Amazing Unrestored 1938 Knucklehead Set for Auction

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1938 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead

Time-warp Knucklehead heads to Bonhams annual Las Vegas motorcycle bash with only two owners.

The “original, unrestored condition” phenomenon has already driven the price of collectible cars through the roof. And now, we’re seeing the same thing happen with motorcycles. We’ve officially reached the point where originality matters more than perfection, and patina is perfectly acceptable. And this is no more evident than in the lineup headed to Bonhams’ 8th annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction, taking place on January 25.

Among the many incredible bikes set to cross the auction block, this stunning 1938 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead is certainly the most intriguing. The EL amazingly remains in unrestored, original, and running condition. Not only that, but it’s enjoyed only two owners in nearly eighty years. The current owner purchased the Knucklehead from the original owner’s son, who had previously inherited the classic ride.


Clearly, this is one vintage bike that’s been well taken care of over the years. And yet, the auction estimate of $50,000-$60,000 still seems rather palpable. But this is due to the fact that vintage Harleys are still pretty underappreciated in the collectible world. We doubt that trend lasts forever, however. Which makes this stellar Knucklehead a solid long-term investment.

And while we’re contemplating making a withdrawal from our kid’s college fund, we’d suggest checking out all the rest of the fine two-wheelers headed to the Rio Hotel & Casino stage this year. As always, the lineup is chock full of amazing rides looking for a new home. And this is just the preliminary list. Judging from last year, we’d guess there are plenty more to come.

But no matter what hits the block, this very much original 1938 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead is the early favorite as the star of the show! Even with nearly 80 years of patina, grease, and dirt still intact!


Brett Foote is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts.

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