1945 Harley EL Knucklehead: Rare, Stunning War Era Survivor

Daily Slideshow: This bike is one of just the few Knuckleheads that were produced during wartime.

By Robert Bacon - March 14, 2019
1945 Harley EL Knucklehead: Rare, Stunning War Era Survivor
1945 Harley EL Knucklehead: Rare, Stunning War Era Survivor
1945 Harley EL Knucklehead: Rare, Stunning War Era Survivor
1945 Harley EL Knucklehead: Rare, Stunning War Era Survivor
1945 Harley EL Knucklehead: Rare, Stunning War Era Survivor

1945 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead

Regardless of if you're into sportbikes or cruisers, the majority of motorcyclists want to own a classic iconic bike. With that in mind, if you're a Harley-Davidson fan, it doesn't get much better than a 1945 EL Knucklehead: this is arguably Harley-Davidson's most coveted street model. There are very few 1945 ELs still in existence because production was so low during the war. That's part of what makes this beautifully restored motorcycle such a rare and wonderful find; this bike is a survivor and one of only 398 ever made.

A Long History

The fact that this is a rare civilian war-era bike is amazing on its own, but the EL also plays a big role in Harley-Davidson's history. This model was launched in 1936 and was the company's first overhead-valve big-twin roadster. Nowadays, motorcycles get incrementally better as the years pass but, back in the 1930s, it was a different story. This iconic bike was a huge leap forward for Harley-Davidson motorcycles, both in terms of performance and practicality.  

>>Join the conversation about this 1945 Knucklehead right here in the Harley-Davidson Forum!

A Great Engine

What made the EL so groundbreaking when it launched in 1936 was undoubtedly its overhead-valve all iron 61 CI engine. This was a truly modern engine for the time which was made even better by Harley-Davidson's first fully recirculating oil system. The motor spun freely and made the EL an exhilarating ride, it also meant that this bike could cruise at 60 mph all day without any negative consequences: something which wasn't taken for granted in the 1930s as it is today. This motor was paired with a new duplex frame and 4-speed gearbox. So not only did it run better than anything that came before it, it handled better too. 

>>Join the conversation about this 1945 Knucklehead right here in the Harley-Davidson Forum!

Well Maintained

Of course, reliability is a major concern for anyone who's thinking of buying a restored classic motorcycle. Luckily when Frank Gorzny took ownership of one of the most sought after Harley-Davidson street models ever, he intended to keep it in pristine condition. This motorcycle comes with piles of service receipts dating back to 1977 which are sure to put prospective buyer's minds at ease. Over the past 74 years, this motorcycle has amassed a mere 48,201 miles. So the bike has been enjoyed rather than locked away in a garage, but it hasn't seen an excessive amount of time on the road. 

>>Join the conversation about this 1945 Knucklehead right here in the Harley-Davidson Forum!

Brass Tax

So you're looking at one of the rarest Harley-Davidson's you'll find on the roads today. This bike isn't just running, it's in immaculate condition with the service receipts to back it up. Everything about this machine sounds wonderful, except for the price; if you want to be the proud owner of this 1945 Harley EL it will set you back somewhere between $85,000-$100,000. For those who want to do their own research on the bike, its engine number is 45EL1421. If any of you are seriously considering purchasing making an offer, head down to Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson in Phoenix, Arizona. This writer just hopes whoever becomes the new owner of this beauty will give it as much love as Frank Gorzny did. 

 

>>Join the conversation about this 1945 Knucklehead right here in the Harley-Davidson Forum!

For help with service of your bike, check out the how to section of HDForums.com.

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