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Douglas ( -1 )

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1913 Harley-Davidson Racer
Quantity Views Date Posted
1 1895 3/7/2010
Asking Price Shipping Amount Condition
$41,250.00 None Auction Results
Description: 1913 Harley-Davidson Racer
RM Auctions
Automobiles of Arizona Collector Car Auction
Phoenix, Arizona
AUCTION RESULTS: Lot 104 - Sold at a price of $41,250
Photo Credit: Simon Clay

5hp, 565 cc F-head single-cylinder engine, rigid frame with leading-link front-end.

Despite the racing success Harley-Davidson enjoyed against the likes of Indian and Excelsior, the company did not officially support a factory entry into a full-scale racing campaign until 1914. The choice of mounts for these early Harley competitors was the motorcycle presented here, a five-horsepower 565cc single, reportedly capable of 70 mile-per-hour top speeds.

1913 saw substantial improvements resulting from dealer and racer input, both clamoring for more horsepower and the replacement of belt-drive with chain-drive. By 1912 the factory had responded with both changes. What's more, the newly designed frame placed the rider closer to the center of gravity for safer and more precise handling.

The motorcycle gold rush was on and, with a total of 13,000 singles and twins built, Harley-Davidson's production and profits were up. The 1913 model year also saw the debut of the "5-35" motor, so named because of its rated horsepower and cubic inch displacement. It was available in either belt- or chain-drive, the latter of which is pictured here. The single also benefited from the development of its big brother V-twin, resulting in the addition of mechanically operated intake valves, light alloy pistons and improved Schleber carburetor. It was literally music to the racers' ears, especially with its muffler-less race exhaust. The engine also ran more smoothly thanks to factory balancing of the flywheel and rod and piston assembly. Another interesting attribute was the incorporation of the crankcase breather as an oiling device for the primary chain, a bit of Milwaukee ingenuity referred to as the "engineering leak."

Sold only to "favored" individuals recognized by the factory, the 5-35 Single Racer saw many victories in road and amateur racing in the hands of privateers across the country and helped establish a winning tradition that would continue into the following decades. Formerly part of the esteemed Joe MacPherson Collection in Tustin, California, this particular example is equipped with magneto ignition and with its rakish downturned handlebars, abbreviated fenders, and cut-out exhaust pipe, it vividly (and loudly) proclaims its "racer" status. Built to competition trim and remaining in excellent condition throughout, this 1913 Harley-Davidson would make a dynamic addition to any vintage racing collection. Please note this motorcycle is being sold on a bill of sale only.
Keywords: 1913 Harley-Davidson Racer


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