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c.1922 Harley-Davidson 584cc Model WJ Sport
Frame no. 22130
Engine no. 22WF3515

* Rare short-lived model
* Acquired 2007
* An older restoration

Inspired by the British Douglas, that likewise used a horizontally opposed twin-cylinder engine, the Harley-Davidson Model W would prove more popular in Europe than America, where the v-twin engine held sway. The Model W was introduced in 1919 and, like Douglas, Harley set its engine lengthways in the frame. Inlet and exhaust manifolds were siamesed on the right-hand side (prevailing wisdom reckoned that heating the incoming charge was a good idea) while the other side was dominated by a large external flywheel and fully enclosed rear chain case. Ease of maintenance had been a cornerstone of the design; hence the valves were removable via caps in the cylinder heads while the combined barrel/head castings could be removed without disturbing the engine. Displacing 584cc, the 6hp twin was installed in a frame of the 'keystone' type, open at the bottom, which used the engine as a stressed element, while other noteworthy features included geared primary drive and a unique type of front fork. Although not overly powerful, the Model W obviously handled well and possessed a decent turn of speed, as evidenced by a number of record-breaking achievements including setting a new best time for the Three Flags run from Canada to Mexico. Despite these successes, the American motorcycling public remained unconvinced of the Model W's virtues - and perhaps deterred by its relatively high price - and H-D pulled the plug on this promising design after only a few seasons. Production ended in 1923, by which time 9,883 machines had been built. Only 60 are believed to be on the road worldwide today, with only 14-or-so of these in Europe.

Like most Harley-Davidsons of this period, the Model W was offered in two forms: magneto ignition (WF) and magneto-plus-generator (WJ), the example offered here being one of the latter. A well presented older restoration, the machine was acquired for the collection circa 2007, which is when the accompanying Automotoclub Storico Italiano certificate was issued.

Bonhams 1793
101 New Bond Street
United Kingdom
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Bonhams Collectors’ Car department