1952 Harley Davidson Other
Year of manufacture1952
1952 Harley-Davidson 739cc Servi-Car
Engine no. 52G3085
* One of only 515 Model Gs made in 1946
* Netherlands registration papers
* Restored condition
Like most other manufacturers, Harley-Davidson relied on sidecar-equipped solos as a means of exploiting the motorcycle's commercial possibilities, until the arrival of the purpose-built Servi-Car trike in 1932 raised the three-wheeler's potential to new levels. Powered by Harley's rugged 45ci 'flat head' v-twin, the Servi-Car incorporated a car-type differential in its rear axle right from the start and a reverse gear soon after introduction. The Servi-Car's main customer was the police, but this versatile machine was also much favoured by auto dealers as a tow vehicle and by small businesses for deliveries. In the latter role it served as a useful mobile billboard, there being ample room to display the company name and 'phone number on the rear of the cargo box, while for $3.50 per pair H-D would supply fender advertising skirts. The versatile Servi-Car also enabled disabled motorcyclists to enjoy the genuine Harley-Davidson experience.
Regularly upgraded in line with Harley-Davidson's motorcycle range, the Servi-Car remained in the catalogue until 1973 and the time of its retirement was Milwaukee's longest running model. Important upgrades along the way included a reverse gear in 1933, a second brake for the rear axle in 1937, and enclosure of the rear drive chain in 1938, while in 1939 the tow-bar was beefed up and made a permanent attachment. In 1940 a stronger axle housing was introduced and the following year the Servi-Car received a new frame, which coincided with the adoption of a welded (rather than riveted) rear axle tube. There was also increased power, courtesy of a raised compression ratio, and a more effective front brake, taken from the 74ci solo models. In this form the Servi-car remained essentially unchanged until 1959 when it was fitted with the Hydra-Glide telescopic fork, replacing the old 'Springer' front end, while the provision of an electric starter in 1964 marked the first occasion this device had been fitted to a Harley-Davidson. In the post-war year's, Harley's trike also became the focus of customisers, some of whom even went so far as to replace the 45ci twin with a mighty American V8.
With its sombre black paintwork, this restored Servi-Car looks like it might have been used as a hearse by an undertaker specialising in household pets. The machine is offered with Netherlands registration papers and an Automotoclub Storico Italiano certificate.