Very collectible circa-1927 Harley-Davidson factory racer with 'no reserve'

31 August 2015

• Exceptionally rare factory FHA 8-valve racer - one of a handful of surviving examples

• 'No reserve' status will attract International collectors

This rare surviving circa-1927 Harley-Davidson will now be offered with ‘no reserve’ at Shannons Melbourne Spring Auction on September 21, where it is expected to bring a substantial six-figure sum.

One of the world’s rarest Harley-Davidson motorcycles will now be offered with ‘no reserve’ at Shannons Melbourne Spring Auction on September 21, exciting enormous interest from collectors around the world.

The circa-1927 FHA 8-Valve V-Twin racer with a scramble-type sidecar attached is reputedly one of fewer than 50 examples built by the America manufacturer – some say considerably less – from 1916-1928.

Reportedly delivered new through Milledge Brothers of Melbourne, the circa-1927 example being auctioned by Shannons is one of the last of the 8-valve racers built, making it highly sought-after by collectors.

Fewer than 50 Harley-Davidson 8-valve racers were built from 1916-1928 and the circa-1927 example being offered with ‘no reserve’ at Shannons Melbourne Spring Auction on September 21 is one of only a handful to survive in untouched condition today.

It is a real ‘barnfind’, having been locked away in dry storage for much of the past 80 years and is believed to be one of only a handful of 8-valve Harley-Davidson racers worldwide to survive – especially in its condition and patina.

These powerful bikes were deliberately priced out of the reach of private enthusiasts during their 12-year production lifetime and were only offered to up and coming racers of the times. They cost a whopping US$1,500 new at a time when even the most expensive bikes usually sold for no more than US$350.

A large part of 8-valve’s desirability was their exceptional performance for the era. American historian/writer/publisher Floyd Clymer in July 1916 set two world dirt track records for one hour (83.71 miles) and 100 miles (one hour, 11 minutes, 45 seconds) and was one of the favoured few that were given access to the legendary 8-valve bikes.

A large part of the desirability of Harley-Davidson 8-valve racer was its exceptional performance and rarity, as they were only offered to up and coming racers of the era.

According to research by an early Harley expert, the bike being auctioned was last raced some time in the 1930s and competed in Victorian dirt track events before reportedly being put away afterwards.

Its last resting place saw the bike untouched in a dry storage facility for over 40 years, ensuring it remained virtually untouched and unmodified from the end its racing days.

Shannons National Auction Manager Christophe Boribon said it is rare to find such an important early racing motorcycle in such a collectible, unrestored condition.

This time warp circa-1927 Harley-Davidson was left untouched in a dry storage facility for over 40 years, ensuring it remained virtually untouched and unmodified from the end its racing days in the 1930s.

“Motorcycles of this calibre have been under-valued on the world market for some years,” he said. “This is truly a rare find.”

Because of its historic significance and unrestored condition, Shannons expect the 8-vale racer to sell with ‘no reserve’ for a substantial six-figure sum.

“Based on the enormous International interest already shown in this exceptional motorcycle, we believe its price could easily exceed our expectation,“ Boribon said.

View all September 21 Auction lots online

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