Is it a 48 or a 56?

Information on the identification and numbering of frame, motor belly, transmission and other parts
Post Reply
Posts: 362
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 3:04 pm
Location: North-East Ohio
Been thanked: 3 times

Is it a 48 or a 56?


Post by Ohio-Rider » Wed Dec 26, 2007 4:23 pm

This panhead is titled as a 1956FLH, yet it has the 8 ribbed gear cover and a 48(zirk is from the side) springer. Can anyone I.D. the year of this straight leg frame. Something here seems fishy to me. -Steve


Posts: 522
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:45 pm
Been thanked: 5 times


Post by panz4ever » Wed Dec 26, 2007 5:20 pm

Prior to 1970, HDs were titled by the engine (vin), didn't matter about the frame. Vin is on left engine case, betweeen and slightly below cylinders on engine boss. So, if she is titled a s a 56 the engine number should read something like 56FL3100.

john HD
Posts: 3695
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 7:24 pm
Bikes: '42 WLA X 2, '55FL, '93 Ultra Classic, '91 Fatboy, '97 883, '03 Rokon Trailbreaker, '83 GPz 750.
Has thanked: 52 times
Been thanked: 77 times


Post by john HD » Wed Dec 26, 2007 5:33 pm


it certainly looks like a '55 '56 '57 frame. i think i can make out a neck lock. the top motor mount is pan style for sure.

are there any letters or numbers stamped on the carb side of the top motor mount?

that will help narrow down the month/year of manufacture.

i would not be too concerned if it has 56 cases on it. the cam cover and springer are easily swapped parts.

post some more photos it might help narrow it down! there are some minor detail like the size of the coil mounts that are particular to '55 but not '56 or '57.


Posts: 882
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 1:00 am
Been thanked: 61 times


Post by VPH-D » Wed Dec 26, 2007 6:53 pm

It looks like a 56 with the wrong forks and cam cover. The crankcases are not 48, notice the tappet screen plug.

Posts: 362
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 3:04 pm
Location: North-East Ohio
Been thanked: 3 times


Post by Ohio-Rider » Wed Dec 26, 2007 8:29 pm

Thanks for the info guys. I guess the stainless steel fork lock and 3/8 coil mounting blocks should have told me all I needed to know about the frame but its always nice to have a second opinion. Thanks again.

Posts: 1006
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 5:52 am
Location: Sultan, WASH
Been thanked: 2 times


Post by mbskeam » Wed Dec 26, 2007 10:47 pm

I like the look of the 8 rib cover better, its all in the look you want.


Post Reply

Return to “Identification”