This was supposed to be a 2012 New Year’s Resolution post, all about looking forward to riding more, drinking less, being helpful to fellow mankind, all that altruistic looking forward type of stuff. I’ll be honest. After how 2011 closed down for me, it’s hard to muster any sort of goodwill and cheer. I lost my father to cancer in the darkest days of December, and I still haven’t come to terms with what that means in the long haul. I miss him, and yet it hasn’t sunk in that he’s gone.

While back at my mother’s house, my childhood home, we were going through some old photos my mom had been given by her mother and her aunt. In this age where everything is digital, like images, we sometimes forget where certain terms in our language came from, for example “thumbing through old photos.” There we were, putting our thumbs on the corners of these little pieces of history, many of which I had never laid my eyes on before. One photo stood out, of my grandfather on an old vintage motorcycle. I wish I knew more about him, his motorcycling habits. You see, my mother never knew him. He died in Europe in World War II before my mother was born. Pretty common back then. He was in a bomber, shot down behind enemy lines, and was later buried in a military cemetery in Belgium. My mother only knew of him what my aunt (his sister) told her: he was a free spirit who liked to ski and ride motorcycles, and I think that’s why my mother’s aunt always had a soft spot for me.

So as I look at the photo below, I have no idea what year or make and model my grandfather’s bike was. From casual online research, people tell me it’s likely a late 1930s Harley Davidson. I also heard a story that at one time he had an Indian, but it must have been a different bike. All I know as I look at this photo and try to make out the details, my grandfather was ready for adventure. The boxes on the back sort of give it away.

Photo circa 1939 of my Grandfather on a vintage motorcycle.

Photo circa 1939 of my Grandfather on a vintage motorcycle.

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4 Responses to Adventure On A 1930s Vintage Harley Davidson

  1. mark says:

    Cool photo and a more engaging read than a resolution likely would have been. All any of us really has is a collection of stories. I’d rather read a good one than have someone tell me about the story they hope to be able to tell in the future.

  2. Lowell says:

    Hi
    I don’t claim to be an expert on old Harleys, but the gas tank logo looks like the 1936-1939 design. See the following URL:

    The site also says It’s hard to tell from the photo, but your grandfather’s Harley looks like a flathead and not a knucklehead.

  3. Lowell says:

    Looks like my previous reply got messed up in the sending somehow, the URL was deleted and some other stuff. Try googling the following for the URL

    mail.antiquefarming.com/harley-gas-tank

    The site also says…A new tank logo was released the same year same the Knucklehead motor It lasted only through 1939.

    My follow-on comment is…It’s hard to tell from the photo, but your grandfather’s Harley looks like a flathead and not a knucklehead.

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