Original Paint and Parts Panhead: 1965 Harley Davidson FLH

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Harley has made a lot of money-making modern versions of their historic motorcycles.  However, what if you could get an authentic 1965 Harley with original paint and parts for the same price as one on the showroom floor today?  If you are looking for an overwhelmingly original vintage Harley, check out this 1965 Harley-Davidson FLH for sale on eBay in Hagerstown, Maryland.  Bidding is currently sitting at $17,500 with just two days to go.  With the reserve not yet met, what do you think the sale price of this vintage Electra Glide should be?  Would purchasing this motorcycle be a good alternative to buying a new Harley?

1965 was the year that the Gateway Arch was completed in St. Louis.  It was also the year Martin Luther King marched from Selma to Montgomery, “Days of Our Lives” premiered on television, and a huge power blackout in the Northeast caused a baby boom nine months later.  Over at Harley-Davidson, the Panhead engine was on its way out.  Production started in 1948, and this venerable engine was finally offered with a 12-volt electrical system and push-button start as an option in its last year on the Electra Glide.

During the Panhead’s reign, improvements went a long way toward transforming the Harley-Davidson motorcycle into a long-range cruising machine.  This goal was helped by constant improvements like telescopic forks, a swingarm rear suspension, and high-compression cylinder heads.  As the country became better connected by the highway system, Harley’s full-size offerings evolved to meet the demands of riders who wanted to venture farther.

The Harley-Davidson you see here is certainly a vehicle with one foot in the past and another in the company’s future.    Harley’s past is still evident in the Panhead engine, a sprung seat, fishtail exhaust, and the general profile of the motorcycle.  Take away the rear shocks; it still looks like a rigid frame.  Believe it or not, the kick starter that the Electra Glide’s electric starter should have eliminated lasted until 1986 when it was last installed on an Evo engine.  As for the future, modern Harleys can be ordered to look close to the same as this 1965 model.  Accessories can get you even closer.

With just 36,407 miles on the odometer, this is a relatively low-mileage motorcycle for its age.  The ad states that it has many new parts.  It also tells us that this motorcycle was judged an Antique Motorcycle Club of America meet and scored a 99% rating.  We would appreciate the information in the comments if any reader can fill us in on how the judging operates at these shows.  One could assume that the motorcycle is 99% period correct, but confirmation of that theory would be greatly appreciated.

The ad also states that this motorcycle is still sporting its original paint.  Fading on the top portions points to the motorcycle spending a lot of time in the sun during its life.  However, collectors pay a large premium for original paint and the bidding reflects this.  If it bothers you as an owner, the beauty of owning a Harley is that a veritable ocean of parts is available.  One could simply purchase new or used fenders and a tank, paint them to the color or colors of their choosing, and have an even more spectacular-looking motorcycle.

While not specifically mentioned in the ad, the above picture shows a windshield and a set of hard bags and mounts that presumably come with the motorcycle.  These pieces appear to be in very good shape and are a nice addition to the bike.  It is amazing to see how small the hard bags are compared to the cavernous storage compartments that modern motorcycles sport today.  By the looks of them, one would assume that our predecessors packed a lot lighter than we do.

Overall, this is a really neat Harley.  Original paint, an electric start, and a Panhead all add up to quite a desirable motorcycle.  If you are going to drop $20,000 or so on a bike, why not invest in a vintage Harley in great condition?  You would be the only person at bike night with a Panhead, and your investment would probably only grow in value.

Can you see this vintage Panhead as an alternative to purchasing a new Harley?  Have you ever owned a Panhead?  Let us know in the comments.

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  1. HoA Howard AMember

    I guess we’ll never know why some people “off” themselves, they usually don’t say why once they’re dead, leaving loved ones and friends with a big hole. These “repeat memories” are for newer folks that haven’t heard my stories.
    Briefly, ( ya sure), I HAD a close friend I trucked with in the late 70s, I had my GW, he had a ’65 Pan just like this. We rebuilt the bike in his living room one winter, and we did a LOT of riding together, after trucking all day, THAT’S a biker. “Breezely” killed himself couple years back, he was 65, oddly enough.
    You may not know it, and why would the layperson know,,but the ’65 Panhead changed everything for HD with the electric start. It opened up a whole new clientele. People, mainly women, who couldn’t kick start one, suddenly, with a push of a button, a whole new world of biking opened up. I know in this “just push a button” society we live in today, this doesn’t sound like much, but believe me, it was huge. I know I “kvetch” about costs a lot, but if that’s what it costs, you can’t go wrong here. “Breezely” would be proud,,,

    Like 16
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Thanks, Jeff, good times reviewed,,

      Like 3
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Oh, one more, my ’85 FXRT with EVO motor, did not have a kickstart. It always started, once the proper spark plugs were installed. I’m a “NGK” fan, and EVERYTHING I had, just ran better with NGKs,,not so with the HD. I ran NGKs in my HD, hard starting, backfired, ran awful, someone suggested run “HD” plugs only, made by Champion. Guess what, it started/ran great. So the great spark plug conspiracy continues,,

      Like 7
      • Terrry

        Try ND Iridium plugs. I have those in my Sportster. Starts first time every time!

