Harley Davidson Paint Schemes By Year – The Big List – Harley-Davidson Highlights of All Time Have you ever wondered how many models Harley-Davidson has made during its 114-year history? We’ve got you covered.
Founded in 1903, Harley-Davidson is America’s oldest and most famous motorcycle brand. Over its 114 years of production, Harley has made a number of iconic bikes and continues to evolve to meet evolving tastes and markets while maintaining its essential Harleyness. The company survived several wars and depressions, two world wars, stiff competition from both the British and the Japanese, and outlived all of its original competitors save Indians. In doing so, Harley helped shape motorcycle culture and gave birth to a huge slice of Americana.
Harley Davidson Paint Schemes By Year
This list includes important motorcycles in Harley-Davidson history, those bikes that represented the next step in the evolution of the motorcycle or set the standard for an entire bike segment. Although very comprehensive, this list excludes unique or short-lived models such as Aermacci/Harley Sprints, Servi-Cars, most military models, and one-off items such as scooters or snowmobiles as they are largely outside the scope of this article. Also, honestly, each of these categories deserves their own book and, since they are rare, unusual, or exclusive, existing information about them is largely non-existent.
Years Of Harley Davidson
So let’s get down to business, shall we? For the purposes of this list, I have separated the bikes into two broad eras – pre-Knucklehead and post-Knucklehead – which I have called “The Beginning” and “The Modern Era”. As you may know, the legendary Knucklehead was Harley’s first overhead valve engine. Its introduction brought Harley into the modern era, and every modern big twin — Dynas, Softails, and touring models — can trace its lines straight back to the old Knuck.
We are not perfect, so if you know of anything we missed in our information, please comment below or email us. For example, we believe we have kept all the known model codes for the models listed, but there are always special editions or single models that sometimes change the code. It’s possible we’ve missed a few, but in our best efforts, this is a complete list of every Harley-Davidson model available today.
Also, if you are looking for more depth in the subject a great resource for true-HD enthusiasts is the Big Book.
Known Suffixes: 1905, Model 1; 1908, Model 4; 1909, Model 5, Model 5A, Model 5C, Model 5D; 1910, Model 6, Model 6A, Model 6B, Model 6C, Model 6D; 1911, Model 7, Model 7A, Model 7B, Model 7C, Model 7D; 1912, Model 8, Model X8, Model 8A, Model X8A, Model 8D, Model X8D, Model X8E; 1913, Model 9A, Model 9B; 1914, Model 10A, Model 10B, Model 10C; 1915, Model 11B, Model 11C; 1916, Model 16B, Model 16C; 1917, Model 17B, Model 17C; 1918, Model 18B. Model 18C, Model 18E, Model 18F, Model 18J; 1919, Model 19F, Model 19J; 1920, Model 20F, Model 20J; 1921, Model 21F, Model 21FD, Model 21J, Model 21JD; 1922, Model 22F, Model 22FD, Model 22J, Model 22JD; 1923, Model 23F, Model 23FD, Model 23J, Model 23JD; 1924, Model 24FE, Model 24FD, Model 24FDCA, Model FDCB, Model FDCB, Model 24JE, Model 24JD, Model 24JDCA, Model 24JDCB, Model 24JDCB; 1925, Model 25FE, Model 25FDCB, Model 25JE, Model 25JDCB; 1926/1927, Model 26F, Model 26FD, Model 26J, Model 26JD, Model A, Model AA, Model B, Model BA; 1927, Model 27F, Model 27D, Model 27J, Model 27JD; 1928, Model 28A, Model 28AA, Model 28B, Model 28BA, Model 28F, Model 28FD, Model 28J, Model 28JD, Model 28JXL, Model 28JDXL, Model 28JH, Model 28JDH; 1929, Model 29A, Model 29AA, Model 29B, Model 29BA, Model 29D, Model 29F, Model 29FD, Model 29J, Model 29JD, Model 29JXL, Model 29JDXL, Model 29JH, Model 29JDH
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Reason to love: Harley-Davidson originally built motorcycles for racing. The first years featured a wide variety of models, from singles, V-twins, and opposed twins in a variety of frames. Engineering development was in full swing, and the American-made racing scene was a beautiful drama. During these years, Harley-Davidson was in a frenzy of engineering and development. New models, engines, and chassis configurations seemed to change every year or so as new discoveries were made and new ideas were tested.
