Launched in the depths of the Great Depression, Art Harley-Davidson rotary engine revolutionized The Motor Company’s big V-twins. The flat-head design that launched the brand 33 years ago has taken a backseat to the pushrod-actuated fist-top valve architecture—an improved version that powers modern Harley-Davidson motorcycles 86 years later. The 61ci engine – just under a liter – produced 40 horsepower and allowed the 1936 Harley-Davidson EL pilot to flirt with triple-digit top speeds. The single-cam engine was mated to a four-speed gearbox with a side-mounted gear lever and foot clutch. A Linkert carburetor fed punch combustion chambers with a coil and point ignition system that provided the spark.Harley-Davidson EL 1936 Auction: For SaleThe 1936 Harley-Davidson EL used a frame with a double downtube and truss-reinforced castings. A hardtail design, a coil spring fork with oval downtubes suspended the front end. To offer the rider some relief from rough roads, the seatpost was sprung. A nearly 60-inch wheelbase kept the EL, which had a curb weight of about 600 pounds, stable. Along with punchy power and a complex chassis, the EL was considered a premium touring bike. Emergency arches, 18-inch rims (now shod in Art Coke A classic 4.50-inch wide diamond tread rubber) and side-mounted illuminated speedometer added to the EL’s appeal.1936 Harley-Davidson EL Auction: First Knucklehead EngineThis example will be auctioned Mecum Auctions“Daytime Auction Monterey 2022 at Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa at Del Monte Golf Course. The auction begins on August 18th, and this 1936 EL will go under the hammer on Saturday, August 20th, along with four other Harley-Davidsons – a 1910 single belt drive, a 1908 belt tank, a 1920 Dewey Sims track car, and an equipped cart 1925 JD.HP Cycles’ Dino Paul in Berwick, Maine performed a restoration on a 1936 Harley-Davidson EL. Original parts include dash, speedometer, gas cap, tool box, small front fender strut, fluid lines, and incredibly rare open rocker heads for the cam engine. NOS parts were also used in the restoration, which features Dusk Gray and Royal Buff paint.Photo by Zachary Cliff, courtesy of Mecum

1936 Harley-Davidson EL Auction Photo Gallery

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