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Old 11th August 2012, 04:43   #16
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Default Re: Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin

Congratulations. Is this bike by any chance from the RE showroom owner's from Agra. I had seen this exact model, perhaps this very bike, at the Agra RE showroom. The owner's father owned it before him. I also have a couple of pictures of this bike somewhere. I will try to dig them out.

Congrats once again.

I found them. Here are the pics..
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Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin-image010.jpg  

Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin-image011.jpg  


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Old 11th August 2012, 11:36   #17
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Default Re: Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin

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Originally Posted by damasthebiker View Post
So finally I got my hands on a 1942 HARLEY DAVIDSON WLA 750cc V Twin.
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Originally Posted by kasli View Post
Isn't this from Agra or Ajmer not sure its was a while back. In the show room of some bike dealer.
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Originally Posted by novice_alto View Post
Congratulations. Is this bike by any chance from the RE showroom owner's from Agra. I found them. Here are the pics..
Yes, I'd seen it too, two years ago at the RE showroom in Agra. I was also told that it was passed down from the earlier generation, but I think they also said that it wasn't for sale or maybe I'm remembering wrong (of course sometimes this is a ploy also, to increase attraction!!). Or maybe a huge price was quoted, just can't remember now. Wasn't there on a buying trip anyway, just accompanied the group of friends who knew about it. Nice bike though!
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Old 11th August 2012, 12:04   #18
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Default Re: Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin

Congrats on your aquisition.
Now there is a dilema for you.
Do you restore the bike to original HD condition, or do you also keep those accessories which came on the bike over the years. Remember, when the Nizams Rolls which was modified was returned to original condition for the Cartier event, lots of folks opined that they should have left it as modified by the Nizam.
Whatever you do, great going.

Cheers harit
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Old 13th August 2012, 16:55   #19
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Default Re: Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin

Thanks a lot all of you for showering so many compliments in this monsoon time! Aquiring this has been a milestone in my life since I have been wanting to own one of these since I was a teenager. Anyways first I will answer each of your questions and then let you know about its history.

@KPS : I experienced the Express way this weekend(in my car) and I must say its a fab stretch what they built there - I am still running my HD on trial basis on weekends so I guess it will still take some time to get on the Express with it. As the distributor is not OEM the bike tends to heat up on long runs(is a bit Advanced), though it doesnt stop or anything my legs do get to feel the heat as though I am sitting near a tandoor!!

@Ironshark : The ride quality is quite raw and nothing compared to the new age bikes or for that matter any other vintage british bikes which I own and takes a lot of practice to master it - considering the fact that:
Clutch is on the Left foot and that too fixed type - it doesnt disengage by itself with the help of springs!!
Brake is on the Right foot
Gear is on the Left Hand
Throttle on the Right hand
Retire and Advance setting is on the Left hand

@FerrariKSA : Yes I do have the original Key but the switch is not working any more so I had to change it with a temporary switch.

@Tuffryder : The bike runs quite well and is a GUZZLER for petrol! I have reached upto 50 miles per our on the highway - braking at that speed is very tricky - I must admit! And yes it not meant for Indian traffic condition - you really need open and free roads - A newbie would definately have a problem handling this beast around!

@download2live : Yes I bought in India and from my City only(Agra). Everything in this bike is original and intact except for the distributor. Lets not talk about the price .

@Kasli : yes its the same bike from Agra.

@Dzired : Photo shoot done by a professional will follow very soon.

@infotech58 : Its not a Jaguar Logo - it just a walking Lion, it was there when I bought it and I kept it there as I am a Leo. I like it!!

@DKG : I will upload a video soon but you must hear the sound in original - theres nothing like it - believe me!!

@ Dussey : Thanks

@Novice Alto : Yes its the same bike from the ex RE dealer in Agra.

