

After three years of trying to source original parts I realised I would never ride it if I continued down that path, so I built what in those days was called a resto-mod. Had it running in the early 80s and have put countless miles on it.

Now that I'm older and have had back surgery I hardly ride it anymore but can't quite bear to let it go.

Pic is me with the bike at the Drumheller airport in 1984
1951 Harley Davidson FL (blue)

Modifications

Drivetrain
Cylinders and pistons were toast. I had sleeves pressed in and the bores re sizesed to stock by a machine shop in Calgary. Nicholson Brothers, a pair of brothers that sold British bikes and parts for over 60 years, had opened a shop in Calgary at that time and the had a set of new old stock Panhead pistons, valves, rings, valve guides and a bunch of other parts. They gave them to me for a real good price. I think one of the brothers was deceased at that time but the survivor was a great guy to deal with and talk to.
The original carburetor was toast so I installed an SU. I tried riding with the hand shifter but installed a foot shifter for safety sake.
Interior
Solo seat
Exterior
Non stock fenders, seat, and pipes.
Had it painted a dark blue metalic candy by Pegasus Coachworks in Calgary. The miles were starting to show a few years ago so I dismantled and repainted it.
The primary chain lubrication on these old bikes is a total loss system, a mist of oil from the breather lubricates the chain then drops out a hole in the chaincase. I removed the chain assembly and installed a belt for a cleaner ride.
Audio
Exhaust.

Gallery

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