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I was thumbing through an old photo album today looking for a picture of my father in his youth to show Gina because she simply will NOT believe that when I grow up, I'm going to look like a troll...Just like my dad.

A few pages in, I found this:

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It was an old, yellowed and faded, grossly over-exposed picture of my old man on the motorcycle that almost got him disowned. I know from the back of the picture it was taken in 1947, which would make him 17 in this picture, and I know from the stories Dad told that he bought this bike from an old man up the road for $35 when he was 16 and proceeded to tear it down, replace what rusty parts he could afford, and then used the exhaust from grandma's canister vacuum cleaner to power the spray gun that he painted it with. Around here somewhere I have his old, original HD leather jacket that still has a couple speckles of the yellow paint from this bike on it.

Dad wasn't a big guy. In fact, the last time that old leather jacket fit me, I was 12 years old.

I don't recall my Dad ever saying what year and model this beast was, but I do know that he dumped it on a gravel road and totaled it when he was 20.

What can I say? I guess motorcycles are just in my blood. :)
 

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Really cool pix Mike. I wish I still had some pictures from my youth.
 

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Mike, I have a picture of my Dad on his Harley about the same time. I believe his bike was a little older than your Dad's. We had a bike long before we ever had a car. I have a later pic of Dad on a late 60's Harley. Like your Father he wore the motorcycle cap and sat his bike with a straight back. Wonderful memories!

Bernie
 

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Lovely old picture Mike, I bet like you, he had some adventures on that old girl, just not quite as smoothly as you on the Wing, and hopefully you are sporting a little more in the way of protective clothing these days!!!:)
 

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That's one great photo. Thanks for sharing the memories.

I'ld have to admit that I would own a harley if I could have an old one.

But I wouldn't get rid of my wing for almost anything.
 

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There's nothing like looking at those old pictures thank you for sharing it with us.
 

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Looks like an old Indian.
 

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cool picture Mike. Though its dated 47 it looks like a 48 panhead. JB
 

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I'm certainly not up on HD legend and lore, nor it's nomenclature...but from the pictures I can find, it doesn't look like a panhead.

It actually pretty closely resembles a '41 WLA that I found through a Google search.



I know Dad had to do alot of work on it when he got it, and Dad was the master of assembling stuff that shouldn't fit together and making it work, so God only knows what it really is. LOL
 

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JBz wrote:
cool picture Mike. Though its dated 47 it looks like a 48 panhead. JB
JB is right it is a pan head. looking at the tank emblem i'd say 1948 is correct also.
very cool picture.
 

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Thanks Mike for sharing the memory. I think I'd have that photo enlarged and framed. Old photos are soooooooo cool. Great conversation piece!

Thumbs up to you!
 

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AZgl1500 wrote:
Really cool pix Mike. I wish I still had some pictures from my youth.
did they have cameras then?;)
 

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UBarW wrote:
AZgl1500 wrote:
Really cool pix Mike. I wish I still had some pictures from my youth.
did they have cameras then?;)
They must have Dick :D, my mommy gave me a little box about 4" x 5" by about 6" and it had "Kodak" on the bottom of it :waving: That thing had a "trigger" on the front that you pulled down against a spring until you heard something go "thunk".

Must have been a figment of my youthful imagination. She didn't call it a camera, it was a "picture taker" :cooldevil: She would pull something out of the back of that thing and leave it at the Chocolate Malt Emporium. A few weeks later, there would be a package there with shaky images of things I had pointed that box at :D

I kept that box camera for the longest. I don't know where it finally got lost at or when.
 

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I had a conversation with JBz this morning about this picture, and have received a couple other messages on the subject as well. I'm going to share a message that I sent to JB here because it appears that in this case, fact and family lore aren't aligning well. Everyone here seems to be in agreement that the bike is a '48 Panhead.

I just might have to look up my uncle and ask him one of these days...This has become a mystery that needs solving.

The things I know for fact to this point:

--That is, in fact, my Dad sitting atop an ancient Milwaukee Thump Thump Machine. The color is not a stock color, and evidence on his old biker jacket indicates that it was indeed him that painted it that color.

--My Mom verified while she was still alive that he did indeed own the bike, and did indeed have to do a ton of restorative work to it when he bought it.

--Dad was born in 1930

--"47" is written on the back of the picture in what appears to be my Mom's handwriting...Now it's entirely possible Mom mis-dated it when she was assembling the photo album...And to be honest, Dad looks just a bit older than 17 in that picture to me.

--The original picture is really miserable, and I feel pretty good to have corrected it far enough to even tell what is in it.

--My mother refused to ride with him EVER...not on that, or any other bike he ever owned

--I really don't know squat about old Harleys

:cheeky1::cheeky1::cheeky1:

The things I remember being told as I grew up: (All information subject to "Old Man's Yarning Syndrome", as well as "Children's Bored Silly With Stories Of Old Memory Malfunction") ;)

--Dad told me the bike was a rusty junk heap in a neighbor's garage when he bought it..Possible wrecked? I don't know for sure, I never asked, and I don't recall him ever saying.

--Dad told me he bought the bike when he was 16 and his mother nearly killed him when he brought it home. Thinking on this more today, I know Dad let his brother ride it occasionally. His brother is younger than him, so perhaps Grandma almost killed Dad for letting his 16 year old brother ride it.

--Dad told me that he totaled the bike right before he went into the Air Force which would, according to his DD-214, put the date of the bike's death in spring to summer of 1951.

--Dad told me that his brother (the uncle I need to look up) rode it across the Union Pacific trestle bridge in Ft. Dodge, IA shortly before it was totaled. (This one was always questionable to me...that trestle is a good 65' high over a river valley and about half a mile long...just doesn't seem possible on a street bike of any kind, much less a Harley that would shake it's own parts off WITHOUT the need of railroad ties to help it. I know my uncle is crazy, but that's always seemed WAY over the top to me)

There is a really good chance that you all are correct in your identification. I'm certainly going to do some digging and asking around and try to find out for sure next time I'm back in upper Iowa.
 

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Motosickle wrote:
i still have the same hat:cool:
Heh...You know Moto, after wrecking that Harley, my Dad didn't ride again until 1978 when he bought a barely used '77 Wing. First accessory he bought...Another one of those hats.

He then removed the barn and wings and found a pin backed set of Goldwing wings that actually looked like pilot's wings to replace it with.

Never could find that thing when he passed away. I would hope he didn't throw it away, but I'm guessing he must have.
 
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