Eric - Legend verification

Information on the identification and numbering of frame, motor belly, transmission and other parts
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Re: Eric - Legend verification

#31

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:42 am

john HD wrote:hey eric,

did you happen to see this one? http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Original ... 35b52d77bb" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

a friend of mine in spring green is selling it.

wonder if it helps the theory of 1000 or 1001?

john
Yes, I had seen the 53K on eBay. Does your friend know it's been discussed on FlatheadPower? I don't think he'll like some of the comments there.

I think there'll be a 53K somewhere with number 1000. And that isn't a theory. I have factory photos showing number 1000 on two prototypes: one V-series; and one TA. And a photo showing 1000 on a 46 Flathead was submitted by Herb Wagner in the winter 2009 issue of The Antique Motorcycle. I've mentioned before that Herb talked about Harley using layout sheets that indicated numbers for certain years started at 1000 and I've posted one such sheet below:
1931Layout.jpg
It's from a publication I recently bought from H-D which is called 1930 thru 1949 Models: Operation Maintenance Specifications. There's a second layout sheet that shows the 1000 start number for the 33 V-series and it's further mentioned in the book on a specification sheet dated August 8, 1932. The 1000 start number is also mentioned on specification sheets in the book for some other years and series: 36 V-series; 37 Knuckles; 37 U-series; 38 U-series; and 40 U-series.

I notice in your friend's ad that he states the following: '... These were the first K-Model engine cases off the assembly line in 1953!' Do you know why he thinks numbers began at 1001 for 1953? What is his opinion based on? Eric
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Re: Eric - Legend verification

#32

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:06 am

1950Panhead wrote: ... interesting spacing on the vin, fonts match other 53's, 1 has a foot (Eric, I have a 53 vin with no foot on 1, two types of 1 in 53?)
Tell barn fresh to list some of his vin 1000 bikes, Eric thinks there are 94 of them except none have been seen except for three factory prototype photos.
Jerry
Regarding engines with number 1000, a couple of things need to be straightened out:
1. I did not say the amount you have attributed to me. You are the person who said 94. At first in another thread you said that from 1930 to 1956 there should be at least 51 VIN 1000 bikes. I said I disagreed with that minimum.
Later you said this: ‘Count is 94 VIN 1000 bikes and not one has been seen, except three (counting Herb's) factory prototype photos. Statically getting close to not possible, unless, of course, they never left the factory. Even if one was found it would be an exception.’
So the amount you are now attributing to me was your second estimate. I did not say I agreed with your second estimate. As a matter of fact, I questioned you about your counting of the B-series lightweight and the S-series lightweight as if they were in different engine families. And I explained why I thought they were in the same engine family as each other. Therefore it is obvious I did not agree with your total of 94. But that does not mean that you can now adjust the total accordingly and then attribute a further apparent new total to me either. Think about it.
2. Neither Herb nor I said that the photo used by him in The Antique Motorcycle was of a prototype. I told you I would ask Herb on CAI about that bike. Did you not read that and his subsequent reply?

In another thread on this forum I said I could not explain why we have not seen more VIN 1000 machines but we know that was the start number for many years because we have official H-D references to it such as the layout sheets. And I said in June that Herb Wagner knew of a mention re the 1000 start in the Q&A handbook by your Uncle Frank (Revised Army Edition 1945), page 177 which stated that all Harley-Davidson motor numbers start off a new season with 1000.

We have factory photos showing some prototypes had number 1000. And we have factory photos showing some prototypes did not have that number. Some protos did not even have an engine from the model year they were representing and I supplied evidence of that previously. Did you not read it?

Do you believe the layout sheet I posted above? Do you believe the three machines I spoke of with number 1000 were made? If not, why not?

Regarding the 53K on eBay, I think the reason for the space between the K and the first sequence character is because whoever did the stamping was aware that the machining of the area immediately surrounding the top crankcase stud hole could compromise any characters stamped too close to that area. You will see similar spacing applied to some other machines at times but not always.

You said you have a 53 VIN with no foot on the 1. And I am not surprised. Because 1s do not have a foot. And neither do other characters. What some characters do have at the base is a horizontal serif. And some serifs at the base are wider than others. The 1 and the other characters in that Model K serial number appear to be the usual types for the K-series. But the 1 is a different type to the 1 used that year for Panheads and Servi-Cars. The 3 and the 0 are also different to the types used for Pans and Servis that year. Maybe even the 5 is different too but I am not sure yet. Anyway, the characters in the 53K serial number appear to be the usual types for the K-series.

For serial numbers, Harley used at least one type of 1 that had no serif at the base and I have examples of it from around 1920–23 but I have not seen it in a factory-stamped serial number for 1953, regardless of model. Can you post a photo of the 53 VIN you have?

