A Harley in Every Boat House
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.
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.
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!