First-Year Production Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead @ Mecum Monterey

First-Year Production Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead @ Mecum Monterey


Exacting and correct restoration
First year of the legendary Knucklehead
Overhead Valve 45 Degree V-Twin
61 CI engine rated at 40 HP
Linkert carburetor
Duplex chain primary
4-speed, hand shift and foot clutch
Drum brakes
6 volt battery electrics
Coil and points ignition
Double down tube rigid frame
Oval tube springer fork
Sprung seat
4.50x18 wheels and tires
59.5 inch wheelbase
565 lb dry weight
95 mph top speed

The Harley-Davidson Knucklehead, as evident throughout the iconic streamlined design of this 1936 EL, is unquestionably one of the greatest motorcycles ever built. Introduced by the Milwaukee Motor Company in 1936, the knucklehead recast the mold for the American motorcycle for decades to come, refining both the style and the substance of the culture. The heart of Harley-Davidson's new platform was an innovative 61 CI (989cc) overhead-valve V-twin, a 40 HP slugger capable of near triple-digit speeds. Still, the new engine, with the distinctive rocker boxes that inspired its nickname, was far from the only unique feature that made the new model the epitome of American motorcycling.

Speed, efficiency and style were the foundations of the Knucklehead project, which dated back to the dim years of the Great Depression. On the mechanical side, the EL introduced hemispherical combustion chambers, a circulating oiling system, an efficient single camshaft and a 4-speed constant mesh gearbox to the Harley-Davidson range. The drivetrain was tucked into a double-downtube frame with heavy truss-reinforced castings, an oval-tube springer fork and a patented sprung seat post, making the Knucklehead one of the lowest and leanest machines on the market. The Milwaukee Motor Company had been implementing more streamlined styling throughout the 1930s, but for the 1936 EL, a new height in design was achieved. A refined "Air-Flo" tank and fenders were finished in myriad striking color combinations, and the premier touring motorcycle of the 1930s came complete with features like crash bars, mechanically actuated gauges, a lighted dash and toolbox.

The 1936 Knucklehead marked a new era for Harley-Davidson, and this meticulously restored example remains a testament to the legacy it solidified for the company. Painstakingly restored by the expert hands of Paul Dino at HP Cycles in Berwick, Maine, this 1936 features countless original and NOS parts. Handsomely finished in Harley-Davidson's Dusk Gray and Royal Buff paint combination, this 1936 boasts notable original parts such as the extremely rare mid-1936 open rocker heads, small brace front fender, original dash and speedometer, and the toolbox. Even the gas caps and fluid lines are scarce originals. The restoration process of such a rare and remarkable motorcycle took tremendous effort; still, it is an effort warranted and universally appreciated for one of the world's most iconic machines.

Related Market and Auction Articles

4,922 articles