A Harley in Every Boat House

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It’s well known that over the years, the Harley-Davidson name has graced a number of vehicles that were definitely not motorcycles. Everything from golf carts to rocket engines have borne the bar and shield, but perhaps one of the lesser known is a boat produced in the early 1960’s by a company called Tomahawk.

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In 1962, Harley-Davidson purchased 51% majority interest in the Tomahawk Boat Company located in none other than Tomahawk, WI.  The goal was not to move into the watersports market, but to gain a facility to produce fiberglass motorcycle parts as well as bodies for that golf cart I mentioned earlier.

By the 1960’s, saddlebags and sidecar bodies were being produced from fiberglass, so this move actually made sense and allowed Harley to produce 100% of their fiberglass parts in house.  Within one year, Harley had ceased production of watercraft altogether at the Tomahawk facility and had completely bought out the company by 1965.

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Harley still owns and operates the Tomahawk facility to this day but the fiberglass has been replaced with injection molded plastics.  It’s a shame that Harley stepped out of the boat manufacturing market so quickly.  I can only imagine how cool it would be if Harley produced a boat that was powered by a pair of twin cam engines.  Plus it would be the only legitimate excuse for having your Harley on a trailer!

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