@Harit : I will keep it the way it is - its just perfect for me! I have also collected a lot of stuff which matches its condition (raw and really vintage)

Now to the History:

The bike was owned initially by Indian Airforce personel who had bought it from an army auction in 1951 he got it restored it ground up(as it is today) in 1952 he used it as his daily transport for almost 9 - 10 years before he sold it to a gentleman named Mr. Akhtar who used to own the dealerships of many british bike brands in those days, as a matter of fact this bike was also serviced at his service center on regular basis. Mr. Akhtar added a sidecar to this bike(because of his big family) which he retained till 1973 and later removed it and sold it off. Since the british bike brands were disappearing one after the other the only brand which he could retain was RE he concentrated on that and went on to become one of the most important dealerships in Northern India.
He started condsidering this bike lucky as it was only after its arrival that the RE business touched new heights, by this time he became a owner of multiple cars and the HD took to rest - but not in the junkyard but right at the entrance of his shop - it became the face of the shop and everybody knew it was there. It was very popular amongst the bike circuits in and around Agra. The Bike used to fire on every Eid when Mr. Akhtar used to take it for a spin around the busy Baluganj area of Agra(mainly a two wheeler spares market) and used to park it back with all respect at the same place. This was the only two times every year when this bike came to life for a period of over 30 years. Mr.Afthar had stopped using it as a regular bike in 1978!

Cut to mid 1990s - I was a teenager and a bike enthusiast I had a two wheeler of my own and used to visit this area on many occasions. My Brother in law was a Bullet fan(he still is) and used to buy a new bullet every year without fail this was the reason he had great relation with Mr.Akhtar and his sons(who had now started taking care of the shop more or less) I happened to go at the shop with him and took a fancy on this HD. 1995 I passed my 10th Exams with a good result and now I was in a position to ask for a better bigger bike, after looking for a lot of RD350s I decided for brand new RE Machismo which was much more relaible than a second hand RD 350(with no service possibilities in Agra). This was unconsiously the first step towards this HD. I used to visit the dealership very often and even modified my RE taking a lot of design quese from this HD. Mr. Akhtar and I used to chat at lengths about his experiences with this HD the bonding developed and remained. He used to tell me how the people from HD USA had offered him a new bike in exchange for his bike( how much of this is true I dont know).

I went off for further studies and later for work and settled in life till 2010 when the inner urge of being a biker took over again. I started collecting the old british bikes but the ultimate remained a HD and an Indian Chief. I had seen about 3 HDs for sale(same model) but non of them matched the condition of this one and yes I did extensive research on WLAs before I purchased it. In 2011 unfortunately Mr.Akhtar passed away his families´ situation changed his youngest son passed away in an accident they lost the dealership and finally the other two remaining brothers wanted to seperate and this is how I got this deal.

I aquired this bike on 27th October 2011 but had to keep this under wrapes because the owners didnt want it to go public as it was a matter of their family legecy and the documentation would take time. Now that everything is settled the photos are infront of you.

The bike had not run or fired up for almost 5 years - the tyre had dried up and were not road worthy anymore. The carburator was all choked and dirty. The battery was missing(doesnt start without a fully charged battery). Although the bike was cleaned everyday in their showroom it hardly ever got a thorough clean up. It took me almost a week to start the bike -I must admit it was very frustrating as I was despaerate to ride it. Even more frustrating was that inspite of hearing its sound I could not ride it for almost a month as the dynamo was not working and and small 6v battery from the Bullet was discharging very soon. As soon as it started and we took it out for a ride the battery died and it would refuse to start. On the other hand the carburator started troubling - I remembered Mr.Akhtar telling once that a foreigner who had come to see this bike had stolen the air mixture pin of the carburator although he had replicated the pin it was not working quite that well.

The uneasiness inside me started getting worse that was the time when I decided to make a list of items which had flaws and I ordered them in USA. To my pleasant surprise the spares arrived within a week but unfortunatey I had to leave for work for about ten days. Anyways my mechanic kept on doing the job. I came back on the 23.11 and on the 24.11 after small refinements and reseting I was all set to ride it. The sound was incredible the first ride was very unique and it had me all confused but then after 5 minutes it made me feel like the king of the road!

The first 2 pictures in starting of the thread are the initial pics of the bike as I got it - you would notice the longer front seat(called Buddy seat) the rear seat was hand made on the rear carrier another back support is also visible. I striped it down - removed the rear seat, carrier and back support and replaced the buddy seat with a single seat, replaced the front wind screen, replaced the battery, changed the tyres and tubes etc etc ... The pictures with the front wind screen on are the latest ones as I am riding it now. I am still on a lookout for a original distributor which isnt coming my way even in the USA.

