1963 Harley Davidson Police Trike Survivor

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Continuing our salute to those men and women in police uniforms, we have this extremely original 1963 Harley Davidson Servi-Car with only 28,883 original miles showing. It’s available here on eBay where bidding is spirited, but there is a buy it now of $23,500 if you just have to have it right away! Although the bike began it’s life with the Fullerton, California police department, it’s now located in Bohemia, New York.

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Now that is a cool profile. I’m sure there’s some reason it has wires on the front and discs on the rear. Anyone know? Considering that I have a less-than-great sense of balance, I’d be the first one of the motorcycle police in line for this one when duties were handed out. I love that this one still has all the period gear! The engine is said to start on the first kick, and was rebuilt in 2001. The transmission was rebuilt in 2006.

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Here’s the view you’d have going down the road!  And let there be no doubt that this IS a “Police Special”.  I wonder if that means it’s got a calibrated speedometer like police cars? The only issue the current owner speaks of is to possibly replace the lower exhaust manifold pipe–the one that’s on now is the original one.

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The trunk is actually amazingly large considering that it’s a bike. The seller has had this unusual machine at a lot of shows where it’s won many awards. Several members of the Davidson family have mounted the bike, and it’s been featured in several magazine articles. It’s been judged to “Winners Circle Status” at the AMCA (Antique Motorcycle Club of America) meet, which is the highest rating, despite still wearing all it’s original paint, emblems and trim. The seller says it only gets a couple of miles a year now — is that what you would do, or would you ride it more than that? I think my local police department would get a kick out of seeing it on the road!

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Comments

  1. Roselandpete

    I remember seeing those when I was a kid back in the early 60’s. Chicago cops would ride up and down Michigan Ave. I always thought they were so cool.

    • hhaleblian

      You’re right. I forgot about Chicago’s finest riding these trikes.

  2. Jim S

    All Servi Cars had steel wheels on back and spokes on front. They just used standard motorcycle parts for the front and sourced off the shelf wheels from a supplier for the back. Keeps costs down by not having specially built parts for a limited production unit

    • Terry

      Actually the early Servis had spoke rear wheels. A buddy has a 1936 equipped that way.

  3. Dave Wright

    My dad had one at his shop they used to return customer cars. They would tow it to the customers house, deliver the car and ride the service cycle back to the shop. I think it was a 45 cu inch engine and it had a reverse gear.

  4. hhaleblian

    Hinsdale Il in the 60’s had Officer George the meter man driving on his “ice cream truck” aka this bike issuing parking tickets. Most hated man in Hinsdale though I’m sure there were others. He didn’t care. He was a crusty sob.

  5. Howard A Member

    I’ll comment later. Site is unbelievably slow. Why is that?

    • American_Badaz

      With this many cop cars around, you have to slow down!

    • Stephen

      I agree Howard A. Lately it’s been a pain in the butt viewing this site.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      The site has been getting more traffic lately so our server might be reaching its limits. We will see what we can do. Thanks guys!

  6. brakeservo

    With the single front wheel I have to wonder just how unstable this thing is – I’d think it’s probably harder to turn and corner than a two wheeler or a ‘reverse trike.’

    • Eric Hare

      If it is anything like riding atc’s in my younger days they are fine until you try high speed cornering, or braking while cornering. You definitely needed to use body english.

  7. RayT Member

    I remember seeing these around when I was a kid (long time ago!). They were mainly used by the parking enforcement patrols as far as I remember, and not by the real motor cops. So I wouldn’t guess a calibrated speedo would have been too useful.

    Nonetheless, I really like ’em. A few mechanics in our area used them to pick up/deliver customers’ cars, as Dave Wright said above.

    I’d pass on this one. Aside from the price, the originality and overall condition of this one is too rich for my blood. I’d be better off with a Servi-Car that had done some civilian use and had (with apologies to Jamie) some patina.