        Like 0
    • geomechs geomechsMember

      A few years back a guy showed up at the Back Door Bar in Kalispell Mt with the almost identical twin to this. It seems to me he got it from a relative who, like the old urban legends go, left it in a garage for many years. The owner didn’t talk much but it obviously took a lot of cleaning and polishing to get it to look as good as it did. I remember the faded red pain on the tanks, just like this one. Wish I had a pic of it but back then the Instamatic 110 was the only choice I had, and night pics were impossible. I remember another guy showed up at Moose’s Saloon a few weeks later on a ’67 Electra-Glide (amongst the last of the Generator Shovels). Would’ve been quite a treat to see the two of them, the last of the Panheads and the almost first of the Shovelheads parked side by side. You need to go to the HD Museum in Milwaukee to see something like that these days. I would love to have this bike…

      Like 9
      • HoA Howard AMember

        I know, enough already, but thanks again for taking me. What’s great about bikes like this featured, most have no connection to a 1933 something or another, but this was a golden era for motorcycling. Everyone knew SOMEONE that rode a Harley. From that weird single uncle mom never talked about,(me) to Mr. Business man and like I say, women ( and girly men) could ride one. I haven’t met too many women that could kickstart a Harley, a match made in heaven for me. Take care pal. Had the cookie crumbled differently, this would be on it’s way to your door,,,

        Like 4
      • RexFoxMember

        But you could take a night time photo with an Instamatic if you had a flash cube handy! A 65 Pan is my dream bike

        Like 0
  2. Terrry

    I would definitely prefer this old girl to any new bike, let alone a showroom-fresh Harley. Over-complicated electrics have ruined motorcycles just like new cars. You could work on this bike, as you will and should, and if the starter doesn’t work you can kick it and still get yourself home.

    Like 4
  3. Stan

    Great write ups by Howard and geomechs. Love to have a ride on this bike on a Rural Road 🙌

    Like 5
  4. oilngas

    As told by my mother. My brother and a buddy were stationed in Cali. in 1965. Together they took a weekend trip from the base (i don’t where it was located, San Diego, maybe?) to Arlington, Tx. To be home for her birthday, Nov. 6th on his new 65 Pan. They drove straight through by one driving, and the other slept. They were back in time for Monday role call. He said sleeping on the back of a moving Harley wasn’t any easier than riding with somebody leaning on you. He rode it home on leave several times. One other trip he going to sleep under a tree in front of house. The homeowner came out and told him they were leaving for the weekend so he was welcome to come in to sleep in a bed. My mother sent them a card thanking them for watching over her son.

    Like 8
  5. Start

    I have a 64 Pan. No electric start. I don’t want electric start.

    Like 1
  6. Larkin Wright

    The only thing I would question is the validity of the speedometer as being original. Harley used Taiwan to manufacture replacement items and used the OEM part numbers followed by a T to sell them as OEM parts. This one looks too new to be original. Just saying!

    Like 2
    • Wing Wong

      100% in agreement. There is no way that’s original

      Like 0
  7. david r

    I’m a vintage Honda guy but I have to admit these things are beautiful in their own way.

    Like 3
    • 370zpp 370zppMember

      Same here.

      Like 0
  8. william stephan

    A 1965 Electraglide was a last year, and one year only electric start 12 volt panhead. The original Hydra-glide (rigid with an oil front end) and the Duo-glide with a swing arm became the Electra-glide. 1966 became the first shovelhead which were all electric start until the wierd stiff started happening with Superglides etc. Generally the advent of AMF. Most E-glides were electric/kick start for redundancy, but the sport bikes were electric only.

    Like 1
  9. chrlsful

    fav motor, great accessories, styling. Got some of those bags for sale (just add the aol to my handle).
    This would B the Sunday, longer cruze (w/the woman on board). The ’69 Sportster the daily.
    Ahhhh, to dream~

    Like 1
  10. Leon Jenkins

    At 85, I love to read and look at these articles. I bought a 1948, first of the pan head ohv. Gas tank shift, suicide clutch. Many wonderful memories. Found it in a barn, up in NE Penna., covered pretty much with hay, The owner I’m told died while him and one or two kids were under a car changing a transmission or something, up on (can you believe it?) 4 pumper jacks. It supposedly crushed them, and the bike sat. His wife sold it to me for $100.00. When I would try to “spin” the tire, sometimes it would scatter the chain into several pieces, and I would walk back, pick up the pieces and put them back together and go again. I seen one not to many years ago that auctioned off for $4800.00. Wish I had it back.

    Like 3
  11. Cam Usher

    I’ve been a Panhead guy since 1986 & still have a ’50 chopper , I’d love over of these , many 1 year only features , unique primary cover with no derby , only year with 5 gallon tank & top fuel tap , first year Electroglide BUT (& here’s where I often get attacked lol) NOT the first electric start Harley as many believe. That was the 1964 Servicar & then the haters chime in & say “but that’s not a motorcycle” or “that’s not a big twin” or just “but that’s different” 🤣 . Facts are facts

    Like 4
  12. Jim

    Nice 65 Panhead!!!

    Like 2
  13. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    May 01, 2023 18:00:00 PDT
    Current bid:
    US $24,667.00
    Reserve not met
    [ 46 bids ]

    Like 0

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