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HD Dealerships back in the 70s and 80s

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Old 09-12-2017, 11:07 AM
5gear 5gear is offline
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Default HD Dealerships back in the 70s and 80s

here's a question for the guys that have been riding since the 70s and 80s.
i've heard that years ago there was such a demand for harleys, dealers would have a hard time getting bikes. also heard bikes would often sell for more than list price, and dealers generally wouldn't let people test ride bikes.
is this true? just curious
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:17 AM
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It's true.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:20 AM
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People put their names on a waiting list at many dealers and gave their preferred color. A buddy got one of the ugliest bikes I ever saw (some kind of orange). He said there was no wait for that color so he got one within months of waiting.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:22 AM
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Anyone have an actual timeline of that? From my recollection - it was a relatively small window in the early '90s that trimmed off gradually for a few years. Did it start in the '70s?
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:23 AM
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Oil stained wooden floors, with drain pans under brand new bikes. Back then the parts guy actually rode and knew his parts. Now it's just some nerd that doesn't know a compensator from a rocker arm.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:24 AM
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In 1978,I bought a 77 Superglide.It was 1 of a total of 2 bikes my dealer had in stock at the time.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:26 AM
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70's and 80's? Damn, I had to wait 9 months for my ride in 2001.

There has been many times where you took what they had or waited. Now they build so many that dealers are full, and some have bikes over a year old. If HD continues to slide profit wise, I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't go back to the old ways of reduced inventory.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JesseDyna View Post
Anyone have an actual timeline of that? From my recollection - it was a relatively small window in the early '90s that trimmed off gradually for a few years. Did it start in the '70s?
Not in the '70's or early 80's. When I bought a new bike in '82 I got to pick out the one in the showroom that wasn't leaking oil.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:28 AM
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Back in the early 70's I test rode both bikes I purchased, a 72 Sportster in 74, and my Shovel in 75. The real difference I experienced was my dealer was a friend to bikers in every sense. Rode with us, actually let me borrow tools to install a part in the shop one afternoon. The showroom floors were hardwood, oil soaked hardwood. The place was great. Counter talk sometimes got risky, unless there were women present. Not many women in the shop, dealer's wife was usually around, but didn't see her much. It felt almost like a clubhouse at times, especially before closing on Saturday afternoon. Every run started in the parking lot. Advice from the wrenches in the shop was free, and those guys could turn a wrench. Their bikes were the best running bikes around. Good times for sure. No food, no fancy clothing. Just black t-shirts and maybe a coke from the coke machine in the corner. Never felt like a customer, felt like a member. I miss those days for sure.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JesseDyna View Post
Anyone have an actual timeline of that? From my recollection - it was a relatively small window in the early '90s that trimmed off gradually for a few years. Did it start in the '70s?
I couldn't afford a Harley in the 70's or 80's, but I have the same thought about the early '90's. I recall all the noise about one year or more wait times, and prices way beyond MSRP.
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