Post World War II, rival Indian was in trouble. The American motorcycle industry was owned by Harley, with only European imports of far smaller capacity to contend with. Following the EL Knucklehead, the new model, introduced in 1948, still had some work to do, with sales down by 20%. Released with the Springer front end, new telescopic forks were added by the second year of production, and the Panhead Hydra Glide was born. Improvements were incremental and in 1953, lubrication of the engine and the hydraulic tappets were enhanced. 1953 also marked the end of the 61 cubic inch engine leaving only the 74 cubic inch FL series as the main engine group, with the now popular foot-shift transmission.
The Panhead leant itself to all kinds of customization, be it a stretched and raked chopper, or a trimmed-fendered bobber. On offer here is a great example of the latter. Bobbed fenders, high ‘bars, Von Dutch-style stripes over the green ‘n cream paint job and the obligatory bicycle pedal kickstarter…
This beautifully executed custom was purchased a decade ago by a discerning private California collector, where it has been on static display in a climate-controlled environment. In superb, condition, the bike hasn’t tuned a wheel under its own power since being built in the early 2000s. Fresh from service, the bike is offered in fine riding condition for the next collector.
Engine no. 53FL1160