Tag Archives: amf harley davidson

1966 Harley Davidson Shovelhead

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 7.47.25 AMA long time ago my local Yamaha dealer opened up a Harley dealership on the same property. Eventually they dropped Yamaha because Harley Davidson was more profitable. Duh. And this was in the AMF years!!, go figure. Anyway, In the Harley shop one of the t-shirts they sold said “God rides a Harley”, in the Yamaha shop they were selling a shirt that said “If God rides a Harley, God rides slow”. It was funny and even the Harley guys got a kick out of it.
There are times that riding a cool old motorcycle goin’ slow is way cooler than riding a sport bike at warp speed. And, actually more fun. Take in the scenery, the vibe of the motor and simply not caring where you’re going or how fast. To paraphrase Billy Crystal on SNL, “It’s not how you feel…it’s how you look”Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 8.03.10 AM
I found a very cool ’66 Shovelhead on ebay this morning that, well, would be just perfect for the casual Sunday morning breakfast ride…1 Bloddy Mary limit!
A little history on the Shovelhead, it’s the valve cover. Looks like a coal shovel turned upside down. ’66 was the first year for the model. Yes, it did have a few mods, mainly The Power Pac (new Heads) which added about 10HP, but basically still the good old Panhead motor, so because of the new heads needed a new rocker box…the Shovelhead. There is a lot of good history regarding this model, it lasted until into the mid 1980’s when the EVO motor showed up.
The bike I found today started life as a ’66 but now is far from it. Often I find classic motorcycles that have been modified and with really no benefit, but this is the exception! Electrics have been upgraded, brakes, suspension…good stuff. But, the buyer is going to have to do a bit of work to bring it back to being a runner, not much work but some. It will be worth it. This motorcycle has a very high ‘cool factor’. Flat black engine, flat Army green bodywork, tractor saddle…but with modern brakes and electrics. I love it!
This is a bike that when you show up at your local Sunday breakfast stop, nobody will not notice it and better than that, you’ll have a great time riding there. Slow.
click on the pics below for a lot more info (and there is a lot)and more pictures.

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Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 7.28.51 AM1966 Harley Davidson Shovelhead

1970 Harley Davidson SX models

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 8.17.12 AMOver the years Harley Davidson, “The Motor Company”, has done everything they can to increase their market share around the world. They have had Aermacchi (HD bought 50% of the company in 1960) of Italy build bikes for them (the Baja 100 comes to mind as well as the Sprint 350 (also known as the “Spaghetti Hoglet”…of which I still lust after). The V-Rod, a collaboration of Harley Davidson and Porsche, but none of them have created the sales of the basic Harley Davidson motorcycle.
But, the odd-ball Harley’s were really cool. Light, unique, fun…I mean really, in the ’60’s and early 70’s what more could you ask for? Harley had fun advertising, the bikes were great, but…?
Harley was really reaching out to young adults, women, African Americans, Latino’s…it was all part of an “Outreach” Program. Sales just weren’t there.Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 8.16.33 AM
This morning I found a couple of SX two stroke models on ebay that if you have the time, some money and more importantly the patience….these could be fun bikes to have. Yes they have what is politely known as ‘patina’…rust, they need all kinds of love but I’ll tell you what, I have seen and bought bikes for more $$$ than these two.
These two bikes could maybe be made into one really cool little cafe racer? or just fixed up for a daily ‘around town’ bike, a Sunday go to meetin’ bike? All I know is that I found them kinda cool.
Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 7.52.34 AMFor those of you (us) that are a little on the motorcycle nerdy side, you have a lot of spare time, have a weird sense of humor and want to leave them in your best friends driveway (behind his wifes Mercedes) or think that AMF (American Machine and Foundry…aka Adios Mother Fu*&^R) was the best thing that ever happened to The Motor Company, which goes back to leaving them in your friends driveway, these are the bikes for you. You know, the more I think about it, all of us that have collected (bought after having one too many Mai Tai) have spent more and gotten less. These could be fun.
Click on pics below for a few more and very little bit of info.

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Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 1.58.29 PM1970 Harley Davidson SX models

1967 Harley Davidson Sportster

If you’re not picturing Elvis and Ann Margaret on this bike you’re too young to buy it, go to another website. Unless, if your parents have brought you up properly, you can stay.Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 7.43.49 AM

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 7.39.16 AMI love Sportsters. I love the free revving, the quick throttle…Sportsters are just plain fun. Thats what they were designed to be in 1957. Think about it, the Sportster has been around for nearly 70 years. It has evolved but at its heart, a Sporty is still a Sportster. My daily ride is a Sportster powered Buell…I love it! Well, the electrics kind of suck but a couple thousand dollars later and…nevermind, I love the motor.

