WWII Harley Photo Question

Military Motorcycles, and Other Military Two and Three Wheeled Cycles, Wanted, For Sale (NO AUCTION or EBAY) and Knowledge Base
Post Reply
mudflap
G-First Sergeant
G-First Sergeant
Posts: 144
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:07 pm
Location: Macomb MI

WWII Harley Photo Question

Post by mudflap » Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:05 pm

Gentlemen,

I usually hang out on the 2 1/2 ton truck site. Since my experiences are limited to vehicles that have a few more wheels than these, I thought I would turn to you for assistance.

Attached is a scan taken from a Kodachrome slide. The soldier in the image is my Dad. It was taken near San Antonio Texas, sometime in 1943. I'm pretty sure it is a Harley. My Dad used to talk about riding them and always referred to them as "Harley 45s".

On a side note, several weeks after this pic was taken, he took a spill, breaking the femur in his left leg. He was in traction for weeks, contracted pneumonia and almost died. Luckily (especially for me !!) he pulled through, but the accident left him with the left leg considerably shorter than the right. His foot also tended to point outward as the bones were not in very good alignment when they set. (I guess orthopedics back then was not quite as advanced as it is today :) )

In any case, anything that you can tell me about the bike in this pic would be greatly appreciated !!

Best Regards...


DadWithHarley01 Low.jpg
DadWithHarley01 Low.jpg (248.38 KiB) Viewed 648 times
Last edited by mudflap on Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

OLDABEWLA
Sergeant Major of the Gee
Sergeant Major of the Gee
Posts: 458
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:19 pm

Re: WWII Harley Question

Post by OLDABEWLA » Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:32 pm

Hi Mudflap,

Great photo! It's a timeless treasure you have of your father with the War Harley during WWII ! This is a photo that I like to collect.

Ok, The bike your father is standing next to is a 42WLA Harley-Davidson type II or type (2) they were built from December 10th 1941 to February 15th 1942 total of 3054 were built type HI series.
Registration numbers for the licence plate are W611204 to W614257 engine serial numbers are 42WLA7001 to roughly 42WLA13650

Information from Bruce Palmer III book ( How to restore your Military HD 1932-1952

Can you read the licence plate number? If so what is it?

Thanks Craig,

Old Abe WLA.
☆42WLA Harley-Davidson #19,246 Type III

OLDABEWLA
Sergeant Major of the Gee
Sergeant Major of the Gee
Posts: 458
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:19 pm

Re: WWII Harley Question

Post by OLDABEWLA » Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:41 pm

OLDABEWLA wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:32 pm
Hi Mudflap,

Great photo! It's a timeless treasure you have of your father with the War Harley during WWII ! This is a photo that I like to collect.

Ok, The bike your father is sitting/standing next to looks to be a 42WLA Harley-Davidson type II or type (2) with a high position ammo box, lower headlamp mount and small round aircleaner they were built from December 10th 1941 to February 15th 1942 total of 3054 were built type II series in the 42WLA production which there is VII
or (7) types.
The registration numbers for the licence plate are W611204 to W614257 engine serial numbers are 42WLA7001 to roughly 42WLA13650

Information is from Author Bruce Palmer III book ( How to restore your Military HD 1932-1952 and by the way Bruce has a beautiful restored 42WLA type II in his collection.

Can you read the licence plate number? If so what is it?

Thanks Craig,

Old Abe WLA.
☆42WLA Harley-Davidson #19,246 Type III

OLDABEWLA
Sergeant Major of the Gee
Sergeant Major of the Gee
Posts: 458
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:19 pm

Re: WWII Harley Question

Post by OLDABEWLA » Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:42 pm

Below
☆42WLA Harley-Davidson #19,246 Type III

mudflap
G-First Sergeant
G-First Sergeant
Posts: 144
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:07 pm
Location: Macomb MI

Re: WWII Harley Photo Question

Post by mudflap » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:26 pm

Hi OLDABEWLA,

Wow! Thanks !!

Both for the kind words and especially for the detailed information on the bike!

Here is an enlargement of the license plate. I can make out what I think is USA, but not the numbers. Not sure if I am reaching the limits of the actual image, the scanner, or maybe both. I can try scanning it again to see if I can get it any clearer.

Harley Closeup 01.jpg
Harley Closeup 01.jpg (38.71 KiB) Viewed 626 times

Also,

Here is the one other motorcycle image from that box of slides. It is a little more blury than the other. Don't know how fast WWII era Kodachrome film was, but I bet it was pretty slow.


DadWithHarley02 Low.jpg
DadWithHarley02 Low.jpg (197.84 KiB) Viewed 626 times
Thanks Again,

Best Regards,

Bob


Lib45
Sergeant Major of the Gee
Sergeant Major of the Gee
Posts: 329
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:38 am

Re: WWII Harley Photo Question

Post by Lib45 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:55 am

I think it reads : 'U.S.A. W-611729' which makes it a type II 42WLA, confirmed by the short round filter and the absence of the BO drive light.
The bike seems new..
Great photos, esspecially since they're in color!

OLDABEWLA
Sergeant Major of the Gee
Sergeant Major of the Gee
Posts: 458
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:19 pm

Re: WWII Harley Photo Question

Post by OLDABEWLA » Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:04 pm

Thanks Lib45,

For confirming it's a type II ! Couldn't really read the licence plate number but could see it starts with the W prefix.

Excellent rare color photo's they are great!

Craig
☆42WLA Harley-Davidson #19,246 Type III

User avatar
Johan WILLAERT
G-Colonel
G-Colonel
Posts: 1616
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2004 4:50 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: WWII Harley Photo Question

Post by Johan WILLAERT » Sun Apr 01, 2018 2:33 am

Great pictures, thanks for sharing.
MVPA#14204
Huffman D50546 (1942)
Westfield Columbia MG138969 & MG140418 (1943)
HD 42WLA31854 (1943)
Ford GPW272xxx (1945)
Bantam T3 56433(Est) (1945)
John Wood M3A4 17564 (1943)
Johnston Lawn Mower Co RL35-A 1255 (1944)
BSA Mark V* T136102 (1944)
The Liberator

Data Plate
G-Lieutenant Colonel
G-Lieutenant Colonel
Posts: 1002
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:22 pm
Location: New York

Re: WWII Harley Photo Question

Post by Data Plate » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:47 pm

Nice photos

Finn42
G-Sergeant Major
G-Sergeant Major
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 7:40 pm
Location: Santa Rosa, CA

Re: WWII Harley Photo Question

Post by Finn42 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:32 am

Great pic of the type 2. Thanks for sharing.
1942 GPW, vep
1942 T2 wla
1942 Bantam
1942 WC40

Post Reply

Return to “Motorcycles & Bicycles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests