Last and First – 1948 Harley Davidson FL

In America, Cruiser by Tom WackerLeave a Comment

Big news from the motor company in 1948 – the motor that would soon become known as the Panhead. Not only was the shape of the rocker covers different, but the heads were aluminum alloy (as opposed to cast iron) which greatly helped the cooling. The cam and rocker arms were redesigned to facilitate oil circulation and hydraulic lifters were fitted for the first time. Manual valve adjustment became unnecessary.

The Panhead rocker cover was redone to attempt to control oil leakage. The design was only partially successful, the Panhead leaked oil from the top end.

This was the last year of the standard ‘springer’ front suspension on the FLs. 1949 would see the introduction of the Hydra-Glide, which was also the first of the FLs to get a name and not just a model designation. 1948 was also the last year for the U and UL big twins and their 80 CID Flathead motors.

Here’s a cool short video of Dale Waxler starting a 1948 FL:

The 1948 Harley Davidson FL used a 74 CID (1210 CC) air cooled four stroke overhead valve V-Twin motor that made 55 HP. A 4 speed transmission with hand shift and toe clutch, springer front suspension and rigid rear with a dry weight of 564 LBS completes the package.

This 1948 Harley Davidson FL (VIN# 48FLXX10) is in Goodview, Virginia and is listed as an unrestored original with tanks and fenders repainted. Current bid is $6,200 (60 bids already)

Cycle World
Hydra Glide