Here’s a nice winter project for any of you vintage/classic motorcycle folks. It’s a 1964 Harley-Davidson Topper and it’s small enough to not take up your whole garage during the restoration, yet cool enough that you won’t feel embarrassed actually riding it in public. Or, some of you won’t, I know that I wouldn’t be, I could care less what anyone else thinks about my rides! Thanks to Pat L. for sending this tip in. This Topper is here on craigslist with an asking price of $500 or offer and it’s in Iola, Texas, about 100 miles northwest of Houston. Toppers were built in Milwaukee and this isn’t one of the bikes that Harley imported and rebadged as a Harley-Davidson so you’ll have some street cred when you ride it to Sturgis.. with your propeller hat and short pants. Just kidding, they aren’t frowned upon like some bikes are given that it’s an American-made actual Harley-Davidson, albeit a small one.
That first photo is pretty much the only real photo worthy of showing this nice project. The remaining ones are detail photos and a couple of them are blurry, like this one showing the odometer with 4009.6 miles on it. Could you imagine riding this l’il Harley scooter for over 4,000 miles?! Since the oil has to be pre-mixed with the gas, that’s a lot of work, but it’s something that we just did in those days. I was only two years old when this bike was made so I mean, it was something that we did, and do, with bikes of this vintage. Unfortunately, you won’t be riding this one any time soon unless you’re coasting downhill, there is no motor with this one! Here’s a YouTube video of a Topper tearing up the streets.. just so you’ll know what it’ll sound like when you plan your cross-country trip. Barn Finds fan and commenter, cyclemikey, has done an extended trip with a small bike before, probably more than once, so it’s definitely doable. Get out there there and experience the slower, scenic two-lane roads and it’ll make for some fantastic memories.
That embossed seat cover is nice and everything is original here. The seller says that the motor was missing when they bought it for a project and they never got around to restoring it. The missing power would have been a 165 CC two-stroke, single-cylinder mounted horizontally between the floor boards. Some of them developed heating problems because of it being enclosed and not having a fan to cool it. The Harley engineers and designers thought that being mounted low like that would be ok with enough air passing over it, but it wasn’t the case for some of them. You’ll have to source an engine, but everything else looks like a straightforward restoration project here. These Toppers can sell for $3,000-$5,000 easily in restored condition so this could be a nice project. I’ve always wanted one of these, have any of you owned or ridden a Harley-Davidson Topper?