’62 Harley Davidson Pacer
You know, Harley Davidson is a lot more than just big chrome behemoths rolling down the road and the legendary history contains a lot more than just Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper crossing the country with a gas tank full of drug money or Evil Knievel jumping over the fountain at Ceasers Palace in Las Vegas. The history also is full of clean cut kids riding little two strokes to school.
After the war (WW2), Harley was doing their best to try and get returning soldiers onto Harley Davidson motorcycles and there was no better way than to give them lightweight, fun and inexpensive bikes. Build some brand loyalty and their next bike will be one of the BIG Harley’s. Harley bought a simple two stroke engine design from DKW in Germany, adapted it to their style of bike and started building baby Harley’s.
The baby Harley’s started out 125cc, then to 165 cc then onto the 175 which is what the Pacer is. When most people think of the small Harley’s, they think of the Hummer, which we have written about here a few times…it’s an interesting story that, no, I’m not going to write about again here, lucky you. Overall the little Harley’s didn’t sell all that well across the country in spite of all of Harley Davidson’s marketing, yet today, they are a much sought after little motorcycle.
In 1962 Harley upped the ‘Super 10’ which was 165cc, to 175cc and gave it a new name, the Pacer. Side note here, the Pacer only lasted I think, three years?? A couple of decades later AMC (American Motor Corp…formerly known as Rambler) built a car with the same name. It too was short lived. Note to car and motorcycle makers…if you want a model to last, don’t call it a Pacer. But, I digress…
When the Pacer came out in 1962 it was a rigid frame bike with springs on the seat. In 1963 they changed the rear end by including a rear shock system under the motor, which they still use a version of to this day…Harley certainly uses its history don’t they. The Pacer also incorporates the ‘Teleglide’ front suspension, a definite upgrade for the little Harley’s.
I found a really nice little Pacer on ebay today that has been sitting in this guys living room for the past few years. I am a follower of the ‘Ride Them, Don’t Hide Them’ religion so I think this little baby blue baby Harley needs to find a life cruising the campus. It’s in great condition, looks like a very fun little ride and doesn’t have all that many miles on it. Picture yourself showing up at the local biker (Harley) hangout on this little 175cc 2 stroke and proudly parking it amongst all the Dyna Glides, Electra Glides, Fat Boys (the bikes, not the riders), Low Riders, Sportsters, and knowing that you belong there. In some more than many of the others but that’s another story.
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