Part 2 of 3 HD History


“PART 2 of 3”

Most of you are familiar with the Harley-Davidson story, a timeline that dates back over 113 years.

This is Part 2 of a compilation of interesting lesser known facts that were pivotal to the Harley-Davidson story. (See November’s issue of Full Throttle Magazine for Part 1)

February 7th 1942: Walter Davidson, Company President, passes away at age 65 due to liver problems. 16 days later William H. Davidson son of co-founder William A. Davidson, replaces his uncle Walter as company President.

September 18th 1943: William S. Harley, Chief Engineer, passes away at age 62 from a heart attack. Two months later his son, William J. Harley is named the new Chief Engineer of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company.

February 1944: The War Department cancels its order for 11,331 motorcycles. This forces the company to lay off over 500 employees, and with no production of civilian motorcycles the company again falls into financial trouble; however, Harley is able to supplement income when they received subcontract work from the Boeing aircraft Company and several other companies like General motors. In addition in July of 1944 the government places an order for 8, 480 motorcycles and spare parts.

December 30th 1950: While driving on Highway 59, Arthur Davidson and his wife and two of their friends were killed in a car accident in Waukesha, Wisconsin, near Milwaukee. Arthur was 69 years old and his wife Clara never did give away her age. One of the last projects that Arthur was working on was public awareness of the dangers of foreign manufacturers dominating the American market.

1953: The company celebrates its 50th anniversary. One prominent business man is quoted as saying “The international famous name of Harley-Davidson is a tribute to the vision, ability and progressiveness that has characterized this company since it was founded 50 years ago. In 1954 Harley-Davidson becomes the only motorcycle manufacturer in the United States.

Look for the next issue of Full Throttle Magazine for Part 3, covering 1954 through 2017.

Trivia Question of the Month:

 Question:  The first Heritage Softail in 1986 was not the first Harley to be named Heritage, what Harley claimed the name Heritage before 1986?

Answer to last month’s trivia question:

Question: What year did Harley-Davidson first use a belt for final drive? (Most of you will think this is a trick question.)

Answer: The first Harley-Davidson belt drive was on the original motorcycle built in 1903. But it was a flat leather belt driving a pulley bolted to the rear wheel. The first modern toothed drive belt was introduced in 1980.

Bo’s Monthly Words of Wisdom:

Riding faster than everyone else only guarantees you’ll ride alone.

“Live to Ride or Step Aside”
Written by Bo
“The Hog Shoppe”