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Thread: 1936 el- value?

  1. #41
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    Default Those pesky sidecar "S" stamped motors!

    Guys,

    It's true that with Harley-Dee it's risky to say NEVER. I've said that myself. And it does seem that some sidecar marked "S" motors may exist. But these don't conform to H-D's own numbering system and that's what I'm referring to. Not that they don't exist, but that by H-D's own accounting they should not exist. No judgement. Just observation.

    Let's take the above described "34VDS1371" motor number that Steve saw on the Alcazar museum bike in Spain. I accept that. However, I have in front of me a photocopy of an orginal H-D "Layout of 1935 Motorcycle Models & Model Numbers" issued by the Engineering Department, dated June 11, 1935. Documentation from the hog's mouth, so to speak. This states that "Model No. 35VDS (74 cu. in. Sidecar Twin) Assem. Pt. No. XL-11" used engines with motor numbers stamped "35VD1000" and up. This was the exact same system they used every year with all sidecar models. The "S" did NOT appear in the motor number by their own admission. They say this over and over, year after year. It's gotta be true.

    Therefore, if these two "S" marked motor numbers do exist--and I'm not saying they don't--then there must another explanation for the discrepency. What could that be? I'm not sure. Maybe the "S" was stamped on the motor in error and it got by. We've seen motor numbers stamped upside down, sideways, etc. Or is there some other explanation?

    I'm not criticizing anyone, just trying to give the most accurate information about the motor numbering system used by sometimes wacky but always loveable Harley-Davidson. By the factory's own reckoning, no sidecar stamped S motor "should" exist.
    Last edited by HarleyCreation; 01-11-2017 at 05:11 PM.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Slocombe View Post
    Dear Herbert, I'd never say never where Harley was concerned. 35VDS1371 is in the Alcazar military museum in Toledo, Spain, as an original paint survivor of the 1936 Spanish Civil War siege. I'm guessing it was known to be going as an export order to Franco and was stamped accordingly at the factory. It also has the export 1935 olive green/black paint scheme on the mudguards but the 1934 pattern on the tank, perhaps showing how Harley dealt with last season parts in the first few weeks of the new model year by unloading them onto export bikes.
    Not knowing what was going through the minds in the MoCo in 1936 could the S be for Spain? Like the XLJ models for Jakarta or the WLC for Canada?
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  3. #43
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    And don't forget the few RLEX and RLDX model small twins for Germany. One 1934 RLDX bike was built, which amazingly survives in original teak red and silver paint. It has all those letters stamped in the engine number and is fitted with a Bosch headlamp, probably from original.

  4. #44
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    Chris,
    That is an interesting question...
    VPH-D

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by harleytoprock View Post
    Yes, it is a wide stripe and it's edged with a pin stripe. It's about as wide as the stripes used on pre '33 Harley tanks. I would also mask and spray but Harley used a brush. Would you say that your 1915 Silent Grey Fellow tanks, with it's wide stripes, was two toned? I wouldn't
    Attachment 18990
    I think that silver stripe is possible with a wide mac stripe brush.mac striping brushes.jpg

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Slocombe View Post
    And don't forget the few RLEX and RLDX model small twins for Germany. One 1934 RLDX bike was built, which amazingly survives in original teak red and silver paint. It has all those letters stamped in the engine number and is fitted with a Bosch headlamp, probably from original.
    In 1934 H-D offered three German 45 models: 34RX, 34RLX (high comp), 34RLDX (special high compression). These motors were stamped 34RX, 34RLX, and 34RLDX. Yes, it appears that the X identified Germany bound motors. Possibly they differed from regular R, RL, and RLD motors as well. That would fit the H-D motor/model ID system.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Haynes View Post
    Not knowing what was going through the minds in the MoCo in 1936 could the S be for Spain? Like the XLJ models for Jakarta or the WLC for Canada?
    That's a possibility. But what was the purpose of the S? To identify a Spanish contract or to mark some difference in the motor? Or both?

    Did the WLC motor differ from the WLA motor? It should differ, but does it? That's an important detail in understanding the H-D model letter number system and it's weird variations.

    Possible fictional scenerio:

    H-D Service Dept guy goes into Joe Ryan's office:

    GUY: "An overseas dealer needs parts for a 35VDS motor that he has. But I looked up that model year and we didn't make a VDS motor. What gives?"

    RYAN: "Hmmm. Oh yeah, years ago we made some extra low compression motors for Spain. We stamped them VDS. Somewhere I have a note on that. We didn't include them on the layout sheet because it wasn't a regular model."

    GUY: "That's confusing."

    RYAN (tapping his head): "It's all stored up here, sonny. Now quit bothering me. Get back to work!"

    That still doesn't explain possible 36ES stamped motors. Bruce Palmer says he's heard of two of them from 1936-37, but never saw them. I'm thinking the S has nothing to do with sidecar, but is there to identify those motors for some other reason..

  8. #48
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    The S in the model designation seems to refer more to the fact that the model had sidecar gearing not the compression ratio,This to me seems to infer that bikes with the S designation were fitted with a smaller motor sprocket.
    My bike 36E2416 was supplied new to Holland with a side car. No S or H in its number.

    Pete Reeves #860

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete reeves View Post
    The S in the model designation seems to refer more to the fact that the model had sidecar gearing not the compression ratio,This to me seems to infer that bikes with the S designation were fitted with a smaller motor sprocket.
    My bike 36E2416 was supplied new to Holland with a side car. No S or H in its number.

    Pete Reeves #860
    Yes, the S in the MODEL designation on the order blank always referred to motor gearing, but that S normally did not carry over as a motor number letter. Motor letters were separate and not always equal to the order blank model letters-- esp on S sidecar models. Gearing alone was not enough to get an S stamped on a sidecar bound engine as your Dream Baby shows. That's why these reported 36ES stamped motors are so peculiar. I gotta dig deeper into my files. Seems to me I do have something on that 36ES motor.

    Question: Was the WLC engine different somehow from the WLA engine? That's a really important factor in understanding Harley's occultic numbering system. Whoever knows gets the Har-Dav Prize of the week!

  10. #50

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    Answer: Don't think so Herbert. My 43' WLC was torn apart and completely rebuilt, and i didn't see any major differences between the many previously owned WLA's that i tinkered with over the years. The C in the WL designation meant only that it was slated for the Canadian Army Destination--i'm logically guessing tho'!? Oh, another thing, i can't speak for a Complete HD factory army issue, because all the WLA's and WLC's i've owned were stripped civilian models. Now..Do i qualify for the 'BooBee' Prize Herbert?--haha.
    C'ya *M.A.D.*
    Last edited by JoJo357; 01-14-2017 at 02:00 PM. Reason: additional info.

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