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Barn Hog: 1930 Harley-Davidson VL


Harley-Davidson has a long history of building road devouring motorcycles, dating all the way back to 1903. By the ’30s, their motorcycles had evolved from simple bicycles with engines strapped to them to purpose built road machines. Given the hardtail design of this VL, things were still a bit rough, but they were getting more comfortable for those long distance rides. It looks like a great bike though and would be an awesome project. Find it here on eBay in Grant, Florida with a current bid of $7k.


You don’t have to be a motorcycle fan to appreciate this one! It’s just such a simple and great looking bike. The flathead engine is said to be complete, but hasn’t run in many years. Hopefully it still cranks over and has decent compression. While I doubt it will go cheap, if you are a Harley fan or simply want a really cool project that doesn’t take up much room, you might want to check this bike out!


  1. Wayne Thomas

    Do people ever restomod motorcycles? If so, this is a perfect candidate.

    Like 1
    • jimbosidecar

      Most certainly. I’ve been resto-modding old BMW motorcycles for over 10 years now

      Like 1
    • rs

      Not hardly. For one thing this is a piece of motorcycle history. Why not restomod a Stanley Steamer? And look at that frame – I hardly think it would be a suitable candidate for customizing or increasing the horsepower. It doesn’t look like it could stand any significant power. Doubt you could do much to make it look ‘custom’.

      It needs to either be restored to as-new or put back in running condition and maintained as-is.

      Like 1
  2. Jeffro

    A flat board racer would be a cool look

    Like 0
  3. Mike L

    Clean it up. Make it run an stop. Damn that would be cool to ride around town!!

    Like 0
  4. Blindmarc

    You too can go 30 mph!

    Like 0
    • rs

      In 1921 a Harley won a race at an average speed of over 100 mph. I suspect this one would do 60 anyhow.

      Like 0

      these bikes do 100

      Like 0
  5. Terry

    Belongs at the Wheels Of Time museum.

    Like 0
  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    Those VLs were about as indestructible as they could get. Run ’em like they are and they’ll last a long time. They ran a ‘Total Loss’ lube system that was rather tricky to adjust properly. People would be scared to run out of oil in the bottom end so they’d push too much in. The motor would tend to burn oil and a lot of them were overhauled simply because the lube wasn’t calibrated properly. Another drawback of too much lube was that the needle bearings would get too MUCH oil and they would skid instead of roll. All that aside, That engine was one of the best that HD ever made. It was produced in Japan under license, under the name ‘Rikou’ which I understand means: ‘King of the Road.’ Rikou built motorcycles right through till the early 60s….

    Like 2
  7. Joe Muzy

    HD was built by Rikou from Japan. Never heard of that in all my 65 years and I rode Harleys for over 50 of them

    Like 0
    • Steve

      The design was licenced to a Japanese company and they made them for the Japanese market.

      Like 0
    • DB7

      Geomechs is absolutely right! I found it hard to believe as well, but here is a snippet from Wikipedia. I was shocked to see how similar (at least in looks) this 1957 Japanese bike was to my ’05 Harley Fatboy manufactured almost 50 years later.

      Like 1
  8. Allan

    The recent three night mini series on the history of Harley Davidson will help drive up the price, if nothing else. http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/harley-and-the-davidsons/

    Like 0
    • moosie Craig

      I ‘ve been a Harley-Davidson fan since my first new Sportster in ’72, presently caretaker of my ’78 Lowrider, my son believes it WILL be his some day ! I watched that show on Discovery, it was good, very good, I wonder how factual it was ?

      Like 0
  9. chad

    Sorry, the link didn’t wrk, Allen. Any time that co. gets it’s due, I like it. Got no TV anywho…
    Don’t forget to do ur due diligence, just like any other vehicle seen here. Find the exact condition of THIS rig AND the proper pricing for these makes/models. Wish I had the time & money for both (rather put them inta a late 60s XL [unitized] B 4 AMF got ahold’a dem). GLWTS seller AND buyer!

    Like 0
  10. Ck

    Really restomod it ? It would be so much easier to find a much newer bike and do that to it .This is the kind of bike you make sure is safe to ride ,runs like its suposed to and Leave the rest of of it alone.You just dont see these bikes around anywhere but in a museum. Really Resomod it?Thats just wrong.

    Like 0
    • George

      I agree 100%. Far too often when you see a ’39/’40 Ford now, you invariably see a car with power steering, power windows, cruise control, new suspension, an automatic transmission and electric wipers. Those owners have willfully thus removed everything that makes driving those cars so much fun in the first place! I run a 1980 Harley FLH with a pogo solo seat and kickstarter. It’s like operating a farm tractor and that’s what I happen to love about it. It’s not as fast as a Road King, nor as comfortable but it’s a million times more fun!
      I wish more people would appreciate the virtues of opeating a vintage vehicle and stop trying to make them something devoid of character. The more amenities you add to any vehicle, the further you are from really being involved in operating it, and what fun is that?

      Like 1
  11. Ck

    Ok so at the risk of sounding like a hippocrit, I don’t have a problem with restomods. As long as its not done with somthing like this bike , if you pull somthing out of a barn and its a time capsule dont mess with it .On the flip side if it’s been robbed and pillaged for its parts a restomod is fine with me.For instance that 68 chevy 2 from yester day , I said I would turn it into a sleeper .That car is not a time capsule in my eyes.Thats my take on things and I’m stickin to it.

    Like 0
  12. chad

    Dis aint dat
    (in my opinion, but I’m far frm an ex – spirt)
    ex- spirt:
    ex= has been
    spirt=water under pressure

    Like 0
  13. Robert_B

    Wow this thing is as much art as motorcycle, I just love the way it looks. I would most assuredly buy this if I had $$ and could get it for a decent price.

    I would get her running but keep that patina and ride it just as is, new tires, a little cleanup/wipe down and that is it.

    Rat rods are THE THING these days and any rat rod event, you would simply be ROCKIN IT if you showed up with this bike.

    Just riding her around on a warm evening with on old style helmet & those aviator type goggles, man, COOLNESS, off the scale….

    Or, make a raised stand and display this HD VL in man cave as HD Artwork!

    Like 0
  14. Robert_B

    What it could look like restored

    Like 0
  15. chad

    chked/inspected 4 safety & normal running condition and (as said) “…maintained as is.” We’re finding today, much like “polishing a hundred yr ol penny”, anything else reduces the value.

    Like 0
  16. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Great looking scooter. A new happy owner at $12,665.00. 59 bids.

    Like 0
  17. chad

    almost double the initial – that’s great. Congrats.
    Wonder if that’s what’s typical nationally / internationally @ this economic time?

    Like 0

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