Modern Day WWII Motorcycle Replicas on Display
by Jason Giacchino
Harley Davidson, America, Captain America – it sort of all goes hand in hand. Apparently Hollywood has made the connection too, as indicated by the fact that H-D got the call to design five custom motorcycles for the upcoming Captain America film from Marvel Studios.
Last year Harley-Davidson began working with Marvel Studios to supply the cycles for the movie, which traces Captain America’s origins as a World War II-era soldier who happened to be mounted upon a military motorcycle when he wasn’t saving the world.
To handle the arduous task of turning a modern bike into something that could pass as genuine WWII equipment, fellow Wisconsin-based Salvaggio Automotive Design, a company known for classic car restorations, got the call. The company modified current Harley-Davidson Cross Bones models to resemble 1942 WLA Army motorcycles. “The Motor Company” produced roughly 70,000 of these during World War II. All five bikes were completed by September 2010 in time for shooting in London.
What’s particularly interesting is that many of the parts required to
make the bikes look as authentic as possible were actually recreated by
Salvaggio based on the original bits. Among these, an ammunition box
and leather gun scabbard, while other WLA military bike details were
matched exactly, such as the dashboard assembly and taillights. Even
the paint was matched to the 1942 olive drab used by the actual military
The good news for H-D fans is that you don’t have to wait until the film opens July 22 to get a look at these modern beauties, as they have found their way to a new exhibit at the Harley Davidson museum. The exhibit not only shows off the motorcycles themselves, but some of the other props from the film, including Cap’s leather jacket, helmet and shield.
And while the Captain America exhibit itself, which opened July 1, is a temporary draw, two of the motorcycles will become part of the Harley-Davidson Museum’s permanent collection.
For more on this and the many unique exhibits at the Harley-Davidson Museum, click here.