  8. DREW V.

    Must have led a rough life if both the engine and tranny required rebuilds after only 28.000 miles??? Makes me wonder if that mileage is right …

  9. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    I see it is equipped with the fire extinguisher that kills……. very appropriate .

  10. JW

    Pretty dam cool !!!

  11. geomechs geomechs Member

    Mine was similar to this one only older. Mine still had the springer front end but I don’t think they changed anything on the engine except to upgrade to an auto advance. i think even the ’73 models still used the Linkert carburetor. Mine also had the shifter and spark advance on the right and the throttle on the left, like the Indians. A reverse was absolutely mandatory as these bikes were far from light.

    Selling mine was another of those lifetime regrets. I knew where the buyer lived and visited him every time he was home (he worked off-shore drilling in the Indian Ocean) trying to buy it back. The trike sat in the back yard next to the garage UNDER the eaves so the rain and snow dripped down on the dash for close to five years. One day I stopped by the house and found it vacant; the buyer’s mother had passed on the buyer moved somewhere else. I found out (to my relief) that he’d sold the trike to the owner of the local HD shop who has since given it a complete restoration. Very nice although I still wish it was in MY garage…

    Like 1
  12. Howard A Member

    OK, how about at 3:30 am? ( 5:30 on the east coast) Sorry, just incredibly frustrating when the server doesn’t respond. I guess it shows how popular the site is. Anyway, these were very popular in Milwaukee in the 60’s. ( during the riots, I remember them painted black) I read, these had no rear suspension, as it proved unstable, and is still chain driven. The rear track width is 42″, the same as most cars at the time, so it could be pulled with a “Cycle Tow”, and the rear wheels would follow the ruts of the car. ( remember, it was designed in the 30’s) They were for more mundane police tasks, parking enforcement, traffic cop, parades, and freed up a cruiser to do the high speed stuff. I think it’s just amazing they used that flathead motor until the end. I believe the same motor that helped win WW2. Great find, and great piece of history. Thanks for a great feature on police cars. ( although, you missed the best police cruiser of them all, a 5.0 Mustang SSP). https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/29/1987-1993_Ford_Mustang_Police_Car.jpg

    • Howard A Member

      OOps, I think the early ones had rigid rear suspension. Clearly this has springs. One thing I am kind of sure of, is I think the siren ran off the front tire.

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Howard. I think they were hard-tails right to the end. The box/trunk had suspension including shocks and it looked kind of weird when driving down a rough road because the trunk appeared to be floating while the bike was bouncing all over the place. If that siren ran off the front wheel it couldn’t have been very loud because the wheels would never run very fast; I think mine topped out at 55. You might have gotten a better response putting a card in the spokes and using a bicycle bell on the handlebars…

      • Howard A Member

        Hi geomechs, come to think of it, any time you saw one, the trunk was jiggling. I’m sure the siren was driven off the front wheel, as the angle was so, that it rubbed the sidewall. That small hand lever on the left handlebar, I believe, raised and lowered the unit to come in contact with the wheel. If I remember, they made a heck of a noise, when moving, of course. As far as the “card in the spokes”, make sure you use a dud guy. No Mickey Mantles or Hank Aarons in the spokes.

  13. John Hess Member

    They were cool, especially in the old day’s before helmits. They were VERY unstabile, even W/body english, didn’t want to take a corner/curve too fast, they’d roll on top of U. Had to keep the knob on the front end tight as the front wheel wanted to wiggle-waggle. As was sed, was used mostly for traffic control, funerals, parking enforcement and minor police work, all this in NICE weather. I rode one for about a year, got boring, went back to a squad car.

  14. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    My buddy has a Guzzi cop bike, two wheeler, CHP bike if I remember right. He had to get permission from the constable to ride it in the Memorial parade. Living in Wisconsin, well maybe because it was a Guzzi instead of an H.D. cop bike.

  15. JohnD

    Used to see these in the Mardi Gras parades growing up in Nawlins in the 70s. That big rumble and flashing lights of the Harley formations made quite an impression.

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