1930 Harley-Davidson 1,200cc Model V Engine no. 30V1315C
* Landmark model * Dating from the first year of production * An older restoration
Rivals Indian had long ago demonstrated the efficacy and performance potential of the sidevalve engine, and in 1929 Harley-Davidson at last adopted this technology on a twin-cylinder model, having had a 'flat head' single in the line-up since 1925. This new engine was cheaper to produce, enabling Harley to price the new 45ci (750cc) Model D at $290, and its relative affordability would prove to be an important factor during the Depression years of the early 1930s.
For the 1930 model year, Harley-Davidson extended its sidevalve technology to larger models. Announced in August 1929 as a replacement for Harley's long-running and much-loved F-head 'Big Twin', the sidevalve Model V was far from an instant success. More massively built and heavier than its predecessor, the V was no faster and lacked top-end power to such an extent that the first examples were recalled for an extensive engine redesign. A larger crankcase accommodating heavier flywheels did the trick and, its problems solved, the 74ci 'flat head' v-twin went on to win the hearts of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts everywhere.
The Model V's detachable cylinder heads, interchangeable wheels (including that of the sidecar, when attached), larger brakes and tyres, lower seat and increased ground clearance all represented advances over the outgoing J-type twin. The high-compression VL version produced slightly more power than the Model V and both were available with either coil or magneto ignition.
Revised with the frame, tank and wheels of the 61ci overhead-valve 'Knucklehead', plus dry-sump lubrication, the Model V became the Model U in 1937. Production recommenced after WW2, the old sidevalve '74' finally disappearing from the range at the end of 1948.
Dating from the first year of production, this rare, restored Harley-Davidson 'flat head' is offered with an Automotoclub Historico Italiano certificate.