Which Pans are most valuable ?

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Which Pans are most valuable ?


Post by wantapanrealbad » Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:05 am


As a guy who does not yet have a Panhead I have been following a lot of auctions and classifieds finding that prices vary quite a bit. Assuming however that the condition is equal, what years are the most valuable (read expensive) ? I would assume 1948 and 1965 but is a 1956 for example worth more than a 1962? Are the rigid year more desirable than the Duo Glide years or is it all about the same?



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Post by panhead » Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:40 pm

As far as I can see the rigids are more valuable than the swing-arm versions (probably apart from the 1965 model).

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Post by john HD » Mon Oct 23, 2006 3:38 pm

i would have to agree the non swing arm models command higher prices.

since there were many one or two year only features in the 50's all of them are rare.

it does seem the anniversary models in 54/55 do go for a bit more.


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Post by mogman » Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:36 am

Before you lay out one thin dime on a Panhead do allot of research, buy and read “How to restore your Harley-Davidson” by Bruce Palmer II, Greg Field also has some interesting literature, I wish I had gotten this advice before buying my 58 Duo-Glide (My birth year so this decision was easy), as I had the “deer in the headlight” syndrome and later found that not much was actually correct for a 58. I have spent several years finding and correcting most of these errors and still have some ways to go!!!! I say this because if you are interested in the value of different year models I am assuming you are looking for a correct machine……

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Post by wantapanrealbad » Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:26 am

Hi Mogman - thanks for the reply.

My favorite tank is the 51-53 but I really like all the rigids. I was talking to a fellow I know this spring about a 82 Shovelhead that I just retored and I stated that I really wanted a Pan and that I would probably sell the Shovel. He said he had a 56 that he would be willing to sell (a basketcase) and I invited myself over to have a look at it.

I should mention that this person with the 56 is a collector and restorer of old bikes and has a fabulous collection and more projects than he could finish in a lifetime. He is a really great guy too.

Anyway the 56 was really a collection of parts he had amassed over the years. The heads looked real good and had a fresh valve job (I don't know what year heads they were). The tanks were 56 and looked to be in very good shape and had a nice shifter with it (handshift tanks). The transmission looked like a fresh rebuild and was correct for handshift. The front end had the correct tin but it was actually early Shovel (brake drum on the right). The frame was ex chopper and the steering neck had been sawed out, there was however a repo steering neck with the pile. The frame could be fixed. The rear fender was repop, front fender was missing. The speedo probably needed to be rebuilt but looked to be in fine shape and correct for 56. Most of the engine internals were in coffee cans, my experience says you can't use most of the engine stuff anyway (worn out). The flywheels were correct and the rods looked to be rebuilt. Cylinders and heads a fin or two broken. The right case looked real nice, the left case was a 57 that had been repaired but not finish machined (no way to tell if the repair was a good one). Handlebars were shot, came with a police solo (fair shape). Had a tombstone tailight in fair shape. Had exhaust headers but no muffler. Bike now has a title.

I have redone basketcaes before (two Indians and the aforementioned Shovelhead) and I know they are a painful and expensive way to go. The brightside is you know exactly what you have when you are done and its a perfect as you want it to be. I definitely have the "deer in the headlights" syndrome. I want to jump on the 56 project because its winter and I need a project, unfortunately I will have to sell the shovel at a huge loss to proceed (its a beautiful Shovel, please let me know if you know of anyone who is looking for one). I do not know what the fellow has to have $$ for the 56. I do have Greg Filed's book (great book).

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Post by wantapanrealbad » Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:38 am


I really don't care about originality. I am fine with piecing together my favorite years of everything i.e. rigid frame, engine with hydraulic lifters, tombstone tailight, seargent stripes, bologna slicers. I can live with the front brake drum being on the wrong side. My guess is the basket case is worth $3k.

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Post by fourthgear » Tue Oct 31, 2006 6:10 pm

Seems to me that they only made non electric start swing arms for seven years and hard tails for ten, are you all sure that hard tails are worth more or there just more available. And yes I like them all , the 65's are probably worth the most, but my back thanks me every time I ride my swing armed Pan( the buddy seat helps too ) , just my two. Have a fun trick or treat day :twisted:

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Panhead value


Post by Skip » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:05 pm

what about low numbers...does that add to the value...mine was the 808th one made in 1948...DB.

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Post by shaker » Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:11 am

just my 2 ct. but if i had not bought one yet i would look for the chopper king, 1949 fl , unchopped of corse . 1st year hydra glide , they can be a pain to restore because of all the one year only parts and all of the stainless steel , but they look nice when your done and they are very desirable with collectors . and bring a good price if they are right when it comes time to sell. again just my 2 .. Shaker



Post by Guest » Tue Nov 07, 2006 4:45 am

I think the year that is worth the most is what someone is willing to pay. let's face it, everybody has a different idea of what beauty is. If you were talking concours judging, I think any bike that is original will fetch higher marks and price than a piece meal, no matter how beautiful it may be. Even a survivor in mediocre shape may get higher points and value than another that has been restored. Typically the first and last year of any production model are more sought after, hence the 48 and 65, but the 54 is also up there for price and collectability because of the anniversary model. Look at what a front fender emblem alone will fetch. The 57 is the end of the rigid area and the 58 the first of the duoglides. 65 of course the end of the entire production line. This fellow wanted a 58 because of his birthday, so you see what I'm getting at. Value is in the mind and wallet of the buyer in many cases.

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Post by Pantony » Wed Nov 08, 2006 5:23 am

I would certainly echo with the first and last year of any bike, look what 36EL's are going for. I bought my 48 that had 31,000 original miles but needed a total restoration over a restored but not correct 41 FL, the 48 was all correct save for the handlebars and exhaust. True I would have just got on the 41 and just drove it but there were many parts and the frame which were not correct for that year. It was very nice but when you got down to brass tacks it was a Hienz 57 and would always be, the 48 after i got done is worth something and I have more satisfaction with it because all the work is paid off in the fact that it is mostly ALL original and correct. Add to that it's the first year pan, and a lot of one year only parts on it too.


WHAT YEAR PAN IS MORE VALUABLE! Here's your REAL answer!!!!!


Post by 1950bobber » Thu Nov 23, 2006 1:00 am


My suggestion....buy your BIRTH YEAR Bike, assuming your birth year is before 1966! That way, it will mean something special to YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was born 1950, searched quite a while for the right deal but bought a 1950 FLH Panhead...do I give 2 shits what anyone else thinks is the best Pan? NOPE!!!

Sure, I'd like to fill my stable with many different year Pans...because of looks, because of mechanical upgrades, because of rarity...so on, and so on!!!

Think about it....bet you wouldn't go wrong with a BIRTH YEAR PAN and even find that year years license plate and run it if your State allows it!!!!!!!!

Jim in Seattle "1950 Bobber"

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Post by Michael_Germany_1956 » Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:58 am

I like the 1954 Anniversary Hydra-Glides, I own a 1954 myself, but a lot of parts are still missing... :(

You Panhead-Lovers will love this one: http://www.chromeclassics.com/1954_hd_fl_cop.html

Email for price and availability.
:shock: :lol:



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Post by Pantony » Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:26 am

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Post by Panacea » Sat Feb 03, 2007 7:54 pm

I know where there is a 50 el that is very much correct, except for the chrome dampener knob and tool box. If it was a 74" I'd seriously consider buying it, but I'm unsure as to the 61" motor. The guy wants 21,000 for it. Lots of cash for sure but the bike is almost perfect. Mike

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