Peacock Blue Panhead: 1954 Harley-Davidson

This 1954 Harley-Davidson Panhead lives in a curious space of being restored but not restored. The seller notes it benefits from all of its major mechanical systems being rebuilt, but that it maintains its period-correct look. In addition, the seller mentions it retains “all original parts” in the listing, so I’m not entirely sure what’s new or old. Find it here on eBay with a suggested opening bid of $19,500 and no action as of yet, and no reserve.

I find one of the surest ways not to see many bids on an auction is to list it with a high opening number, even if it is no reserve. Regardless, I can understand why the seller is shooting for a high sale price given the period cool this bike is oozing. Even though it’s a repaint, it’s an old one – and looks perfectly aged. Note the original Speedball bubble bags.

The seller says the bike runs great, and with the reference to everything being rebuilt or restored, one would assume the engine has been torn down at some point. It retails its original six-volt charging system, so not everything was tossed out in the name of rejuvenation. The Panhead comes with a matching frame and belly numbers, and all original sheetmetal.

Details like the seat reveal a bike that’s been loved without being overly customized or restored. While the mention of original parts still leaves me scratching my head, it’s possible the seller meant everything removed from the bike was retained, or that NOS components were sourced. Either way, it’s a sharp bike, but time is running out on the auction.

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Comments

  1. Classic Steel

    So the bike is a 19500 minke.
    Its gorgeous and very cool.

    I ride modern bikes disc etc. but always wanted a classic and wowsa this could be a contender for sure.

    Curious has anyone rode an older pan head? I am sure its a short distance cruuser bur ver my cool 😎

    1
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Howard A and Stu Preston spoke of their experiences on older HD’s-if you want one you’ll want to be well-versed on the interchangeability of the different model parts so you don’t wind up with something of a FrankenBike HD..

    • local_sheriff

      Classic Steel; riding an old Pan is something completely different than a modern bike. 1st of all you have to learn an extremely defensive driving habit as stock front brakes have close to symbolic value. On ’58 older bikes there is no rear swing arm suspension so it can be a rough ride on longer trips. Then there’s of course the starting sequence – but as I say making a Panhead come alive is what separates men from mice!

      A Pan is and should be treated as what it is – an antique vehicle with limited properties compared to modern bikes and it requires a conscious operator. On the other hand it’s such an analog ‘back-to-basics’ vehicle and the real-deal feeling it gives in return makes a Pan perfect for lower speed cruising if you’re able to enjoy that

      3
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        Nicely put, Sheriff.

  2. Howard A.

    Cool bike, pretty much could do anything a more modern bike will do, minus the ride, stopping, handling, operation and comfort parts, that is. Looks like a great example, but A), bad time to sell a bike, ANY bike, and B) I think these lofty price tags are nothing but wishful thinking pipe dreams, “well, Mike Wolfe just spent $xx,xxx.xx on one”,,$20g”s, I think people are finding out, buys a lot of cool other stuff, and this is more of a novelty, and with no bids, it could signal a trend and the bottom will fall out, like all these other hoaky media fueled trends.

    18
  3. Bob

    I think Howard has a point here. Value is in the eyes of the beholder. The owner of this panhead may feel that it is worth 20k +. Now he has to find a buyer who agrees with him.
    I think these flipper tv shows give people the wrong idea. You can make money selling order cars and motorcycles but be prepared to work.
    I would love to see a follow up on what people really got for some of the things we’ve seen on Barnfinds

    8
    • Howard A.

      I’ve long wondered for that too, Bob, and I don’t mean to keep quoting TV shows, they are a huge part of our lives, and clearly where people get these ideas, but I don’t remember prices being so escalated before these shows, like when people come in to Pawn Stars thinking their item is worth millions and walk out with $600 bucks, you’d love to go “Haw haw”, but I’d probably be no different. We all want the most we can get for something, within reason, of course. I watch these auctions too, and the people that pay these extreme amounts ( to me) all seem to fit the same MO. They have the money, and like the chrome plated Camaro they just bought, may have no intention of even riding this. To their other millionaire buddies, this looks cool in their garage with all the other toys. It’s a lifestyle we simply can’t relate to, just as they couldn’t live on $1,186/mo. Like I say, if we had the cash, we’d probably would do the same thing.

      16
  4. Mr. Bond

    Did the numbers fall off the speedo?

    1
    • Howard A.

      Probably vibrated loose. The handlebars have the same feeling.

      5
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        Probably did vibrate loose, Howard A.-these shake more than a dog pooping peach pits..

        It’s still a grand nostalgia ride, and therein lies the issue: many fewer riders our age nowadays which really limits the market for this and others like it.

        The best of luck to the seller! I hope he gets what he’s asking for it.

        5
      • Howard A.

        Being an old trucker, I’ve heard every saying to come down the pike,( via CB radio) but I never heard that one, that’s goota hoit. Don’t get me wrong, this is a way cool bike. In the late 70’s, I had a ’75 GW and my then best friend, had a ’65 Electra Glide we restored. ( in his living room one winter) We did a lot of touring together, it never failed. We were both truck drivers and equated the HD to a Mack truck, and the GW to a Peterbilt. The Electra Glide was much more user friendly than something like this, and if the new owner has no prior experience with these, like a VW bus or 1st gen Bronco, they are in for a rude awakening.

