1942 Harley Davidson EL knucklehead

Here is an old 1942 civilian registered Harley Davidson EL motorcycle, often referred to as a knucklehead due to the view of the engine rocker boxes from the right side of the motorbike looking like 2 clenched fists resembling knuckles. The knucklehead is a much desired bike especially pre or early war vintages. Harley stopped civilian manufacturing around January 17 of 1942, this gives you some idea of the rarity of these older machines.

Bob - 2012


As time goes on I will try to obtain the history of this particular motorcycle and record it here.


1942 Harley Davidson EL
61 cubic inch

Original Photos and Advertisement


For sale is a meticulously restored, vintage, war era 1942 Knucklehead EL (engine number 42EL19## matches title ID). The bike was purchased at a Bonhams and Butterfield  “Sale of Collectors’ Motorcycles” on Saturday, November 8, 2003 in Los Angeles, Ca. (The auction catalogue and photo is included). The bike is one of several from a collection previously owned by a Hawaiian dealer and collector.

The bike was professionally restored and has been garaged and well maintained since purchase.The bike looks fantastic and runs even better. This bike is reportedly only 1 of less than 650 EL's produced during the war years for civilian consumption.

The Brilliant Black bike runs and drives great and displays even better. The bike is comprised of many original HD parts including the frame & matching case numbers.  Foot clutch and hand shift with gate works smooth. Kick start with manual advance, starts very easy-cold or hot. 6 volt system with new Harley battery, includes 6 volt trickle charger. Lots of chrome and a Linkert carb with j slot air cleaner cover. Bike will come with a clear HD title and a reprint copy of service manual for 1940-1947 Knucklehead,

Transporting from Seattle and arrival at new home - 2012
Some initial photos, lots of ridding this summer


A number have changes have now been made, the footboards were changed out to OEM with the correct rubbers, the brake petal was also exchanged for an original. I found a great score on a luggage rack for this Civilian model, they are very similar to the war racks but do not have the holes and side piece, very hard to find this accessory. The speedo was re-done and is absolutely correct for the bike, it has also the correct original dash and fittings, all reworked by my friend Perry Ruiter. I have taken off the aftermarket toolbox and installed a very original one. The seat springs were changed to suit my weight and a nice seat pin was added. The front marker light was questionable so the correct one was obtained and its also installed. Will get some photos up this winter as time permits. Still want to aquire and add a set of Buckhorn bars and a nice seat saddle style. The correct muffler is patiently waiting to be wrencghed on, other than that there is not much I will change, its a rider and performs exceptionally well.




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