1936 Harley-Davidson EL Auction by Mecum [The First Knucklehead]

Launched in the depths of the Great Depression, the Harley-Davidson knucklehead engine revolutionized The Motor Company’s big V-twins. The flathead design that launched the brand 33 years earlier has given way to the knucklehead’s pushrod-actuated overhead valve architecture – a refined version powering modern Harley-Davidson motorcycles 86 years later. The 61ci engine – just under a liter – produced 40 horsepower and allowed the rider of the 1936 Harley-Davidson EL to flirt with triple-digit top speed. The single-cam engine was mated to a four-speed transmission with a tank-mounted shifter and foot clutch. A Linkert carburettor fed the knucklehead combustion chambers, with a coil-and-point ignition system providing a spark.1936 Harley-Davidson EL Auction: For SaleThe 1936 Harley-Davidson EL used a twin downtube frame with reinforced trellis castings. A hardtail, sprung fork design with oval front-sprung downtubes. To offer the rider some relief from rough roads, the seat post has been suspended. A nearly 60-inch wheelbase provided stability for the EL, which had a curb weight of around 600 pounds. Between the knucklehead power and the sophisticated chassis, the EL was considered a premium touring bike. Crash bars, 18-inch wheels (now shod in 4.50-inch-wide Coker Classic Diamond Tread rubber), and an illuminated tank-mounted speedometer added to the EL’s looks.1936 Harley-Davidson EL Auction: First Knucklehead EngineThis example will be auctioned at Mecum Auctions’ The Daytime Auction Monterey 2022 event at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa on the Del Monte Golf Course. The auction begins Aug. 18, with this 1936 EL going under the hammer on Saturday, Aug. 20, alongside four other Harley-Davidsons: a 1910 belt-drive single-seater, a 1908 belt-drive tank, a racer 1920 Dewey Sims track truck and 1925 Dino Paul equipped sidecar from JD.HP Cycles in Berwick, Maine performs restoration of the 1936 Harley-Davidson EL. Original parts include dash, speedometer shifter, gas cap, toolbox, small front fender, fluid lines and incredibly rare open rocker heads for the knucklehead engine. NOS parts were also used in the restoration, which includes a Dusk Gray and Royal Buff paint job.Photograph by Zachary Cliff, courtesy of Mecum

1936 Harley-Davidson EL Auction Photo Gallery

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