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Post  roddie Sun May 22, 2016 5:52 pm

While out "yard-sailing" yesterday, I came across this bike which reportedly saw action in Europe.

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For some reason.. I can see our "Kim" (in particular..) loving this!
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Post  Kim Sun May 22, 2016 6:30 pm

WHOA MOMMA !!!!!!!
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Post  balogh Mon May 23, 2016 4:13 am

Is this a Harley Davidson or Indian? Looks like a horse of a cowboy equipped with all saadle bag items like gun and shovel...
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Post  Kim Mon May 23, 2016 5:26 am

Pretty sure it's a Harley...I've got a big book tucked away somewhere that does a photo/chronology from their beginnings back in 1902 or so.

Can't go wrong with a Tommy Gun strapped to your fork !!!!
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Post  roddie Mon May 23, 2016 5:37 am

balogh wrote:Is this a Harley Davidson or Indian? Looks like a horse of a cowboy equipped with all saadle bag items like gun and shovel...

This is a Harley Davidson model WLA. It has a 45 cu. in. twin "flat-head" engine having a 5:1 compression ratio, in order to run on the pre-WWII low-octane gasoline; hence the "L" designation. "W" was the general model designation and "A" was the Army model.

FYI

WLA Harley Davidson WIKI
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Post  fit90 Mon May 23, 2016 6:48 am

Sweet. An old boss of mine had one that was supposdly made to export to our European allies. The shifter was on the other side. It was tricky to ride, at first.
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Post  fredvon4 Tue May 24, 2016 3:10 pm

I am a big Harley Davidson guy and always wanted to find the mythical warehouse full of war surplus WLAs

It is a fact that severla hundreds of these were sold after the war as surplus for low cost

It is also a fact that these were not terribly good machienes (at the time of surplus sale) as Harley had been in business throuout the war they were in a good position to raplidly fill market needs post war after the restrictions on fuel/metal/rubber for vehicles were lifted. Many of their newer production was more desirable and the WLA mostly went to vets or newbies just starting (they were very cheap)

When I was younger I wanted one as I think they are cool

I happened to be in Germany when the WALL fell and we were allowed travel in and through all the former Soviet countries.
Severl co-workers and I planned and made a 2 week Harley Motorcycle trip from Wiesbaden Germany to Poland, Czech republic, Romania, Austria, Serbia/Bosnia(before the problems) and back to Germany up the Danube river...

The place we stayed in the Czech republic was a planned stop becaus we wanted to visit the REAL BUDWEISER brewery in Budvar. And we did. GRIN

The owner of the hotel we stayed in was super pro American and a underground freedom subversive /resistance guy who hated the GERMANS then the Soviet / Russions screwing with his country.
He and his band of underground guys (the three of them) had secreted away a LOT of military hardware the the 4th Armored Division left behind after the V and XII Corps liberation of western Czechoslovakia from Nazi German occupation. I think mid 1945...buy bad CRS

He was very proud to take us to the sealed mine shaft near his home and show us Guns, grenades, ammunition, Tanks (yes Virginia they had 3 of the 4th Armored Division M4 Sherman tanks), Half-tracks, and our interest---- 15 new never used OD green Harley WLAs in crates  

We told him all about the late 1940s and 1950s war surplus sales in the states and we told him how high the intrest was for ANY Harley in central europe was. We all said that he and his friends could sell each of the 15 WLAs for a very high price to the Germans

I have lost touch with Mr. Michelle Vernage but back around 2001 he told me they had sold all but 3 (one for each of them) and made a small fortune off the Germans that funded a new hotle and resturant and they each were sitting very well off.


True story
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Post  roddie Tue May 24, 2016 4:18 pm

Thanks for sharing that amazing story Fred! You have lived quite a life man!
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Post  getback Tue May 24, 2016 6:00 pm

roddie wrote:Thanks for sharing that amazing story Fred! You have lived quite a life man!
Ditto!! I can tell anyone who would jump from a perfectly good airplane ....lol Eric Babe Bee
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Post  dckrsn Tue May 24, 2016 8:26 pm

getback wrote:
roddie wrote:Thanks for sharing that amazing story Fred! You have lived quite a life man!
   Ditto!! I can tell anyone who would jump from a perfectly good airplane ....lol Eric Babe Bee
Thanks,Eric. Only out loud laugh I had tonight. You kill me brother. Hats Off
Great story, Fred.
Bob
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Post  balogh Tue May 24, 2016 8:59 pm

fredvon4 wrote:......
I happened to be in Germany when the WALL fell and we were allowed travel in and through all the former Soviet countries.
Severl co-workers and I planned and made a 2 week Harley Motorcycle trip from Wiesbaden Germany to Poland, Czech republic, Romania, Austria, Serbia/Bosnia(before the problems) and back to Germany up the Danube river...

......True story

I was just wondering whether you also crossed Hungary (sitting between Roumania and Austria) which BTW played a crucial role in tearing down the Berlin wall by allowing East Germans to emigrate to the West in the summer of 1989 through its border with Austria, and the collapse of East Germany was triggered by this event...at least you would have found similar sentiments in my country towards the then still existing Soviet Union....and could meet  many Harley Davidson motorcycles each summer of the past 17 years at  lake Balaton where probably the largest European Harley festivals are held each year, with bikers from practically all continents including the USA calling in....http://www.openroadfest.hu/en/
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Post  fredvon4 Wed May 25, 2016 8:33 am

Balogh
Our trip was late Spring of 1992 and yes we did ride through Hungary staying one night in Budapest.  As a group of five Army soldiers on big twin Harley's were were well received in every country along our path.  Most of the over night (pre-planned) stays, found us answering many of the same questions about the USA.  Many times focusing on if Texas was still wild wild west with cowboys.

A LOT of political and Military talk mostly from the 50~60 year old men we ate and drank with.  IN EVERY case, at each place we stopped, there was NO LANGUAGE barrier...if the older folks who wanted to talk to us needed, they called a teen or younger child over to translate

Another thing we all found interesting was all of the older men we talked to knew much more about WWII USA and BRIT armed forces, specific operations (liberation of here or there), and all were keenly concerned that the USA would leave central Europe now that the "Wall" was removed. And it looked like the future military focus would be middle east

This of course is because during my last tour (post Desert Storm '90~'91)  late 1991 to 1993 we closed down, turned it, and sent home the entire US VII Corps (a full 1/3rd of our Army forces in Germany)

It has been long ago so fuzzy on all the stops...some countries were fast rides as we quickly learned none of the police seem to care if we drove 70 MPH or 100 MPH

Major cities I remember
Start Wiesbaden
Deliberatly crossed into east Germany at FULDA becaus we had all spent time "on the border" looking at the Soviet soldiers for so many years
Berlin
Warsaw
Prague
Vienna
Budapest
Sarajevo
Zagreb
Salzburg

I attended many many of the annual European Bike festivals, all in different countries, from the late 70s through early 90s but none in the former Soviet Union

For new folks reading... My Enlisted Army career of 24 years posted me to Germany 5 times: One was 2 years no family, and four were 3 year tours with my wife and children, a bit over 15 years total working and living some place in Germany.

You may scratch your head at the math.... Many times ,while posted in the USA, my unit deployed to Germany for an annual 2 to 3 month event called REFORGER...(Return of Forces Germany) a large NATO exercise
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