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Thread: 1920 Harley Model F

  1. #1
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    Default 1920 Harley Model F

    Hello folks, this bit of my "Bike Build" is a repeat of a post I put up on caimag a couple of weeks ago. I will update them both as (hopefully) the bike comes together.

    As I said in my intro I am a guy from England with a new Harley Davidson project.

    I acquired the project a few weeks ago through an unlikely set of circumstances. I had not been looking for a new bike project because I have another one, the Matchless, that I was intending to start about now. I was certainly not expecting to get a Harley, HD's dont have a wide following in the Uk and are not that popular. Of all the bikes I expected to get I would say that a Harley was the very last on the list.

    It cam with a sidecar and even lower on my list of thing that I want (if you can get lower than the bottom) is a sidecar or "chair" as us Brits call them sometimes.

    Funny how fate takes you to unexpected places!

    Here is the "bike" when I got it home.



    Here is the chair.



    Here are the documents etc that came with it.



    Like I said in my intro, it needs a bit of work. I have build a basket case up previously (the 1938/9 Triumph 5T in my intro) which I think was harder than this one will be. This one, despite appearances, seems to be mostly complete.

    The bike was first registered in the UK in May 1921 but it has a 1920 number on it.

    The bike was purchased by a guy in 1988 after the bike had sat for many years in a shed which had a leaking roof. This guy stripped the bike down seemingly with the intention of fixing it up but did not get too far.

    What he did do was send the engine, gearbox, clutch, magneto & carburettor to William Healing Restorations or Bill Healing as he seems to be known as. He seems to have been a very well known engine specialist for American bikes here in the UK. I have the invoices for this work and the come to £3,544. Thats English pounds in 1988/89. In todays money using an inflation calculator it is the equivalent of £8,496 in todays money or $12,939 US dollars at todays exchange rate. Thats quite a bill for engine work.

    Here is a pic:



    The engine, gearbox etc have had everything done to them (I will post details at a later time) and were kept inside a house since 1989 so I am hoping that there will be a minimal amount of work to do to them.

    The rest of the bike has had almost nothing done.

    The sidecar has had a new body made.

    The guy who took the bike apart put every fastener back onto the parts that they held together and sub assemblies were put in small containers and labeled. There are even some original tools out of the tool box in a can marked "contents of tool box". He also took over 100 photos which came with the document. I have scanned them all for reference because there are lots of detail pics.





    Continued due to picture limit.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 1920 Harley Model F

    Continued

    This is my favourite shot from 1988.



    The bike when I got it home.



    And in my workshop



    The bike came with 3 petrol (gas) tanks. The original tank plus 2 spares

    The original tank, i.e the tank that was in the pictures from 1988.













    You can see that there must have been moisture lyeing in the right side as it was laid up. The right, despite the pitting, seems quite sound.

    Continued due to picture limit

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 1920 Harley Model F

    Continued

    Spare tank 1












    The red on this tank is spilled red primer. It scratched off easily with my fingernail so I will see if I can cerefully remove it and get back to the green underneath. It is a bit dented.

    Spare tank 2










    The left side of this tank is red over-painted on top of the green but only on the top and side of the tank. I am wondering if I can remove the red and leave the green? It looks like the red has been brush painted over the green only and not over the decals and pinstripes. The right side seems sound but has no trace of green so will need new paint.

    Continued due to picture limit

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 1920 Harley Model F

    Continued

    Re the perennial question of restore vs preserve my intention is to preserve as far as possible, ride it and then decide what, if anything, I want to change. In the meantime I will use a rust stabiliser and inhibitor on the brown bits to keep it safe.


    I have stainless spokes on my 38/39 Speed Twin which was also a basket case when I got it (although much more incomplete). They are OK but dont look like dull nickel plate, more like bright nickel which wasnt invented until about 1930. I need to put some spokes in the front wheel and also replace the spokes in the rear wheel so I need to get some steel spokes and heve them dull nickel plated. They seem to be 9 gauge spokes but can anyone tell me if they are plain or butted? The ones in the rear wheel are too rusted to be be certain of what type they are.

    Like I said above, it is an unusually complete basket case. Here are a couple of the boxes of bits.








    This is unusual to find in a complete bike let alone a basket case.





    I am currently going through the boxes of stuff and working out what needs to be done. I will post some more progress when I have made some.

  5. #5
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    Default

    good luck with it , you have a well cared for bike , your lucky with the motor and trany been already restored ,great photos too ,Rob

  6. #6
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    Default

    That looks beautiful. I look forward to watching your progress.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 1920 Harley Model F

    Thanks for the nice comments guys.

    I noticed that my question in my above posts is a bit lost so I will repeat it here so it gets seen

    Quote Originally Posted by TechNoir View Post
    I have stainless spokes on my 38/39 Speed Twin which was also a basket case when I got it (although much more incomplete). They are OK but donít look like dull nickel plate, more like bright nickel which wasnít invented until about 1930. I need to put some spokes in the front wheel and also replace the spokes in the rear wheel so I need to get some steel spokes and have them dull nickel plated. They seem to be 9 gauge spokes but can anyone tell me if they are plain or butted? The ones in the rear wheel are too rusted to be be certain of what type they are.
    In other words should the spokes be plain, single butted or double butted?

    Also am I right in saying that they are 9 gauge.The parts book gives 2 options for this year, 9 gauge and 10 gauge?

  8. #8

    Default

    I see that one set of tanks you have there are quite rare 1916 only. Gray paint underneath with red primer that you were scratching off. You will notice that the three bolt tabs as well as the shift lever pivot are cast brass as opposed to folded steel stamping so as on the other tanks. Looks like decent original paint underneath too.
    GOOD item!
    Mark

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 1920 Harley Model F

    Quote Originally Posted by MMasa View Post
    I see that one set of tanks you have there are quite rare 1916 only. Gray paint underneath with red primer that you were scratching off. You will notice that the three bolt tabs as well as the shift lever pivot are cast brass as opposed to folded steel stamping so as on the other tanks. Looks like decent original paint underneath too.
    GOOD item!
    Mark

    Thanks for the info Mark, someone on caimag also pointed this out but it did not register with me until you said it again. I am assuming that this means that this tank is not as common as the green 1917 and later tanks?

    Here are some more pics:











    I will post pics of the right side in the next post due to pic limit

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 1920 Harley Model F

    Right side gray tank













    It seems to be in quite good condition for some 100 year old tinware.

    The bad points are:

    Rust hole in the right side tank at the top front. The rest of the metal seems quite solid. I would hope that someone could repair this without impacting the rest of the tank too much.

    There are some dents. Maybe they can be pushed out at least a bit using tools through the filler necks?

    The red primer over the gray. Most of it seems to be "splashed on" rather than brushed on. I think it can mostly be removed with great care and leave most of the gray intact.

    If this tank is not right for my 1920 then I will see what I can do with the other two tanks and see if anyone with a 1916 bike needs a tank. I will investigate this further when I get to thinking about the tinware for my bike.

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