finding origin of -54 Pan?

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finding origin of -54 Pan?


Post by nilspe » Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:08 pm

I´m a proud owner of a -54 Panhead that I think was imported to Sweden fron the US sometimes late 80´s.
It hit me that it would be interesting to know where it was first sold, who stepped into the shop and kicked it over the first time?
Is it possible to get a hold of such information?
Has anyone got any ideas on how?
I would really be grateful for some ideas.
Best regards!

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Re: finding origin of -54 Pan?


Post by Hog54 » Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:21 pm

I would make sure the numbers are good before you go flaunting them around harley davidson first.Especially since it was imported.Alot of renumbered bikes get imported. :roll:

Post a pic of the vin and make sure. :wink:

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Re: finding origin of -54 Pan?


Post by nilspe » Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:36 pm

Thanx for the info, I´ve tryed to look on Harleys website to get som sort of email-adress to get in touch but nothing, but no, just a oneway comunication.
But I will post a pic on the vin.

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Re: finding origin of -54 Pan?


Post by RUBONE » Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:20 am

You are basically wasting time trying to contact H-D. They have few records of anything before '57 and not much more after that time. And practically no one who is even willing to try to help! They did not care about saving any of that info so it is basically gone! Some date codes on your bike (do a search for threads or look in the knowledge base) will tell you when certain parts were made such as the frame , cases, heads etc. But there are no records showing what dealer received it, what equipment was on it, or who it sold to. So unless original paperwork came with it, you are pretty much out of luck. Sorry, but that is just how it is!
Another '54 owner

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Re: finding origin of -54 Pan?


Post by Hauula Pan » Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:54 am

Tracing past vehicle owners is extremely difficult if not entirely impossible. Each State has its own motor vehicle department and a bike that old has most likely been sold many times over. Each time its sold a new title is issued to the new owner and most departments don't keep records past 7 years, some states only go back 3 and if a vehicle registration isn't kept up to date & renewed each year it will eventually be dropped from the system. Harley can't help because they don't keep records of who buys the bikes and the dealers only keep them a short time. In the best case scenario if the bike was only owned by a few people & you were able to contact a previous owner they could possibly tell you who they bought it from & where etc. But that's very rare and with something that old you'll probably run into a dead end. But that's about the only way, it would have to be traced back through the previous owners. A word of caution, a lot of bikes that left the States & are now in other countries were stolen & either the whole bike or as is more likely it would have been stripped & the parts scattered & sold. So #1 make sure you have plenty of documentation that proves the bike or parts of it are all legal before you go making inquiries. Best of luck if you do try, you might uncover some interesting history. (Here's one example, I've owned my 1952FL for 34 of its 59 years, I remember where & when I bought it but not the name of the person I bought it from, & since I've had it so long any record of the previous owner no longer exists in any files, so unless I could remember the guy's name I bought it from the trail pretty much ends with me.)

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Re: finding origin of -54 Pan?


Post by cdndewey » Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:05 am

Check out this link to have a look at some numbers and you can compare yours." onclick=";return false;

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Re: finding origin of -54 Pan?


Post by nilspe » Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:03 am

Thanx everyone for all the info and it seemes to me that my mission is impossible more or less.
I´ll have to check with the previous owners here in Sweden to try tracing it back to the guy who imported the bike, where he bought it.
I guess the trail ends there.
There where a lot of bikes imported from the states and Belgium during the 70´s and 80´s
If I remember right the bike where more or less a chopper when imported.
But anyway, the soul of the bike is intact :D
Thanx again everyone for your time and knowledge!

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Re: finding origin of -54 Pan?


Post by Speeding Big Twin » Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:44 pm

nilspe, I just sent you a PM.

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Re: finding origin of -54 Pan?


Post by Bob Farr » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:53 am


Don't give up. Not yet anyway. Each state in the U.S. has its own record keeping systems. Some are great, others are notoriously crappy. If you can trace your title/VIN history back to the import point and identify which state in the U.S. it was last titled in you may be in luck.

My home state of Michigan happens to have a very good system of recording the history of a title/VIN, right back to the dealership it was sold from (if originally sold in Michigan). The forms are all available online, though the search is done manually in our state capital because many old records have not been scanned into digital format.

Most states in the U.S. handle their vehicle titling either through their Secretary of State office or through their Department of Motor Vehicles. Many of these agencies have web page. If you can get as far as identifying which state you can do a lot of the research from home. If you're lucky enough to discover it was last titled in Michigan then get in touch with me and I'll help you with the rest.

Bob Farr
Michigan, USA
'54 Pan

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Re: finding origin of -54 Pan?


Post by nilspe » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:57 am

Thanx Bob and the rest of you with all the good ideas!
There´s still hope then I guess?
I will look into it right away and try to locate the guy who imported the bike.
There must be som paperwork there that says where the bike was bought.
Depending how things work out, I´ll get in touch.
I will also post the result in my investigations here on the forum, could be interesting to know.


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