Friday, January 22, 2016

Harley Davidson 45 C.I. OHV Prototype

This is the only known surviving example of a 1941 Harley Davidson O.H.V. 45 cubic inch motorcycle.  The O.H.V. idea was not new to the Factory and had been used on racing motorcycles and hill climbers.  It cost as much to build the O.H.V. 45 as a Knucklehead and remember we entered World War II on December 7th, 1941...the bombing of Pearl Harbor which changed this whole country in a heart beat.

The three engines were stored in the Knuth warehouse in Milwaukee during WWII. After the war H-D sent some guys to inventory the warehouse because they had no clue what was in it. One of these guys liberated the OHV 45" engine and took it home. The Motor Company found out and demanded its return. The guy skipped town and took the engine with him.

Later it was discovered that he was working for a H-D dealership in the south and had installed the engine in a bike. H-D told the dealer to turn over the engine or he would loose his ticket. The dealer turned the engine over to the H-D District manager, who took it home and stored it in his garage.

Years went by and H-D again forgot about the OHV 45". The district manager retired from the company. He then contacted a great Harley race mechanic he had known for years who was now in California doing a bang up job porting and installing big valves in current model H-D heads. He sold the engine to this man who in turn sold it to a gentleman who deals with old bikes in Santa Paula, CA. It gets a bit foggy from here .... evidently the gentleman sold the engine to Carmen Brown who built it into a motorcycle.

That's a great story and may or may not be entirely accurate................