Five Things You Never Knew Harley-Davidson Made

Even in it's earliest days, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company has produced more than two-wheeled motorcycles. Some of these things might surprise you!

Harley-Davidson is best known worldwide for its production of motorcycles, but from the earliest beginnings it was a diverse company producing a variety of products

Letterhead from 1905 referred to a product line that included: ‘Motor Cycles,’ ‘Motor Cycle Motors,’ ‘Marine Motors,’ ‘Reversable Propellers,’ and ‘Automatic Float Feed Carburetors.’ The ability to change and adapt to fit customer needs for over a century has remained central to the company’s business model. Here are five items you might not know the Motor Company produced.

U.S. Mail Service Forecar (1913) by L. C. RosenkransHarley-Davidson Museum

1. Forecar

Harley-Davidson’s first three-wheeled vehicle was the Forecar, used for commercial delivery. It had a 600-pound payload capacity and was used to deliver everything from mail to groceries. 

Harley-Davidson® Forecar (1913) by L. C. RosenkransHarley-Davidson Museum

The Forecar used a standard Harley-Davidson® twin cylinder chain drive motorcycle, with the front fork and wheel replaced with a delivery box over two front wheels connected to the steering head. It was produced for three years (1913 and 1915) and offered in only one model.

Engine for Worthington lawnmower (1929) by Harley-Davidson Motor Company and Worthington Mower CompanyHarley-Davidson Museum

2. Overgreen lawnmower engines for Worthington Mower Company

In 1929, Harley-Davidson began supplying single cylinder side-valve engines to power Overgreen model lawnmowers. Charles Worthington invented the large commercial mower to cut grass on newly emerging professional golf courses.

Experimental earth tiller (1932)Harley-Davidson Museum

Harley-Davidson supplied engines to Worthington Mower Company throughout the Great Depression. During the period, many other ideas were experimented with. In this case, an earth tiller is driven by a Harley-Davidson® small engine.

Utilicar (1965)Harley-Davidson Museum

3. Utilicar

Based on their successful model D golf car, Harley-Davidson debuted the Utilicar for the 1966 model year. Two models were produced, an electric version for inside factories and a gasoline version (that could reach 32 mph) for outdoor use.

Utilicar with enclosure (1965)Harley-Davidson Museum

The Utilicar had a 750-pound payload capacity. Five different cargo combinations were  available: flatbed, steel cargo box, stake box, cargo stake box and personnel carrier. It could also be ordered with an optional fiberglass cab enclosure.

Rocket motor for target drone (1993) by Harley-Davidson Motor CompanyHarley-Davidson Museum

4. LR-64 Drone Rocket Engine

Originally instigated through the AMF merger, H-D produced the LR-64 engine for the U.S. military for nearly 30 years. The engine propelled the AQM-37A Supersonic target drone used to simulate incoming intercontinental ballistic missile attacks in jet fighter training exercise.

Tomahawk Boats brochure (1964) by Harley-Davidson Motor CompanyHarley-Davidson Museum

5. Tomahawk Boats

Harley-Davidson purchased the Tomahawk Boat Manufacturing Company in Tomahawk, Wisconsin in 1961. The company had a growing need for fiberglass manufacturing capabilities in order to supply golf car, Servi-Car, and sidecar bodies, as well as motorcycle fairings and saddlebags. 

Tomahawk Boats brochure (1963) by Harley-Davidson Motor CompanyHarley-Davidson Museum

Several boat lengths and versions were produced, ranging from an 11-foot fishing model to an 18-foot pleasure craft. Both inboard and outboard engine configurations were available as well. Harley-Davidson continued to produce Tomahawk boats until 1965.

Hill Climber statue (2008) by Jeff DeckerHarley-Davidson Museum

Experience the History of Harley-Davidson

Discover culture and history through stories and exhibits that celebrate expression, camaraderie and love for

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Credits: Story

Harley-Davidson Museum
Harley-Davidson Archives

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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