That about it I guess for now! Any queries - I would be glad to answer.!
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Old 13th August 2012, 17:36   #20
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Default Re: Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin

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Originally Posted by DKG View Post
Wow what a fabulous bike ! Congrats

Do please upload a video of the bike idling, would love to hear the engine's sound
Lovely bike and great patina.

DKG is it not the same as the one in Chow Mohallah ?

Now an Indian also like the one in Hyd would make this bike great company
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Old 13th August 2012, 17:44   #21
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Default Re: Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin

What wonderful machines and Wasif I think you are right

Cheers


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Originally Posted by wasif View Post
Lovely bike and great patina.

DKG is it not the same as the one in Chow Mohallah ?

Now an Indian also like the one in Hyd would make this bike great company
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Old 13th August 2012, 17:57   #22
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Default Re: Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin

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Originally Posted by kasli View Post
What wonderful machines and Wasif I think you are right

Cheers
Even this bike seems to be quite intact for its age with a few extras(see indicators) - where is it?? Up for sale??
I am still looking for a Indian Chief if any one can help me!!
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Old 13th August 2012, 20:10   #23
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Default Re: Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin

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Originally Posted by damasthebiker View Post
The ride quality is quite raw and nothing compared to the new age bikes or for that matter any other vintage

Everything in this bike is original and intact except for the distributor.

@Harit : I will keep it the way it is - its just perfect for me! I have also collected a lot of stuff which matches its condition (raw and really vintage)

Now to the History:

The bike was owned initially by Indian Airforce personel who had bought it from an army auction in 1951 he got it restored it

On the other hand the carburator started troubling - I remembered Mr.Akhtar telling once that a foreigner who had come to see this bike had stolen the air mixture pin of the carburator although he had replicated the pin it was not working quite that well.

I am still on a lookout for a original distributor which isnt coming my way even in the USA.

That about it I guess for now! Any queries - I would be glad to answer.!
First things first, Congrats.

No wonder the ride quality is harsh, rear end being rigid
These bikes never had a distributor. It only had a point on a plate which will rotate for retard and advance. A kind of circuit breaker cap over the breaker points with a lead going to the HT coil which had two outputs to both Spark plugs. Both spark plugs should fire at the same time one on compression stroke and the second on the exhaust stroke, that second one being a watsted spark. Someone has fitted a distributor on this engine. Maybe you need to look at electronic ignition for the bike

Is it possible to see photos of the left side of the bike.


Quote:
Originally Posted by harit View Post
Now there is a dilema for you.
Do you restore the bike to original HD condition, or do you also keep those accessories which came on the bike over the years.
Whatever you do, great going.

Cheers harit
Harit question for you, What would you do? restore the bike like an original or keep it as it were. By the way never knew that the Indian Army had HArleys. I'm thining there must be some stories out there about this too.

Cheers

Last edited by deutscheafrikar : 13th August 2012 at 20:14.
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Old 13th August 2012, 22:59   #24
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Default Re: Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin

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Originally Posted by wasif View Post
DKG is it not the same as the one in Chow Mohallah ?
Quite possibly. I didn't note the engine number on the Hyd bike so wouldn't know for sure. I suppose even if we compare the pictures one can tell?
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Old 14th August 2012, 10:09   #25
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Default Re: Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin

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Originally Posted by damasthebiker View Post
Even this bike seems to be quite intact for its age with a few extras(see indicators) - where is it?? Up for sale??
I am still looking for a Indian Chief if any one can help me!!
That bike and this Indian are in Hyderabad in the Nizam's collection on display at Chow Mohallah Palace....sadly not for sale.

We tried to buy both the bikes for over 20 years but couldnt get anywhere with the sale

A better pic of teh Harley is also attached. Is it the same model as yours ?

