2018 Shannons Melbourne Winter Classic Auction
Lot
16

1942 Harley-Davidson WLA V-Twin 750cc Solo Motorcycle

$22,000

Sold

Specifications

Engine 750cc
Gearbox Three-speed manual
Body Work Solo
Colour Military Khaki
Interior Brown
Trim Leather
Wheels Wire spoked
Brakes Drum/drum

Description

This lot is no longer available

The Harley-Davidson WLA is a motorcycle produced to US Army specifications in the years during and around World War II. It was based on an existing civilian model, the WL. Harley-Davidson began producing the WLA in small numbers in 1940, as part of a general military expansion. The later entry of the United States into World War II saw production significantly increased, with over 90,000 being made during the war (along with spare parts the equivalent of many more). Unusually, all the WLAs produced after Pearl Harbor, regardless of the actual year, would be given serial numbers indicating 1942 production. Thus, war-time machines would come to be known as 42WLAs, and many would be shipped to allies under the Lend-Lease program. The largest recipient was the Soviet Union, which was sold over 30,000 WLAs. With little access to parts and no ‘chopper’ or modified biker culture, and no export path to the West, many of those WLAs were preserved during the Cold War. Russia and other former Soviet countries are now a major source of WLAs and parts. Production of the WLA would cease after the war but would be revived for the Korean War during the years 1949–1952.