What is it about Harley-Davidsons?

Sunday morning and you can’t hear yourself think over the noise of Hogs as they roar away from the lights, always in groups.

If you fancy one of these two-wheeled American classics, here’s the perfect opportunity to get your hands on an absolute peach, resplendent in red and white with plenty of chrome.

Understood to have spent 37 years sitting in a shed in Queensland, this fabulous 1960 Harley-Davidson FL Duo-Glide was purchased by the current NSW owner from a Deceased Estate in November, 2017.

Evidently the subject of some mechanical and cosmetic refurbishment in the past, the vendor hasn’t ridden the Harley — but a major service was carried out in preparation for sale by Macksville Motorcycles in NSW.

Work included rebuilding the carburettor, overhauling the brakes with new shoes, servicing the forks, replacing the steering head bearings, attending to some wiring issues and carrying out a full polish and detail, with invoices totalling almost $2500.

One of the best looking Harleys of all time, the highly collectable FL Duo Glide will be sold unregistered and with No Reserve.

Harley-Davidson’s 1948 FL motorcycle introduced a number of changes over the preceding Knucklehead, updates that showed the company wasn’t resting on its laurels.

Changes came thick and fast in the post war years; 1948 saw the opening of a huge new engine production facility in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a few miles west of the old Milwaukee factory.

But that year’s biggest news came in the form of Harley’s new FL model with its “Panhead” V-twin.

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Replacing both the 61-cubic-inch overhead-valve Knucklehead and the 74-cubic-inch flathead V-twins, the overhead-valve Panhead was available in the same two displacements but incorporated several improvements.

Beneath the pan-shaped rocker covers (from which it takes its nickname) lay aluminum heads that were lighter and provided better cooling than their cast-iron predecessors.

Hydraulic lifters reduced valve noise and eliminated most adjustments, while longer engine life was achieved with an improved oil circulation system.

A decade into the Panhead’s lifespan, the Duo-Glide announced for the 1958 model year was a major innovation in the history of Harley-Davidson, introducing proper rear suspension in the form of a swing arm with coil-over shocks, and replaced the Hydra-Glide as the big touring bike of choice.

Despite the lack of a rigid rear end, the sprung seat was retained and Harley continued to build two versions of the 74-cid Big Twin, either the low compression FL or the high compression FLH — the former gaining in reliability and ease of starting what it lost in outright performance.

Much of the aesthetic appeal of the Duo-Glide can be credited to the Panhead motor, the mainstay of early post-war Harley-Davidson production.

Termed “The Glide Ride” by Harley-Davidson, these chrome-laden bikes were the two-wheel equivalent of the Cadillac Eldorado and many fans regard this as the most beautiful bike ever made.

This fabulous 1960 Harley-Davidson FL Duo-Glide is expected to sell in the $20,000 – $24,000 range, when it is offered with no reserve at Shannons’ Autumn Sydney auction, which will be held online from May 20 to June 3, with specific closing times for some items.

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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