Bud Ekins maintained until Stephen Wright restoration
1918 Harley-Davidson 61ci Model J
Engine no. 18J9218
Only six years after the inception of the Harley-Davidson company, a v-twin was introduced, though this 1909 model retained the 'atmospheric' type of the single. It was 1911 before the mechanically operated inlet valves were employed and then sales really took off. Known as the 'pocket valve', this 'F-head' (inlet-over-exhaust) engine - built in 61ci and 74ci capacities (1,000cc and 1,200cc respectively) - would remain in production for the next 20 years. The Harley single's transmission arrangements - direct drive by means of a leather belt - were continued at first on the twin, but the need to make better use of the engine's power characteristics, particularly for sidecar pulling, prompted the introduction of a two-speed rear hub for 1914, by which time chain drive and a proper clutch had been adopted. Later that same year a conventional, three-speed, sliding-gear transmission with 'step starter' was introduced on the top-of-the-range version of the twin which, with full electrical equipment, was listed from now on as the Model J. Periodically revised and up-dated, the Model J had gained a front brake, stronger fork and pumped lubrication by the time production ceased in 1929.
The machine on offer here has been part of a discerning Southern California collection for many years. Purchased as a non-runner in 1971 from Lyle Parker, this sidecar outfit was taken straight to the owner’s long-time friend, Bud Ekins to get it running. After just a week, the bike was running great and was seen running up Benedict Canyon and around LA with friends Steve McQueen, famed collector, Urban Hirsch for many years. Bud continued to look after the bike until he finally put away his tools.
In 2[hidden information], the rig was taken to premiere restorer, Stephen Wright for a full nut and bolt restoration. This was one of Wright’s last restorations, and every bit up to his exacting and multiple award-winning standards. Wright contacted the factory to get the exact paint code and the bike was refinished in the precisely correct green, with beautiful and correct pin-striping. Mechanically, the bike was treated to a full engine and gearbox rebuild, while all cycle parts and ancillaries fully refurbished. The result was a bike built to run like a Swiss watch.
This rather spectacular machine has been on static display for a few years and, as such, will need re-commissioning before returning to road use with all its World War I-era charm.
Additional information and photos can be seen at ClassicAvenue.com