While on the subject of 1s, Palmer makes specific mention on page 8 in his 32–52 military book regarding the alleged year the 1 changed from one type to another. But he got the changeover point wrong by about three years. And the book gives the impression that was the only change to the 1 over the years covered (32–52). But the book is wrong about that. And there are other problems with serial number info on that same page. Eric

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Re: Eric - Legend verification

#33

Post by 1950Panhead » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:56 pm

Eric,

VIN 1000:
Count is 94 VIN 1000 bikes and not one has been seen, except three (counting Herb's) factory prototype photos.
Statically getting close to not possible, unless, of course, they never left the factory.
Even if one was found it would be an exception.
This statement still summarizes by belief and position. I made the estimates, the evidence points to B and S being separate
vin series, I have read all of your posts, thanks for posting.
I formed these conclusions from the lack of evidence. My guess is a few prototypes were stamped 1000 but the man stamping
the vin started at 1001 regardless of what the layout sheet says. This is a reasonable explanation, I have no proof, only based on the lack of vin 1000 bikes today.

1953 vin:
I have a photo of a 53FL where the 1 has no foot, horizontal serif, nothing on the bottom, this may be an exception, I
want to look at the other fonts some more.
I've noticed you block part of the vin when you post photos and did not post vin numbers when we were checking legend
ranges. Why is this?
So the 0,1,3,5(possibly) K stamps differ from panhead stamps for 53? Is this what you are saying?

40's Legend verification:
My research on the 42 to 45 W series vins has been slowed by other activities. I will eventually post results.

Jerry

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Re: Eric - Legend verification

#34

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:45 am

We know a few prototypes were stamped 1000 because we have factory photos to prove it. We know some prototypes were not stamped 1000 because we have factory photos to prove that, too. But now you're guessing that whoever stamped the numbers disregarded the layout sheets for multiple years? Why? Because you've only been told of three machines with number 1000?

You're basing your opinion on the lack of VIN 1000 bikes today so I've applied similar thinking to pre-1957 examples I have of VINs 1001-1010:
1001: Three examples. One is known to have started life as a prototype for its own year and it's known to have been used as a prototype for at least one later year.
1002: Three. One is a prototype that remained a prototype. It is the bike incorrectly referred to by Palmer as 35EL1002 when in fact there is no L in the serial number.
1003: Maybe one, maybe none. It is said to be a factory photo but I can see hardly anything on the number boss. IF it's the prototype it's alleged to be then it would have remained a prototype because it's alleged to be another 1935 Knuckle.
1004: One.
1005-1007: None.
1008: One.
1009-1010: None.

What do my above examples, or lack thereof in some instances, tell us? Do my examples mean there were only three machines stamped 1001 prior to 1957? No, they don't. Does the lack of examples of 1005-1007 and 1009-1010 mean that no machines were stamped with those numbers prior to 1957? No, of course not. So I disagree with your guess that only a few machines were stamped 1000.

Have you read Herb Wagner's 1930-1941 book? In it he describes how he spoke to some of the guys who worked at H-D and he mentions the assembly process. Serial numbers started at 1000.

Regarding the B-series and S-series, in the other thread I told you that the results of my fifteen combined examples were spread over five model years and the result was inconclusive. If the B and S turn out to be different engine families to each other that will be fine by me but at the moment we do not know one way or the other. And regardless of the B and S outcome, your estimate of a possible 94 remains incorrect because you included a non-existent 1933 U-series and I explained previously that Legend was probably in error about that because the machine described was probably meant to be a 33VFS. And if you look further you'll find other problems with your estimate of 94. Remember, Legend admits its own info is not totally accurate.

Regarding the 1 in your 53 VIN photo, now that you've said it's an FL I'm beginning to wonder if you got it from a certain web site? But regardless of where it's from, if you post the photo I'll give you my opinion.

The 0, 1 and 3 used for the 1953 K-series are different to the types used for Panheads and Servi-Cars that year. The Servi at below left is a good example of the 1 and 3 for 1953 and Pans used the same types that year. Notice the Servi 3 has a vertical serif at top left but the K-series 3 is sans serif. The Servi 1 has a wider serif at the base than the K-series 1. The top serif on the Servi 1 is slightly different to the top serif on the K-series 1. The 1 in the 49 Pan at below right is the same type as the Servi 1 but I included the 49 mainly to show how its 0 appears to be an elongated type. Pans and Servis for 53 also used that same elongated 0 whereas the K-series 0 appears to be more of a rounded version. Also for 53, Servis and Pans used the same 5 as each other. I think the K-series 5 may be slightly different and that's something I'm still looking into. Sometimes you'll even find that two examples of the one (same) character can look different to each other depending on how they were struck.
53G1Copy.jpg
49FL10Copy.jpg
Why do I cover some characters? See the 36-64 board on CAI for a thread last month called Some questions: VIN "secrecy" and various cylinder head. I posted several times in that discussion. Eric
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Re: Eric - Legend verification

#35

Post by 1950Panhead » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:49 pm

VIN 1000:
The layout sheet says... Someone who worked in the factory once said... Herb said... A donkey on the side of the road said...
Eric, I'm from Missouri and I need proof. Without the bikes there is no proof and without proof I don't believe it.

1953 vin:
If you saw a 53FL photo on a website without a foot it is probably the same photo.