        4
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        One of the motorcycle classes we taught at the college for experienced riders was memorable in that a student rider showed up with a ‘46ish Indian, replete with hand shifter.
        He didn’t make the times necessary for successful completion but he taught us an incredible lesson of what focus is all about…
        And truly showed us why we should appreciate the newish bikes we were riding!!!

        3
      • Stu Preston

        Nevada, sounds like the Evals on Day 2 of MSF. I’m surprised he didn’t make it.

        1
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        Good catch, Stu!! It was the Eval for the ERC, and he just couldn’t get a decent stop with those stock drum (single leading shoe?) brakes. He had a lot of fun as did all the rest of us especially the coaches!

      • Stu Preston

        Nevada, yes, all great fun. I only teach the BRC but sometimes ride my ’49 Pan with tank shift and rocker clutch to class. It’s fun showing the students that old bike will do ‘the box’ and the serpentines just as well as the little trainer bikes. Never thought about maxxing out on the braking, but that thing will stop pretty good if both brakes are used correctly.

        1
  5. Stu Preston

    There are no serial numbers on the frame to “match” anything–only casting numbers before 1970.

    Many of the people buying these old bikes recently at auction are reminiscent of the antique Porsche buyers just a few years ago: throwing big money at things they know nothing about. Just like the Porsche buyers, it appears the antique motorcycle speculators have now begun their retreat.

    How come no one told them up front these old bikes would leak on the floor even if they DON’T ride them???

    9
    • local_sheriff

      I personally think it’s a good thing speculators direct their focus on something else than these bikes – owning a similar ’52 in much better condition I’ll still testify they don’t offer a 19k ride. If one should happen to have that kind of $ laying around there are WAY better bikes to be had if you just want to ride a motorbike…
      Honestly; to fully appreciate such a vehicle one need to be genuinely found of old school technology and the challenges of operating/driving it

      5
  6. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I think you nailed it on the bike market Stu. Ended:Nov 11, 2019 , 9:19AM
    Starting bid:
    US $19,500.00 [ 0 bids ]

    3
  7. cmarv
  8. Billieg

    I own a 1951 totally stock I picked up for $7,500 6 yrs ago. My buddy just bought a 1952 totally stock running for $8,000. If you look at any biker mag at the pics all you see are grey beards in their 60’s and 70’s. The younger crowed don’t want even a new Harley less much an old panhead. Most of us old timers are looking at trikes not panheads. He will never get close to $20k and if he does he is one lucky dude.

    2
  9. John S

    This bike is over-priced, no doubt about it… BUT everything is worth what ever someone else will pay for it! As far as riding a Pan, or any other earlier bike (or car/truck/lathe/Bridgeport, etc.) goes, if you don’t know how to operate the machine, you’re gonna be in trouble. I’ve had my ’59 Duo-Glide since I had hair and it runs with the best of them. I do not, however, try to make it be something it’s not. I’ve ridden it from Chicago to Sturgis, Boston, the U.P. and so forth. It runs 75 m.p.h. all day long and I’m used to it like walkin’. I think it looks and sounds better than any new bike and I can work on it… ALL of it. These ol’ tanks aren’t for everyone, but count me in!

  10. Stevieg Member

    Billieg, I don’t think it is as grim as you think. Having worked in the service department at a local Harley dealer for a number of years, I can tell you I had a fair amount of younger customers.
    They have a different idea of what a “biker” is than the older generations. That may be why you see the gray beards in the magazines, & not the younger folks. But they are out there, and in fairly large numbers.
    My Dad was an old school biker, he would be 71 if he were still here. He was actually a way tougher & more hard core guy than most of my customers that were about the same age as him. Frankly, he was scary. Period.
    The younger generation bikers aren’t into that image. They tend to be more like me, an enthusiast of motorcycles.
    These are the guys like Howard A, who appreciates the machinery for the machinery.
    I know many people in their twenties, Male & female, who love the sport of motorcycling for the bikes & the heritage. They go to board track races, hill climbs, things of that nature.
    What I have seen of the guys like my Dad, they wouldn’t be caught dead doing that “lame” stuff lol.
    Me? I just like to get my knees in the breeze.
    The old school biker is nearing extinction. The good news with that is that certain clubs will fall too. We really don’t need that image.
    I really like this bike, but I am honest enough with myself to admit that I would not be a good steward for this bike. I don’t know enough about it. But if I had the cash to buy it, I know people that do know about it and can teach me. So, maybe one day, if they are still around to teach me, I can get one like this.
    I would love to get a duo-glide like my Dad had.

    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Really well put, stevieg. Regardless what you ride, it’s all about the ride itself.
      BTW-I hope you don’t mind if I plagiarize the “knees in the breeze”..!

      Nevadahalfrack

  11. Stevieg Member

    By all means Nevada, I wasn’t the original to say it either. Free speech, friend!

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