1939 Knucklehead in Original Paint
Norm from Indianola, Iowa, United States made available these photos of his dad's 1939 Harley EL Knucklehead motorcycle. This truly extraordinary motorbike is still very much in its original shape as it was when delivered in 1939 to the brothers Arnold and Louis Hoffman in Carrington, North Dakota. The bike is original, it is complete, and it is authentic, including the original paint which looks like still in very good condition!
Norm: "Thank you for your interest in the EL61. This is a family treasure I know for a fact that my dad would want to share it with as many people as possible, so I am very pleased that you want to show it on your website."
Well, Norm, here she is. And we are honoured to have her here!
Norm: "Here is the history. My dad, Arnold Hoffman, became a H-D "rider dealer" in North Dakota from 1939 until WWII started. To the best of my knowledge he only sold two bikes, this one ... his demonstrator, and a 1940 UHS74. The bike was owned jointly by my dad and his brother, Louis. They worked shearing sheep for a nickel a head to save up for it. A year or so after buying the bike they bought a passenger sidecar, and a utility sidecar. They took several long trips on it, and it was in regular use until 1955."
Norm: "When Dad ordered the UHS he ordered chrome wheels and swapped his for the chrome 16" front wheel, which is on the bike now. Aside from that I believe everything else to be correct original or correct replicable parts. All original paint.
Dad never threw anything away ... the crates were stored in the rafters of an old granary, an he had boxes of old H-D documents, Enthusiasts, marketing literature, etc. that he kept. Dad kept riding up to about age 70. I have his 1970 FLH that I ride. He passed away last fall at age 93."
In the year 1939 the big Black Rhino leather Deluxe Buddy Seat was an option at an extra $5.81. Note how those floorboards were extended backwards for the comfort and safety of the passenger!
Norm also has the matching passenger sidecar with windshield and cover, the original leather saddlebags, leg fairings, a full-sized motorcycle windshield and a sport motorcycle windshield. He also still has the original wooden crate that the motorcycle was shipped in in 1939.
1939 Harley Davidson Model EL Knucklehead Engine
1939 Harley Davidson Model EL Fuel Tank
1939 Harley Davidson Paperwork
As you can see from the shipping bill, extras on this Harley Knucklehead included a Deluxe Buddy Seat - Black Rhino (US$5.81), clutch and brake pedal rubbers (US$0.56), and chrome wheel rings (US$3.75). The Sport Solo windshield was $4.88.
With this 1939 letter the factory announced shipment of his Harley Davidson to Arnold Hoffman. Note the hints and tips which are still useful today!
1939 Harley Davidson Model EL Rear End