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Thread: 1948/1949 Panhead

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Ohio
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    Default 1948/1949 Panhead

    Just for conversation. I've picked up an old bobber project that I've posted a few things about. I found it in a co-worker's dads barn. Its been sitting in there since the late 1960's. I always felt it was a 1949 Panhead with a 1947 Knucklehead engine. I'm not an expert, I just figure since it had an early Hydraglide frontend it was a 1949. I started pulling it apart to check out everything and started noticing numbers cast and stamped on the frame, frontend and transmission. I have Palmers books and from what I can tell it is a 1948 Frame, October 1948 transmission and an early 1949 front end. Would any components such as wheels or primary cover have any indicators of years? Trying to figure out what kind of life this thing had. Would Harley have made any early 1949's with leftover 1948 parts? Like I said, no expert, just curious.
    Thanks,
    Eric

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
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    Central Illinois, USA
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    They are like buckets o' fried chicken, Eric!

    All pieces and parts.

    (It will of course be titled and registered by the motor VIN.)

    October was well into the next production year.

    ....Cotten
    PS: How much '49 stainless trim did you find on it?
    Last edited by T. Cotten; 10-31-2019 at 11:38 AM.
    AMCA #776
    Dumpster Diver's Motto: Seek,... and Ye Shall Find!

  3. #3
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    Default

    Like fender trim? There wasn't any left on it.

  4. #4
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    H-D was always committed to a new model year, particularly if there was a major change like there was from '48 to the new Hydra-Glide of '49. They didn't carry over fenders, tanks, frames, or trim items that would conflict with new model year styling, or engineering improvements. Many parts carried over for a number of years; i.e. chain guards, and wheels but even those pedestrian items had changes that Palmer points out in his books. I wouldn't know how to advise you on your plans for that bike since it is such a Heinz 57. Individually, the parts you mentioned are quite desirable and you probably would have no trouble trading into the year you would like to do. . . But, 1949 is super tough, and expensive to do correctly, and like every motorcycle project, the devil is in the details. If it were mine; I'd build what is there and concentrate on the motor, trans, and running gear and have a fun rider, that has some history. Good luck.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  5. #5
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    Aug 2014
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    Ohio
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    Thanks Eric,
    I appreciate your response. I'm kinda with you, I like the fact that the bike was done in the sixties. I think my plan is to have the engine rebuilt and just clean it up a bit. If I were to change anything I'd maybe try to find a 48 springer front end, but considering the cost of that I will more than likely just replace the seals and run with the Hydra glide. Definitely not going to make anything completely correct. It would be cool to limit the amount of aftermarket parts on it though.

  6. #6
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    Just my opinion, but I think a complete, and genuine 1949 Glide fork would be equal in value to an offset spring fork, possibly more. Curious what others think of that.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Default

    Would Harley have made any early 1949's with leftover 1948 parts? Like I said, no expert, just curious.
    No.

    48 has wishbone frame, offset spring fork, three piece fenders spot welded, horn on front fender.
    49 has wishbone frame, black hydra-glide fork, one piece fenders, horn bolts to frame.
    Post photo.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2005
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    Sarasota, Florida
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    Eric, if you're not a member of CAIMAG, you should join. They have a thread called 'Vintage Pics of the Day' and there are thousands of antique, and period pics of motorcycles. You could spend days looking at those pictures (and many of us have). Lots of pictures of custom bikes of the day that will give you good history, and inspiration for a period custom bike.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Basically anything dated after July of '48 would be parts used in an early '49. Date codes are helpful but tricky due to when the factory changed over production (usually about August) and new models appeared starting in September. Occasionally something like a transmission could be several months off if it had some rework before installation. As stated, new models, especially with new features, precluded use of earlier style parts. However some early '49s did come with Springer forks on special order or if Sidecar equipped. Try and post some pics of your bike, I'd love to see it.

    Robbie Knight Amca #2736

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    [QUOTE=Rubone;184913]Basically anything dated after July of '48 would be parts used in an early '49. Date codes are helpful but tricky due to when the factory changed over production (usually about August) and new models appeared starting in September. Occasionally something like a transmission could be several months off if it had some rework before installation. As stated, new models, especially with new features, precluded use of earlier style parts. However some early '49s did come with Springer forks on special order or if Sidecar equipped. Try and post some pics of your bike, I'd love to see it.

    Did the early '49 Panheads, with the springer forks have the '48 and earlier front fender? And if so, did they also have the earlier 3 piece rear fender? Or, did they come with Glide style 45 springer front fender with the springer braces?
    Craig

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