40's Legend verification:
We may be stuck on the vin 1000 issue, however we can determine how accurate the Legend numbers are.

Jerry

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Re: Eric - Legend verification

#36

Post by john HD » Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:23 pm

so close yet so far away!
1955 factory prototype.jpg
john
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Re: Eric - Legend verification

#37

Post by FlatHeadSix » Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:54 pm

OK, let's pour a little more gas on the fire. Jerry Hatfield did a lot of research on the Harley lightweights and obtained the original factory prototype photos that were were produced by the Pohlman Studios. He still owns, and rides, a 1953 Model ST. Here are the factory photos of the first year 125cc (Model S) and the first year 165cc (Model ST) prototype bikes used for the promotion pictures, pictures for the Rider's Handbook, etc. Both of them are 1001, was there a 1000?, who knows!

Photo thanks to Jerry and the Harley-Davidson Motor Company

mike
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Re: Eric - Legend verification

#38

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:46 am

Quote: 'The layout sheet says...'
I figured you'd react something like that, Jerry. And maybe you'll now be wondering why I mentioned the sheets again, and Herb's 30-41 book. Earlier in this thread you said the following: 'Eric, I tend to believe Legend, Palmer and Hatfield are true even though I know all of them have errors.’ But if you believe Legend then what you are doing is believing a Harley employee who admitted to Palmer that some records were missing and that the production numbers were not double-checked. Said employee apparently didn't even realise that the overall total for 1942 production didn't make sense. Et cetera.

Yet you don't believe what's written on Harley factory layout sheets and factory specification sheets? Your guess is that the man stamping the numbers started at 1001 (apart from a few prototypes) but you haven't given any reason(s) why he would go against the sheets. I don't believe he went against them but you guess he did so no doubt you'll be able to explain why.

Quote: 'A donkey on the side of the road said...'
When did this happen? What did it say? Just the fact that it spoke would have made me listen, although I wouldn't necessarily have believed everything it said. I'd believe a wombat, though. And 'd believe a platypus, too.

You say you need proof (that more bikes were stamped 1000) although you haven't offered any evidence that they weren't. But I don't think you really believe your own alleged opinion. I think you agree there were plenty stamped 1000 but you've got yourself into a position where you can't admit it. 8) Anyway, you say you tend to believe Palmer so here's what he says on page 7 of his 37-64 book when demonstrating how like models were grouped together and numbered sequentially in that group:'.. the first bike down the line September 1, 1941, might have been a WLD model marked 42WLD1000, the second bike down might have been a WL marked 42WL1001, the third bike might have been a WLC marked 42WLC1002 and so on.'

Do you believe Palmer's example about the first bike of that engine family being number 1000? Yes? No? If you don't believe him then why not? Have you contacted him about the captions in that book which refer to bikes with number 1000? You could ask him what is visible in those photos. And in the text of his 32-52 book he mentions a factory photo of 50WLA1000 so you could ask him about that bike, too.

Quote: '... we can determine how accurate the Legend numbers are.'
I disagree. What I have determined is that some Legend numbers are inaccurate.

Below I've posted the 53FL I mentioned:
53FLxxx.jpg
I do not think it’s a factory stamping and one of the clues is the 1. Is this 1 the character you said may be an exception? If so then why did you think that? For a 53 Panhead did you not also see anything unusual about any of the other characters? If you got the photo from the web site I did then I advise you to exercise caution when you visit that site. Some photos such as this one have no mention of whether or not they are factory stampings so viewers have to try to figure it out for themselves. And some photos are not described properly—for example, on the first page of numbers you’ll see blue crankcases and you should immediately notice a problem with the description of the serial number. And there is a second problem with that same description which is not so easily spotted. Eric
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Re: Eric - Legend verification

#39

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:56 am

Mike, thanks for the photos. For Big Twin prototypes I have clear photos showing 1000, 1001, 1002, 5054 and 721+ so that would seem to indicate that Harley had no set procedure for which number engine was used in a prototype. And H-D didn't always use an engine from the year the prototype represented, for example, the 721+ engine was used in a 54 proto even though the serial number clearly shows the engine was a 52.

Do you know Hatfield? If so, then I wonder if you could ask him why in his 1903-45 book he described 35E1002 as the second 61 OHV built. Because if numbers started at 1000 then he should have called it the third 61 OHV built. If he really believes it was the second 61 OHV built then I’d like to know what his opinion was based on. Eric

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Re: Eric - Legend verification

#40

Post by Sapper07 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 3:58 am

Hello, Would you know the vin numbers for any WLA sent to the soviet block countries like Poland?

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Re: Eric - Legend verification

#41

Post by liberator » Thu Sep 17, 2015 1:49 pm

The Red Army (Russia) received mainly type IV to VII WLA's.
I've seen lists with specific numbers, NOT there VIN-ranges...
Almost all known type VI and VII's were send to Russia, even if you found one in Sweden, Poland or France..

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Re: Eric - Legend verification

#42

Post by 58flh » Thu Sep 24, 2015 1:41 pm

ERIC----Thanks for keeping it REAL!/--Respectfully---Richie

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