Harley Davidson Sidecar
 
By 1915 the motorcycle trikes in the form of a side car was in it's golden age. That era saw motorcycles authorized for Rural Mail Delivery; the motorcycle sidecar setup was a natural for carrying the mail. H-D produced an even better solution when it released the Motorcycle Truck and then the Package Van. Package Van bodies mounted on a sidecar chassis. By 1918 Harley offered vans with capacities of as much as 600 pounds. By 1919, 16,400 sidecars were constructed—more than seven sidecars for every ten H-D's produced.


Many Harley-Davidson historians correctly credit the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Trike named the Servicar as helping Harley survive the depression.
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Harley Davidson 1913 Motorcycle Truck
In the summer of 1913, Harley- Davidson announced a new addition to the fold: The Motorcycle Truck. A prototype of this motorcycle trike was satisfactorily put into service in the winter of 1912-13 by the US Post Office for parcel service in Milwaukee. The Motorcycle Truck would evolve into the popular Package Van. Company advertisement boosted it was maneuverable and easy to handle. The two-speed transmission, installed first on the truck, used ratios of 5:1 in high and 10:1 in low gear. The factory spec's report a maximum cargo capacity of 550 lb.
In 1915 the motorcycle truck was replaced with a new delivery side-van Essentially, it was a large wooden box with a hinged top for loading. Mounted on the standard sidecar chassis, it had the added benefit of being interchangeable with the sidecar body, so the owner could use the equipped motorcycle for both business and pleasure.

RIGHT Harley Motorcycle Truck click on image to enlarge
Harley-Davidson Trike Harley-Davidson Package Van
1911 Harley motorcycle brochure promoting the virtues of using motorcycles for commercial uses. Very early on, it was apparent that there was a market for Harley-Davidson motorcycles as commercial vehicles. Less expensive to own and operate than automobiles, and able to navigate rutted roads better than a four-wheeled vehicle, motorcycles quickly became attractive to Postal Carriers, Police Departments and private businesses alike.

By 1914, the Harley-Davidson motorcycle and motorcycle sidecar had earned such a solid reputation that nine departments of the federal government employed its service. The U.S. Postal Service alone used over 4,800 Harleys for rural deliveries.
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1916 Model J With Package Truck F-Head V Twin
Harley Davidson Museum Picture Tour
At the beginning of the 20th century, the postal service still relied on old-fashioned horsepower, making mail carriers a desirable target market for Harley-Davidson. As the company's ads pointed out, motorcycles and Package Trucks were faster and easier to maintain than horses.  This U.S. Mail Package Truck has its original lettering, an optional service offered by the factory.
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Harley Motorcycle Package Van click on image to enlarge
Harley-Davidson Package Truck Harley-Davidson Motorcycle     Harley-Davidson Tank   Harley-Davidson Logo
 Harley Davidson 1916 Sidecar
  The early sidecar bodies were built by the Seaman Company in Milwaukee. In 1916 the frame on the J model was reinforced for sidecar use and the steering head bearings enlarged. The chair was suspended by leaf springs on each side of car.

Right-side chairs were designed for the U.S. and Europe, while left-side rigs were fitted for the British market. Image soon is of the British model

Model: Model 16J
Price: $310 Options 16-L Standard Pleasure Sidecar $80
Colors:  Renault Grey with Red pinstriping
1916 Harley Davidson Model J  with Package Truck
Introduced in 1915 as an addition to the successful sidecar line. The Harley Davidson Side Van was basically a wooden box on a sidecar chassis, with a hinged top for loading, and proved very popular with commercial users. Among the Harley factory options was your own company's sign written name on the box, at 10 cents per letter, and a folding top and side curtains to protect the rider from the elements.

Model: Harley Davidson Delivery Van  17-M
Price: $70

Model: Harley Davidson Delivery Van  17-N
Price: $72


1915 Production: 98

  
From the beginning Harley-Davidson motorcycles had been used by police departments. The U.S. Postal Service also found them to be a much better solution for rural routes then horses. An early Harley brochure promotes a relatively new use in the below text:

Fire Department Service Comparatively new in this service, the motorcycle has  One large city in the middle west in which motorcycle equipment is being used has been able to extinguish 70 per cent of its fires by means of the motorcycle equipment before the heavy apparatus arrived.
1918 Harley Model J F Head V Twin with Rodgers Sidecar
1918 Model J introduced some small changes If customers were interested in adding the $90 Rogers-brand sidecar, Harley-Davidson recommended a special engine for the bike. The engine was not faster, but it did provide more torque to accommodate the addition of the sidecar.

RIGHT Harley Motorcycle Side Car click on image to enlarge
Harley-Davidson Trike Harley-Davidson Package Van
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Harley Sidecar
  

Before the automobile revolution motorcycles became an affordable means of primary transportation for many. The addition of a sidecar expanded the versatility of the motorcycle by allowing riders to take the family along. By 1920, Harley-Davidson was selling over 16,000 sidecars annually.

Harley Trike

Davidson's Package Truck was offered in a number of configurations. Using a modified version of the sidecar chassis, the frame and body were just a few dollars more than the sidecar.
Model MXP Package Truck shown above, with Harley-Davidson designed snubbers, Alemite fittings, Timken roller bearing hub, 48 inch road tread, $150 at factory. Chassis complete without body, $65 at factory. Prices do not include motorcycle. Harley Davidson also offered other parts and accessoriess
Harley  Servi-Car Trike
The first real Harley Davidson Motorcycle Trike. The three-wheeled Servicar used the front end of a 45 connected to a two-wheel rear end and a load-carrying box. Originally intended for mechanics to collect vehicles for repair, it proved ideal for traffic police and over it's long life would find numerous other applications. 

Harley Gas Tank Graphics

After little change for nearly 30 years a new design logo appeared on Harley Davidson gas tanks
Sportster 883
Harley Sportster XLCH
A racier version of the Sportster was introduced in 1959 under the XLCH tag. Intended as a performance-oriented on/off road machine it differed from its street XLH sportster by sporting magneto ignition, high-mounted exhaust pipe, "peanut" fuel tank (barrowed from the hummer) , "bobbed" rear fender, and semi-knobby tires. Tank badges were also different, being of a design shared by some of Harley's contemporary racing bikes. The XLCH also debuted the "eyebrow" headlight cover that remains a Sportster trademark to this day.
Harley
Davidson Panhead

In 1948, the FL, with redesigned rocker covers for the cylinder head, got the name of Panhead. Hydraulic valve lifters caused less engine noise, ran cooler with aluminum heads, and needed less maintenance.

Harley Sportster
The
Harley Sportster era begans in 1957 when Harley Davidson introduced an overhead-valve, 54-cubic-inch engine (883cc). Before that, Harley motorcycles were side-valves (Flatheads). In 1957, Harley Davidson released the overhead-valve cylinder heads, which gave the motorcycle increased horsepower and performance. Today there are many iterations of the Sportster.  

Harley 50thh

In 1953 marked the fiftieth year of business for Harley-Davidson. To commemorate the event, a logo was designed, depicting a "V" symbolic of the engine configuration, crossed by the company name and embossed lettering stating "50 years American made." This brass medallion logo would grace the front fenders of all 1954 models.

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