Create your own blog: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=17487

Is this engine number kosher?

All flathead topics
Post Reply
old man emu
Posts: 651
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:00 am
Bikes: WLA Mk lll, civilianised
Location: Narellan Vale, New South Wales, Australia

Is this engine number kosher?

#1

Post by old man emu » Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:41 am

A bike with this number has come up for sale in Australia.

According to the "Liberator" site, the engine number would belong to a Type VII built between September '44 and August "45. I'm pretty sure that by that stage of the War, the USA wasn't bringing new stock into Australia. Most of the Lend Lease bikes coming into Australia were Type III's.

I'm suspicious of the "6" and "9" which seem to have been punched with the same die.
enine no..jpeg
enine no..jpeg (90.41 KiB) Viewed 310 times



RUBONE
Moderator
Posts: 4929
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:09 am
Bikes: Multiple H-D, Ducati, BMW, Triumph, BSA,...

Re: Is this engine number kosher?

#2

Post by RUBONE » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:09 pm

That is a factory number. The 6 and 9 are the same stamp just flipped 180 degrees. Not all bikes in Oz were brought there by the US military, a lot has happened in the last 70 years!!

Buddhahoodvatoloco
Site sponsor
Site sponsor
Posts: 731
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:13 pm
Bikes: 1969 FLF
1937 EL Sold
1949 rat bike Sold
1946 FL Sold
Location: san diego

Re: Is this engine number kosher?

#3

Post by Buddhahoodvatoloco » Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:00 pm

Good looking set of numbers, Straight back "9" & "6", beautiful. Sheriffs look spot on as well.

liberator
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:27 pm
Bikes: A few...

Re: Is this engine number kosher?

#4

Post by liberator » Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:17 pm

As others have said already; this is a legit factory-stamped motor.
And although the entiretype VII productionrun went to the former USSR...they have ended up all over the world some 75 years down the line.
I'm interested in casenumbers and tag-combination.

john HD
Moderator
Posts: 3674
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 7:24 pm
Bikes: '42 WLA X 2, '55FL, '93 Ultra Classic, '91 Fatboy, '97 883, '71 Suzuki Duster 125, '83 GPz 750.

Re: Is this engine number kosher?

#5

Post by john HD » Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:42 pm

Emu,

The number you posted looks legit, I have two from the same 68,000 range. The 6 and 9 are the same as what I have.

Liberator,

you stated all type 7's went to the USSR, can you cite a source for this info? Not doubting you, just curious.


john

liberator
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:27 pm
Bikes: A few...

Re: Is this engine number kosher?

#6

Post by liberator » Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:12 pm

It's right there in Palmer's book John...page 179;

" ...the recipient of this contract's motorcycles was the Soviet Union through Lend-Lease...."

42WLA68549 should have casenumbers up in the 45-11thousand range, and the tag can read both A5 or B5 I guess.
Since mine was produced in Februari of '45, this engine was put in a bike early April...the number would have been used in the 32nd week of production starting from Sept 1st 1944..

john HD
Moderator
Posts: 3674
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 7:24 pm
Bikes: '42 WLA X 2, '55FL, '93 Ultra Classic, '91 Fatboy, '97 883, '71 Suzuki Duster 125, '83 GPz 750.

Re: Is this engine number kosher?

#7

Post by john HD » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:26 am

Liberator,

Yes it does say that, however later on it says that on V E Day the contract was cancelled and shipments en route were returned to ordnance supply depots. In total there were 22,549 requested in the contract. The contract was cancelled on Aug 16 1945 leaving 729 uncompleted at the factory. Palmer states they were completed as civilian models and sold. I wonder if the one I found here in Wisconsin was one of those.

My Palmers "How to restore your military Harley Davidson 1932 to 1952" is a first edition, I found the info on page 83/84. So by that it is possible not all of them made it to the USSR certainly not the ones that never left the factory.


john

liberator
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:27 pm
Bikes: A few...

Re: Is this engine number kosher?

#8

Post by liberator » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:33 pm

I doubt if those unfinished 729 were given the 'WLA'-prefix in the VIN...
If they were finished and sold as civvies, my guess is they'd be given '45WL'-VIN's...

Those sold in (surplus) auctions were true WLA's and had a proper VIN.
But who knows? I wasn't even there then...

Anyway, my type VII was rescued from a russian barn and found its way via the Lodz-market (Poland) to the Netherlands..

john HD
Moderator
Posts: 3674
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 7:24 pm
Bikes: '42 WLA X 2, '55FL, '93 Ultra Classic, '91 Fatboy, '97 883, '71 Suzuki Duster 125, '83 GPz 750.

Re: Is this engine number kosher?

