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Thread: 21 J Kickstart lever finish

  1. #11
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    Thanks for the input folks (and you're not hijacking the thread, John).

    Peter makes an interesting point. Two factors were impacting on H-D production and sales in the 19-23 period - wartime shortages of some materials at the beginning of the period, and a shrinking motorcycle market at the end. In the "coffee table" publication "the H-D Motor Co. Archive Collection" the mostly unrestored 1919 J Model has a painted kicker arm; the arm on the 20 J is obscured; the restored 1920 Sport Model has a plated arm, which may or may not be as per original. The 23JD looks to be unrestored (or an early restoration) and has a painted or parkerized kicker arm. In the photograph of the same museum 23JD from the Pierce Colorwrite website, reproduced below (trusting I'm not breaching any copyright - no commercial interest on my part and a recommended website) the arm is clearly black.

    Over time I've trawled through a lot of photos on the net of what purport to be original paint 21 and 22 J Models, and some certainly look to have the remains of dull nickel on them. So perhaps there was a short period when wartime materials shortages were eased, and before another round of William Davidson's cost cutting at the factory took effect, when some kicker arms were plated.

    So, mainly painted (body colour or black?); with some early 20s possibly plated? Heavens knows how judges can be definitive about some of this stuff!

    Eric, you are very knowledgeable about 1916 Js. What's your experience of kicker finish on these early models?

    hdarchives07 (800x600).jpg

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    Palmerston North, New Zealand
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    Here's the image for 1921 from "The Legend Begins"
    Make up your own mind.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Peter Thomson, a.k.a. Tommo
    A.M.C.A. # 2777
    Palmerston North, New Zealand.

  3. #13
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    Sep 2001
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    Palmerston North, New Zealand
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    I've gone looking in my brochure collection and from the 1919 and 1921 H.D. Sales Brochures come the following two images
    1919 is definitely plated but the 1921 one appears painted.
    Look at the nickel plated kick starter return spring washer and compare its finish with that on the kick start lever and once again make up your own mind.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Peter Thomson, a.k.a. Tommo
    A.M.C.A. # 2777
    Palmerston North, New Zealand.

  4. #14
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    Dec 2015
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    Blighty
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    274

    Default Re: 21 J Kickstart lever finish

    Tommo, you reminded me that I have an original 1920 Dealer Brochure. Its a UK brochure but I doubt that the kicker finish differed.

    On page 10 there is similar picture to your 1919 picture.



    On page 8 there is a description of the transmission.



    Here is the picture in the bottom right corner close up



    The picture of the whole bike shows the kicker in a lighter shade than the Olive Green, much like the 1919 brochure. However the close up of the transmission shows it the same as the gearbox case which we know to be Olive. To confuse things the close up also shows parts that we know to be nickel plated also in the same colour as the kicker and the case so I donít think the line drawings in the brochure are definitive.

    These are drawings and not photographs so there may be some variance to the actual specification. Maybe the picture of the whole bike was drawn in 1917 and HD just used the same one for subsequent years until a significant variation in spec was introduced (which I think is very likely).

    At the moment my money is on paint and I am erring towards olive green but I am happy to be convinced otherwise by the knowledgeable people on here. Has anyone got any more contemporary photographs?

    John

  5. #15
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    Jul 2011
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    South Australia, Australia
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    12.jpgharley-davidson-j-l20t-6.jpg

    Here are photos of two different 1920 model bikes. One of them went through an auction house and the other photo came from Ebay. It can be seen the brighter image shows the kicker to being the green color and the other is hard to tell but I would say black. So it might of differed on the person assembling the bike or if someone special ordered the kicker arm to be black. That part I'm not sure about but I hope these photos help.

    Cheers,
    Jamie

  6. #16
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    Sep 2007
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    I wouldn't be so fast to trust an artist illustration. I new a woman that did this for Korvettes when I was a kid. She would redraw over old work all the time to save time. Those artist were no different.

  7. #17
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    Waikanae, New Zealand
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    This thread has highlighted the pitfalls to be found even in factory photos and brochures. As Eric pointed out, Bob's photo of the 1920 model was prepared in 1919 for the 1920 catalog, using some 1919 parts. (But the kicker is pretty clearly painted Olive.) And Peter and John's brochures show how difficult it is to establish the finishes of some parts from brochure illustrations which were initially highly detailed prints from plate glass negatives like Bob's, but were then handed over to the art department (perhaps of Klaus, Van Peterson and Dunlap, the H-D advertising agents who prepared a lot of their catalogs and brochures) for airbrushing and refining.

    However, Bob reminded me that I had seen his photo in Jerry Hatfield's "Inside Harley-Davidson" and had another look through that useful book. And Peter's and John's posts reminded me that I have the original, battered rider's handbook for my 21F.

    In JH's book, there are other unmolested photos. Page 49 - 1922J - Brewster green or black kicker. Page 50 - 1923J - Brewster green or black. Page 55 - 1924J - a Brewster green or black kicker behind Ottaway's right leg. (Oddly, all the Sport Models seem to have plated levers.)

    Like John, I'm leaning to paint.

    I have attached the lubrication chart right side view from my rider's handbook. It is a JD by the look of the cooling fins on the pocket, but I assume that there was no difference in finish between the 61" and 74" models. The photo has been less "enhanced" by the art department than some of the others and, despite all the evidence of painted kickers elsewhere, this one certainly looks plated. But that stll could be the artist "improving" the factory product. Look at the way the fenders have been highlighted to the extent that the paint is whited out. The kicker may have got the same treatment.

    Has anyone out there got a photo of the right side of the 21JD in the H-D museum?

    005 (800x600).jpg
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  8. #18
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    Very helpful photos Jamie. If only I could find a couple of pictures of 1921 bikes like those.

  9. #19
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    I had to dig but no go on the right side. Bob L

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Robert Luland; 07-30-2016 at 08:33 AM.

  10. #20
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    Waikanae, New Zealand
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    Thanks for digging Bob. I have found that photos of the right hand sides of original paint bikes are very difficult to locate. The left side with the H-D branded primary cover seems to be the "proper" side for formal photos, and account for most views; and when the left side is photographed, either a sidecar or the rider's leg is in the way.

    I suggest, from looking at Jamie's photographs, that the kicker may have been parkerized black/dark gray, before painting, which left a blackish looking lever after the olive paint had worn off. I've decided, in the absence of a clear photo or convincing evidence, to go down that route.

    There must be someone out there with a pre-restoration or original photo of a 21 J.

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