Launched in 1937 as a replacement for the “D” model, the WLD was Harley’s middle weight side valve machine. While using a slightly lower tech design than the larger OHV EL model, the “flathead” or “side-valve” WL 45 was the backbone of Harley’s lineup. Not only did it serve well in modified trim as a courier machine in World War II, the WLA, but in numerous two and three-wheeled versions it was the mount of choice for police departments. The WL series enjoyed great commercial service and in the WLDR and WR was the basis of the Class C flat track racing series which AMA launched in 1934.
This WLD, currently on display at the National Motorcycle Museum has been treated to a lot of chrome work by its owner including wheels, primary cover and battery box, has a fine set of leather saddlebags, white wall tires, some tasteful pin striping and a pair of spotlights.
In an effort to make yet a sportier lightweight machine to compete better with British offerings, the side-valve K Model was released in 1952. Ending a long and venerable heritage, the WL model was discontinued though the engine lived on in Servi-Cars. The 1952 K Model was Harley’s first production machine with rear suspension with the FL following in 1958.
- Engine – 45 Degree Side Valve V-Twin
- Displacement – 45 Cubic Inches / 750 cc’s
- Bore & Stroke – 2.75″ x 3.81″
- Carburetor – Linkert
- Primary – Duplex Chain
- Clutch – Dry, Multi-disk
- Transmission – 3-Speed, Hand Shift
- Ignition – 6V Battery, Points & Coils
- Frame – Single Down Tube
- Suspension – Springer Fork/Rigid Rear
- Brakes – Drum, Internal Expanding
- Wheelbase – 57.5″
- Weight – 530
- Wheels/Tires – 5.00″x16″