#9

Post by john HD » Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:36 pm

Lib,

Yes interesting question, if the contract was cancelled in August and the bikes released you would think they were sold in '46. Curious what the case and belly numbers would reveal on those bikes.

Emu,

Any luck getting the belly numbers off the cases you posted?

john

old man emu
Posts: 651
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:00 am
Bikes: WLA Mk lll, civilianised
Location: Narellan Vale, New South Wales, Australia

Re: Is this engine number kosher?

#10

Post by old man emu » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:56 pm

Very interesting that this bike could have been part of the Russian consignment and ended up in Australia.

Here are some pictures of the bike:
red wla 1.jpeg
red wla 1.jpeg (99.47 KiB) Viewed 154 times
red wla 2.jpeg
red wla 2.jpeg (97.14 KiB) Viewed 154 times
red wla 3.jpeg
red wla 3.jpeg (84.86 KiB) Viewed 154 times
The bike is up for sale at $AU 24,000 ($US17,800), but I'm not telling you where it is because I don't want' you guys stealing our bikes!!!

liberator
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:27 pm
Bikes: A few...

Re: Is this engine number kosher?

#11

Post by liberator » Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:12 pm

What are your plans with this bike?
Bringing it back to military specs is going to cost you, cos all the specific parts are gone..
Even the front fender is wrong for a type VII.
$17k is not outragious, but still a bit steap..I'd pay some 4k less.

old man emu
Posts: 651
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:00 am
Bikes: WLA Mk lll, civilianised
Location: Narellan Vale, New South Wales, Australia

Re: Is this engine number kosher?

#12

Post by old man emu » Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:45 am

I'm not buying this bike. I was just curious about the engine number.

There is are four types of WLA owners in Australia
1. Those who want to make their bikes "factory fresh" as it came off the production line in the 40s
2. Those who want to leave their bikes with all the patina they have gathered over the years - just fuel 'em and fire 'em.
3. Those who want to remove the military additions and add personal touches like chrome and colour - that's where I am.
4. Those who want to chop and change and make the bike look ridiculous and unridable - May the fleas of 1000 camels infest their groins.

I have a list of all the WLAs that were used by the Australian Army during the time the bikes were considered useful to it. I am slowly (very) transcribing the list to a searchable format, and hope to be able to make it available this Christmas (one year late from my original plan)

$AU24,000 is about the current price here for a WLA in the condition of type 3 above.

liberator
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:27 pm
Bikes: A few...

Re: Is this engine number kosher?

#13

Post by liberator » Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:06 am

Over here in the Netherlands we have the same four groups if you like as anywhere on this blue planet.
The last few years so it seems interest in (fully restored) mil spec WLA's (and WLC's) are rising; older civillionized bikes are brought back to there former glory...maybe the 75th memorial of D-day has some part in it..I don't know.
Because of availability of WLA's here, both from local dumps or from russian sources, prices are somewhat lower than elsewhere.

Speeding Big Twin
Posts: 883
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:29 am
Bikes: H-D
Location: Western Australia

Re: Is this engine number kosher?

#14

Post by Speeding Big Twin » Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:51 am

OME, in the late-70s--early-80s I bought and sold eight 42WLAs (and a 43WLC). With some of my WLAs I would fit in with your second type of owner: ‘Those who want to leave their bikes with all the patina they have gathered over the years - just fuel 'em and fire 'em.’

With some of my other WLAs I would fit in with your fourth type of owner as far as those who want to ‘chop and change’ is concerned. However, the WLAs I chopped and changed never looked ridiculous and unrideable and the same applies to WLAs chopped and changed by my friends here in Western Australia in those days.

Re the engine number at the start of this thread, it looks okay to me and the characters appear consistent with factory stamping for a 42WLA in that range. I’m interested in why you were suspicious of the 6 and 9. What did you think was wrong? Were you expecting something other than that straight-back style? And were you expecting those two characters to be different types to each other? Thanks.

Below is an example for comparison.
Eric

42 WLA 69+++.jpg
42 WLA 69+++.jpg (98.61 KiB) Viewed 78 times

old man emu
Posts: 651
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:00 am
Bikes: WLA Mk lll, civilianised
Location: Narellan Vale, New South Wales, Australia

Re: Is this engine number kosher?

#15

Post by old man emu » Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:49 am

My suspicion was more along the lines of caveat emptor. As I said, I'm not interested in buying the bike - well I would like to buy another one, but don't have the "principle" to generate the "interest".

My question was prompted by the high number. Most of the engine numbers I have been transcribing have been much lower, indicating that the bikes arrived in Australia in the early years of the war.

Post Reply

Return to “Flathead and Servicar”