Both bikes sport the last Nizams favourite color
Attached Thumbnails
Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin-indian-nizam.jpg  

Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin-nizam-harley.jpg  


Last edited by wasif : 14th August 2012 at 10:10.
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Old 14th August 2012, 11:53   #26
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Default Re: Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin

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Originally Posted by kasli View Post
What wonderful machines and Wasif I think you are right

Cheers
Quote:
Originally Posted by wasif View Post
That bike and this Indian are in Hyderabad in the Nizam's collection on display at Chow Mohallah Palace....sadly not for sale.

We tried to buy both the bikes for over 20 years but couldnt get anywhere with the sale

A better pic of teh Harley is also attached. Is it the same model as yours ?

Both bikes sport the last Nizams favourite color
The Indian seems to be a Ex Army "Scout" (750cc version) looking at the leafspring front suspension, bigger Rim size, thinner tyres and lighter mudguards(without side covering) and the Harley seems to be the 1200cc version - note the shining heads of the engine and the smaller Rim size - it is probably a civilian model because civilian models had smaller Rims. Even the timing cover is different and the head light is mounted higher on the forks - these are all signs of Civilian model. Not sure though.

I had seen a similar 1200cc Harley for sale long time back.
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Old 14th August 2012, 14:10   #27
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Default Re: Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin

The world is quite a small place. I had clicked these pictures way back in December 2003. Congratulations on your acquisition.
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Old 14th August 2012, 14:37   #28
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Default Re: Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin

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...............Harit question for you, What would you do? restore the bike like an original or keep it as it were. By the way never knew that the Indian Army had HArleys. I'm thining there must be some stories out there about this too. Cheers
Well, I would remove all that non original stuff, the added accessories, place them in a box and hope for the box to get lost because I won't have the heart to throw away that stuff. I would revert to original.

About the army, I thought that all the army bikes were those which were later converted to those Rikshas in Delhi, made from army disposal bikes. Is my thinking correct?

Cheers harit
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Old 14th August 2012, 15:35   #29
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Default Re: Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin

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Well, I would remove all that non original stuff, the added accessories, place them in a box and hope for the box to get lost because I won't have the heart to throw away that stuff
About the army, I thought that all the army bikes were those which were later converted to those Rikshas in Delhi, made from army disposal bikes. Is my thinking correct?
Cheers harit
Well said
Okay that sounds so much like the stuff I have in boxes in my garage. Now about those Rikshas I never knew that they came from the army disposal bikes. Didn't give it a thought but just today wondered when I saw Julians thread with the same. Maybe you're right. I would love to see a photo of these bikes in the Indian army. Always thought they used RE. Sajid had a HD WLA just like this a few years ago, it was silver and kept in a house of someone near almeida park. That person even painted the cables with silver paint as he/she brushed it each year.

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Old 14th August 2012, 15:51   #30
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Default Re: Finally a HOG! My '42 Harley Davidson WLA 750cc V Twin

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Originally Posted by harit View Post
Well, I would remove all that non original stuff, the added accessories, place them in a box and hope for the box to get lost because I won't have the heart to throw away that stuff. I would revert to original.

About the army, I thought that all the army bikes were those which were later converted to those Rikshas in Delhi, made from army disposal bikes. Is my thinking correct?

Cheers harit
Yes, you are right there were a lot of harleys(from the Army) in India.They mainly came to India through the English - Cananadian/American connenction in the WW II , these were used as despatchers and escorts and never were really used in real combats. I remember hearing from my uncle who was with the Indian National Army - S.C.Bose and later ran a machining job shop in Kanpur telling me he had ridden many of them after India´s independence. They were in abundance but after a while they were not loved as they were bulky guzzlers, parts were difficult to find and he even told me that people used to bring these bikes for repairs and never came back to pick them up because of high repair bills. This was the time when some smart guy invented the Fatfatiya(as they were called in Delhi). There used to be small time agents from all over India who would come searching these bikes and pick them up for as low as 2000 Rs - for a person who anyways wanted to get rid of these bikes it was a lot of money those days. Their chassis were chopped from the rear(behind the front seat) and attached jeep chassis. This is the reason why such harleys with intact chassis are really hard to find. Most of these which are available today for sale have welded/fabricated chassis.
The same was the fate of BSA M20s in Gujrat where they made similar vehicles
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