Over the decades Harley Davidson has tried everything to increase their market…Italian singles (I still want a Sprint 350…what a great Cafe Racer platform!), off-road two strokes (I really did love the Baja 100…what a blast to ride!!), the little Hummer two stroke (post world war two) and the partnership with Porsche for the V-Rod. But, the basic design, the feel and the ride since God was a child (no blasphemy here…) is what makes a Harley Davidson a Harley Davidson. They know their market.Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 7.39.32 AM

I found a super cool Sportster on ebay this morning. It needs some love but not much I hope. It’s a runner, looks great and would be a great ‘Sunday Go to Meetin’ ride. Honestly, this is just a very cool bike…I love LOVE the white seat!!!

Click on the pics below for a bit more info and the pics. Oh, and yeah I know the picture of Ann and Elvis aren’t on a Harley but you really can picture can’t you?

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Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 7.52.51 AM1967 Harley Davidson Sportster

1977 Harley Davidson XLCR

Picture 9It’s that time of year that I start searching for, working on and writing about ‘winter projects’. Here in Southern California winter is all about having to switch from shorts to long pants and maybe a long sleeve t-shirt. OK…I said that just to make all of you that live in colder climates a bit jealous but the truth is, it does get cold here for us motorcyclists and though we may not have heated basements to build bikes in, my journalistic hero Peter Egan has the best, but we do have to warm up the garage at night to work on bikes.

It’s no secret that I love the Harley Davidson XLCR, it really is one of the few Harley’s that I really do lust after…note here…Santa (wife) are you listening??? The XLCR was not one of ‘The Motor Company’s’ shining moments, at the time, but it has become quite a cult classic. XLCR models in beautiful condition are selling for upwards of five times their original selling price!!! Honestly, Harley dealers were selling them at ‘fire sale’ prices two years after they quit making them. A little less than 2000 of the CR models were made and as I have said before they went over like a fart in church. It’s too bad to because a number of the features that went into XLCR ended up helping make the standard Sportster a much better motorcycle.Picture 13

Willie G. Davidson penned this bike from the ground up. He went after the BMW R90S and the Ducati SS. The XLCR was the quickest and fastest of the Sportsters. THe CR was 5hp up on the basic Sporty, it was under 500LB’s (which the BMW was not) and had a top speed over somewhere a bit north 110mph (which in itself was really not that big a deal at that time). Willie G. pulled some of the chassis design straight off Harley’s own flat track dominating XR750. But, to the faithful, it was not a real Harley. Yes, there were the AMF quality issues with the bike but all told, the XLCR was a good bike. Harley tried the Sportbike market again decades later with Buell but again pulled the plug. Harley knows their market.

Back to winter projects, I found an XLCR on ebay this morning, that if you’re brave enough, will be a great winter project. It’s pretty rough, it’s not a basket case but, it is rough. This is a bike that is going to need a lot of love and elbow grease. The seller is very honest about what has and hasn’t been done to/for the bike, what parts he has, the condition of said parts and what he wants to keep off the bike for his collection and what goes with it. Some of the stuff is good, some is questionable but all in all if you want a good winter project, this is pretty good choice. The bike is a runner so that in itself gives you a good starting point. With this XLCR you have a really have an easy choice to make…clean it all up (but leave it a little ratty), piece it back together and ride it. Or…go the full restoration route and invest a whole lot of money, that you will never get back if you want to sell it, and it will be a really cool motorcycle for a collection. And with a little work, it could end looking like this one…
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Click on the pics below for a lot more info and more pictures.

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1977 Harley Davidson XLCR

1976 Harley Davidson Sportster

Picture 91976 was a really tough time for ‘The Motor Company’, they had been bought up by AMF and quality control was pretty low on the priority list…bowling balls and pool tables were more important than motorcycles. I’m guessing that American Manufacturing and Foundry Company needed a tax write off? Everybody has heard this story many times so we won’t beat a dead horse here.

To be fair here though, many think that it was AMF that actually saved Harley Davidson from fading away as Indian did. Well, Indian didn’t ‘fade’, it limped. AMF Harley’s did have reliability problems but I think part of that was that AMF was trying to modernize the production process and as we all know, major changes don’t always come that easy.

In my humble opinion, the Sportster motor has always been Harley’s best. The BIG twins have the allure but the Sporty has Spunk! The Sportster was built to compete with the British twins and it did an ‘admirable’ job. It didn’t have the handling prowess of the brits but in a straight line…The Sportster was king. Americans loved drag racing and the Harley fit perfectly.Picture 10

I found a really nice ’76 today on ebay that I think would be great just as it is or build it out. It is stock condition, even still has the gas tank sticker!? It has been completely serviced by the dealer and is ready to ride…push the button and ride off into the sunset…or the sunrise, whichever way you want to go. This is a really nice Ironhead Sportster that will give you a lot of miles of smiles. Just take good care of it.

Click on the pics below for more info and more pictures.

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Picture 141976 Harley Davidson Sportster

One last parting comment about the AMF years. As I said earlier, AMF was a bowling alley company, here’s proof. And thank goodness Willie G and a few friends bought the company back.
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