Interview with DC MOTO about their 1947 H-D WL

Pat Jansen of Progressive Insurance interviews David Cook of DC MOTO about his 1947 Harley-Davidson WL at the 2015 edition of the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show in Cleveland, OH. Paint and stripes were done in-house. The engine, a Flathead 45, has been bored and stroked.



The engine of the WL is a side-valve design, which is reliable though not particularly efficient in comparison to overhead-valve designs. Harley Davidson already had overhead valve engines in production for its Big Twin lines, but the “small twin” flathead design was popular in applications needing reliability more than power. This engine remained in production from 1937 to 1973 in the Servi-Car, although it was superseded in two-wheeled motorcycles by the more advanced flathead engine used in the Model K (the ancestor of the OHV Sportster) in 1952.

Though the model designation suggested high compression, for reliability, the Army version actually used a medium-compression version. In modern terms, the WL’s compression ratio of 5:1 is very low. Due to this low compression, a WL will run on 74 octane gasoline, necessary due to the poor quality of refining at the time, although fuel technology would improve rapidly during the war.

The WL also features springer front suspension. Harley-Davidson would not adopt telescopic front forks until after the war. The rear wheel had no suspension, giving this type of motorcycle the nickname “hard tail”

Runner Up - MOD Custom

Runner Up – MOD Custom

Video produced by http://custombikeshows.com

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