Pre-Knucklehead: In 1901, William S. Harley, completed a design of an engine in a bicycle frame. He partnered with longtime friend Arthur Davidson and, after two years in the woods in mutual friend Henry Melk’s garage, rolled out their first bicycle in 1903 and immediately went racing. With the paint still wet on the 1903 bike, Mssrs. Harley and Davidson began work on a new, more modern motorcycle with a bigger and better single-cylinder engine.
Completed in September 1904, this bike rolled out of Melk’s garage and went straight to the track just like its 1903 predecessor. The engine was a 24.74 cubic inch, single inlet-over-chapter with a single-speed transmission with a leather belt drive and back-up pedal assist. The whole thing weighed less than 200 pounds and had a top speed of about 40 miles per hour. He took fourth place with rider Ed Hildebrand in the saddle, not bad at all for what was essentially a one-off prototype.
In 1905, Harley-Davidson released the first true Harley – the Model 1. Basically a prototype production/racing model in 1904, the Model 1 was almost identical to its predecessor.
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It wasn’t until 1909 that Harley-Davidson released its first V-twin motorcycle – the 49.5 cubic inch Model 5-D. At that time, Harley-Davidson became the largest motorcycle manufacturer in America, eclipsing arch-rival Indian and completely dominating smaller teams such as Thor, Henderson, Excelsior, and Pierce. The F-Head engine in the 5-D was a flop for a number of reasons that are, again, outside the scope of this article, and was replaced a year later with a better engine.
In 1919, the 37ci Sport model was introduced with an opposed-twin engine. In 1922, the 74ci V-twin engine was introduced on the JD and FD models. Four years later in 1926, Harley produced another single-cylinder engine, for the first time since 1918. Models A, AA, B, and BA are available in side-valve and overhead-valve engine configurations. In 1928 the first two-cam Harley-Davidson engine was made available to the public on the JD series motorcycles.
Reasons to love: The 19W model introduced new technology to the lineup and eventually evolved into the Army’s most popular motorcycle, the W-Series.
Model W: Also known as the Sport Twin, the Model 19W was built as a mid-size bike and an entry-level model with the goal of attracting new riders and increasing the motorcycle market of the day. The Sport featured Harley’s first flat-twin engine and a trailing-link front fork suspension.
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The Sport Twin set speed records on cross-country runs. Although, like many models of the time, poor American sales led to the end of production after only four years. Not to be confused with the later W-Series, which featured the now famous 45ci flathead.
Known Suffixes: DL, D, Model 29D, Model 29FD, Model 30D, Model 30DL, Model 30DLD, Model 31D, Model 31DL, Model 31DLD, Model 32D, Model 32DL, Model 32DLD, Model 32D, Model 32DLD, Model 32DL 33D, Model 33DL, Model 33DLD,
The year after Harley introduced the twin-cam engine, Harley built the D-Series to compete with the Indian Scout. The motorcycle featured the side valve 45ci V-twin known as the “45” and later nicknamed the flathead. Introduced in the WR racing bike, it proved to be solid and reliable and Harley established in consistent production and models. Flathead v-twins were also available in 61ci and 74ci displacement during the same model years. The 45ci bikes were very similar to their larger displacement siblings, but the easiest way to tell them apart is that the “45” has the final drive chain on the right instead of the left like a modern Sportster.
Known suffixes: R, RL, RLD; Model 34RL, Model 34R, Model 34RLD, Model 35RL, Model 35R, Model 35RS, Model 35RLD, Model 36R, Model 36RLDE, Model 36RS, Model 36R
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A replacement for the D-Series, the R series was a step in the evolution from the D to the W. No major technical changes were introduced for the R, but it was an important motorcycle for Harley as it helped the company survive the Great. Depression. Style changes such as Art style badging and paint helped sales.
Years: 1929-1973 (according to Harley, variations of the engine were sold until 1973, primarily in Servi-Car trikes).
Known suffixes: Model W “45” solo, Model WL sport solo, Model WLD “45” solo, WR, Model 37WL, Model 37WLD, Modwl 37WLDR, Model 37W, Model 37WS, Model 38WLD, Model 38WL, Model 38WLDR.
Reason to love: After the war, thousands of WLAs were sold in surplus, which helped start the helicopter movement because they were plentiful and cheap.
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This was the final model to receive the 45 (minus the H-D Servi-Car which we are not talking about here). A high compression option was available at the time. During wartime production, the WLA was built for military use and was essentially the only version built. Nearly 60,000 units were produced for US military use and for export through the Lend-Lease program during the war.
Reasons to love: While these side valve/flathead engines have always been used
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