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Basement Find! 1947 Harley-Davidson FL “Knucklehead”

1947 was a pivotal year in Harley-Davidson history. Not only was it the last year for the iconic “Knucklehead” engine, but the classic black leather Harley-Davidson jacket was introduced! While the jackets may not have changed much over the past 70+ years, the bikes certainly have. You can order a 2020 H-D that comes with LED lighting, electronic fuel injection, anti-lock brakes, and a Bluetooth stereo. However, I’m sure most of you would agree that there’s something really special about the 30s and 40s Harleys. This particular bike can be found here on eBay with a current bid of $30,000. Located in Perkasie, Pennsylvania, the bike was supposedly stored in a basement since the early 1980s and looks like a driver-project. Check it out and let us know what you think.

The seller says they have had the bike for about ten years and it was painted in primer five years ago. There are a few detailed photos in the ad, but unfortunately not very many. With vintage bikes, authentic small parts can make or break the value. New-Old-Stock parts can be extremely expensive and hard to find. The seller is honest about several parts being aftermarket although the frame is original.

Here is a three-quarter view of the 74 cubic inch FL Knucklehead engine. The seller states it starts right up and “rides perfect.” According to Hagerty, the average value for this bike is $24,000, so with the current bidding at $30,000 it seems like the price may favor the seller at this point. What do you think? Is this bike worth over $30,000? Let us know.


  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    My ultimate favorite! I hate seeing bikes like this coming up for sale because all too often they are so far beyond my means that I can’t do anything but covet and hope that my numbers come up. Nothing like a Knucklehead to warm you up…

    Like 14
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      I agree 100% George. That Knucklehead is one of the best looking motors ever made. My buddy had a Knucklehead chopper back in the day. He bought an orange 850 Guzzi Cafe sport bike. Never saw Waynerd on that Knucklehead much after that. Took them both to an early grave. R.I.P. Wayne.

      Like 5
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Yes that Knuckle is a machine like no other. I missed my chance at one 38 years ago in Casper, WY. It was rough but together. $1500 was the asking price but there was no title. I still should have jumped at it. The one that got away…

        Like 5
  2. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Knucklehead, hard tail, suicide clutch, what’s not to like. There’s only so many ways you can die. Had one somewhat like this one, though mine was a basket case when I got it.

    Like 5
  3. Matt R

    Nice bar sled.

    Like 4
  4. John Gannon

    Timeless beauty.

    Like 1
  5. local_sheriff

    Now we’re talking really old iron! Doesn’t get any closer to the essense of H-D than this.
    Seems it sold for 30k – with that sort of $ involved for a rigid frame bike, I’m curious whether it will actually see street use again or just make another piece of furniture in the home of a collector who has it all…?

    Like 8
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Good point local. Street use is good depending on your location. My 71 FX Shovel sits in the garage for the most part. I have had her since 1973. I have other rigs but I sure like looking at her. I ride newer stuff. Rigs age out like myself in the trades. I have no problem if someone buys this to look at her. I do hope they cruise it a little bit, maybe more. Take care, Mike.

      Like 4
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      After riding a hard tail myself I have to say that they tire you out faster. A foot clutch is different and a suicide clutch is dangerous but manageable. If I had one of these I would ride it. Not daily but often enough to keep it and myself limbered up. No long trips but there are a few tours around the Flathead Lake that are a lot of fun…

      Like 5
  6. Howard A. Member

    Hmm, makes that ’54 Pan seem like a bargain, hey? Ok, I’ve kind of changed my tune on this, a bit. If watching the “auctions” has taught me anything, people have the money, especially 34 people, or whatever the final amount of bidders was. It sold for $30g’s, so obviously, people have the money to invest in something, and as hard as it is for us reg’ler folks, $30g’s could easily be chump change for them. Like the sheriff sez, they have no intention of riding this, it’s strictly an investment. I can understand that. This is a really nice example, I wonder what the story was? Some guy out of the war must have bought this, was his baby for 40 some years, passed away, and nobody knew about it. The story alone would make a good Hollywood hack. At least it’s being preserved and that’s pretty cool.

    Like 6
    • stanley kwiecinski

      was a panhead across the street from us, owner died long ago? always dressed in white; baker?.neither brother married; last brother was still having coal delivered in november early 70s’.Hoarder? depression survivor? we were punks back then. not bangers’ just Mopar nuts.offered pan to a new neighbor….he said ask Scooter(me) he didn’t answer him. We were running KZ1000s then. never got the chance to talk to him after that. next was the pan, old fonzie type freezer getting loaded on back of pick up! Bungalow and small lot sold for big money! dough boy also had 60s white Falcon in garage!….stuff happens

      Like 0
      • Murray

        It’s not a suicide clutch, it’s a rocker clutch , big difference

        Like 2
  7. chrlsful

    I like the crash bars’n mufflers.
    B nice to accent that springer somehow. All ways wanted that frnt end ona bike.

    Like 1
  8. deak stevens

    I blame those jerks on american pickers for the high price of everything.i watched one of their early shows where this person was sell ing an old car, can’t remember what kind. But the seller wanted like $4,000. And the pickers say no but i’ll give you $ 19,000 those guys ps me these people way out in the booney’s are asking an arm and a leg for junk. Thanks american pickers jerks.

    Like 5
  9. TimM

    Love these old bikes but every time I ride one I have to remind my self that they had drum breaks!! They are cool but newer bikes with disc brakes are the way to go!!!

    Like 2
  10. Brian Leake

    Best $200 I ever spent, 47 years ago, buying my 1945EL

    Like 4
  11. PRA4SNW

    It looks like someone made an offer and grabbed it out from under E-Bay.

    Like 1
  12. Stevieg

    This really gets the blood flowin’! I wish I knew more about these so I could be a responsible caretaker of something like this. Well, and I also wish I had the money to afford to buy one lol.

    Like 0
  13. Whitey

    That ‘47 belonged to a friend and I it was sold to a fellow down in Maryland, sold for 30,000, we had a offer of 34,000 but we would had to crate it and ship it to Germany, didn’t want to deal with the hassle. The fellow that bought it plans on riding it and no plans of ever selling it.

    Like 1

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