June 10, 2016
THE NEW HARLEY DAVIDSONS ARE OUT OF THIS WORLD is a campy yet precious sales film for the “new” Harley Davidson including the Duo-Glide and Sportster, the Model 165 and the Hummer. Made in the late 1950s the film was directed by Harlan P. Croy and written by Sam F. Greco — Harley’s sales manager in this era — the film begins with civilian and police Duo Glide models.
Featuring a hydraulic rear brake, new cylinder head, and many other features, the Duo-Glide had a 74-cubic inch engine. The Duo Glide was an outgrowth of the FL, which was introduced to the Harley-Davidson model line in 1941. It used a 74 cu in (1,210 cc) version of the “Knucklehead” OHV engine that powered the EL in 61 cu in (1,000 cc) form. The FL continued relatively unchanged until 1948, when it and the EL were given redesigned “Panhead” engines of the same capacities as before. These engines had several improvements over the earlier “Knuckleheads”, including self-adjusting hydraulic lifters and aluminum cylinder heads to reduce weight and improve cooling. The U and UL flathead twins were discontinued in 1948, leaving the OHV EL and FL models as Harley-Davidson’s large-frame motorcycles
The FL model was given a new frame in 1958. This frame included a rear swingarm suspended by a pair of coil-over-shock suspension units. In honor of this fully suspended chassis, the FL’s model name was changed from Hydra-Glide to Duo-Glide.
Unlike OHV configuration, aluminum heads, and telescopic-fork front suspension, however, this improvement in technology was applied to the small-frame bikes first, the K-series having received rear suspension in 1952.
The Sportster, shown at the 5:20 mark, is part of a line of motorcycles produced continuously since 1957 by Harley-Davidson. Sportster models are designated in Harley-Davidson’s product code by beginning with “XL”. In 1952, the predecessors to the Sportster, the Model K Sport and Sport Solo motorcycles, were introduced. These models K, KK, KH, and KHK of 1952 to 1956 had a flat head engine, whereas the later XL Sportster models use an overhead valve engine. The first Sportster in 1957 had many of the same details of the KH including the frame, fenders, large gas tank and front suspension.
The Hummer seen at the 7:50 mark, was a motorcycle model manufactured by Harley-Davidson from 1955 to 1959. However, the name “Hummer” is now incorrectly used generically to refer to all American-made single-cylinder two-stroke Harley-Davidson motorcycles manufactured from 1948 to 1966.
The Model 165 is also shown. At 13:09, riding double is shown, and competition riding including the Daytona Beach race won by Joe Leonard (14:40). Laconia, New Hampshire is shown at the 16:00 mark with its road race, 100 miles of high speed racing.
Harley-Davidson, Inc. (H-D), or Harley, is an American motorcycle manufacturer, founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1903. As one of two major American motorcycle manufacturers to survive the Great Depression (along with Indian), the company has survived numerous ownership arrangements, subsidiary arrangements (e.g., Aermacchi 1974-1978 and Buell 1987-2009), periods of poor economic health and product quality, as well as intense global competition — to become the world’s fifth largest motorcycle manufacturer and an iconic brand widely known for its loyal following — with owner clubs and events worldwide as well as a company sponsored brand-focused museum.
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