First to Canada – 1942 Harley-Davidson WLC

In America, Cruiser by AbhiLeave a Comment

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You’ve probably heard of the Harley-Davidson WLA before. It was, by far, the most common bike that Harley built for the military, but it’s not easy to find nowadays. The original acronym stood for: W – an existing model line, L – high compression, A – Army), this bike helped create a dramatic rise in Harley’s popularity as surplus bikes were sold to civilians, many of whom were servicemen that had come back from the war and wanted a bike like the ones he rode or saw during wartime. Well, our neighbors to the north in Canada got a similar bike with a few differences, including the name. It was called the WLC. Per the serial number, this is the first WLC that was sent to Canada.

I noted above that the “L” designation was Harley’s letter for “High” compression, though in reality the Army used a medium compression variant for higher reliability. Even then, what was medium compression 70 years ago is, as you’d expect, very low now – just 5:1. Because of this, you can actually run this bike on 74 octane. For more on the Harley-Davidson WLC and what made it different than the WLA, check out this page on The Liberator.

This example (VIN: 42WLC1000) is claimed to be the first WLC, however the seller notes a caveat: “As with most 45″ flathead motors used during the war, it was replaced rather than repaired to expedite its return back to the front lines, even though most repairs were minor. Mechanics would stamp the replacement motors with the serial number from the replaced motor. I am currently working with the top three experts in WLA and WLC Harley Davidson Motorcycles to certify that mine is in fact, the very first Solo 45″ built for WW2. Once I have the official certification in place, I will ask double of what I am asking now.

The seller also says that this WLC “was built in August 1941, four months prior to the United States entering the war.” It was imported from Belgium in 2004 and it now has 18,600 miles on the odometer. Everything is said to work and it comes with a fender-mounted toolbox, toolkit, leather rifle holster, and some additional documentation. So, what do you say – worth looking at in detail right now or do you need to wait until the seller gets some sort of certification?

Find this WLC for sale in Windsor, Colorado for $30,000 here on Craigslist.

This bike-uriousity brought to you by Robert K!

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