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1939 Knucklehead in Original Paint

Norm from Indianola, Iowa, United States made available these photos of his dad's 1939 Harley EL Knucklehead motorcycle. This truly extraordinary motorbike is still very much in its original shape as it was when delivered in 1939 to the brothers Arnold and Louis Hoffman in Carrington, North Dakota. The bike is original, it is complete, and it is authentic, including the original paint which looks like still in very good condition!

Norm: "Thank you for your interest in the EL61. This is a family treasure I know for a fact that my dad would want to share it with as many people as possible, so I am very pleased that you want to show it on your website."

Well, Norm, here she is. And we are honoured to have her here!

Image of 1939 Model EL Harley Davidson Knucklehead Classic Motorcycle in Original Paint by Norm.

Norm: "Here is the history. My dad, Arnold Hoffman, became a H-D "rider dealer" in North Dakota from 1939 until WWII started. To the best of my knowledge he only sold two bikes, this one ... his demonstrator, and a 1940 UHS74. The bike was owned jointly by my dad and his brother, Louis. They worked shearing sheep for a nickel a head to save up for it. A year or so after buying the bike they bought a passenger sidecar, and a utility sidecar. They took several long trips on it, and it was in regular use until 1955."

Image of 1939 Harley Knucklehead Model EL 61ci motorbike barnfind in original paint.

Norm: "When Dad ordered the UHS he ordered chrome wheels and swapped his for the chrome 16" front wheel, which is on the bike now. Aside from that I believe everything else to be correct original or correct replicable parts. All original paint.

Dad never threw anything away ... the crates were stored in the rafters of an old granary, an he had boxes of old H-D documents, Enthusiasts, marketing literature, etc. that he kept. Dad kept riding up to about age 70. I have his 1970 FLH that I ride. He passed away last fall at age 93."

Photo of 1939 Model EL Harley Davidson Knucklehead Classic Motorcycle in Original Paint by Norm. In the year 1939 the big Black Rhino leather Deluxe Buddy Seat was an option at an extra $5.81. Note how those floorboards were extended backwards for the comfort and safety of the passenger!

Photo of 1939 Harley Knucklehead Model EL 61ci motorbike barnfind in original paint. Norm also has the matching passenger sidecar with windshield and cover, the original leather saddlebags, leg fairings, a full-sized motorcycle windshield and a sport motorcycle windshield. He also still has the original wooden crate that the motorcycle was shipped in in 1939.

1939 Harley Davidson Model EL Knucklehead Engine

Image of 1939 Model EL Harley Davidson Knucklehead engine.

Image of 1939 Harley Knucklehead Model EL 61ci engine.

Photo of 1939 Model EL Harley Davidson Knucklehead motor.

Photo of 1939 Harley Knucklehead Model EL 61ci motor.

1939 Harley Davidson Model EL Fuel Tank

Image of fuel tank of 1939 Model EL Harley Davidson Knucklehead Classic Motorcycle in Original Paint.

Image of gas tank on 1939 Harley Knucklehead Model EL motorbike.

1939 Harley Davidson Paperwork

Photo of bill of shipping of 1939 Model EL Harley Davidson Knucklehead Motorcycle. As you can see from the shipping bill, extras on this Harley Knucklehead included a Deluxe Buddy Seat - Black Rhino (US$5.81), clutch and brake pedal rubbers (US$0.56), and chrome wheel rings (US$3.75). The Sport Solo windshield was $4.88.

Photo of Harley Davidson announcement letter for 1939 Knucklehead Model EL. With this 1939 letter the factory announced shipment of his Harley Davidson to Arnold Hoffman. Note the hints and tips which are still useful today!

1939 Harley Davidson Model EL Rear End

Image of rear fender and wheel of 1939 Model EL Harley Davidson Knucklehead Classic Motorcycle.

Image of rear wheel and fender of 1939 Harley Knucklehead Model EL in original paint.

Photo of rear light of 1939 Model EL Harley Davidson Knucklehead Classic Motorcycle in Original Paint.

(June 2010)

Photo of 1939 Harley Knucklehead Model EL 61ci motorbike barnfind in original paint.