onsdag 28. desember 2011

American Motorcycles Norway

It is still Christmas, let us enjoy another great photo from Yesterdaze`s motorcycling life. This is a image taken during one of many ice races held in Norway during the twenties. These races were very popular and high speeds were obtained during these events.

Keep in mind no roads where stretching out as the ice of a frozen lake, hence winter were times for motorsport and high speeds.

Plastic aint fantastic

Still in pain from digesting the Christmas pudding I found time was there to make the final mechanical repair to my ol panheads chassis, replacing parts of its front mudguard wich in its previous life had been repaired by plastic padding. Wich is a brilliant method of hiding rust but in my point of view not an repair.

One could easily ask, why attacking the only part looking decent on your bike with a grinder?

Suspicion. If something looks to good be true, then it for sure is false. We all know Harley mudguards rust apart in the area where it attach to the fork, this where its double plates.

fredag 23. desember 2011

Greetings for all

OK all you gear heads, motocyclist`s, motorcyclist`s, collectors, pack rats, friends, fellow bloggers and whoever pass by this blog;

Merry Christmas & Happy New year to all

Hope to see you in 2012

Sverre & Øyunn

onsdag 21. desember 2011

Enrique Pontolillo

Christmas came early this year. Today to be more precise, when recieving a parcel I had been looking forward to get. I tell you I was not dissapointed, nope I was stunned when checking out the last book presented by Eggi, a German Harley enthusiast and author / co-author of several books devoted to the Harley history. This time Eggi offer for your reading / viewing pleasure a 640 pages book including more than 1000 illustrations covering the life of a truly interesting person, living his entire life devoted to Harley Davidson. This person is Enrique Pontolillo, selling Harley Davidson motorcycles in Lima - Peru for allmost a decade.
To get an idea what this book is all about, check out Fritz of Harleysons homepage, order the book at Eggis Pontolillo site on the www.

tirsdag 20. desember 2011

Various ways of relaxing

My last decent motorcycle road trip this autumn, I found myself travel a total of 90km`s gravel road in a single day. Every new sign pointing in the direction of a dead end, I just have to follow it.
You never know what might be there, better check it out.
There is nothing like motorcycling in late Oktober when air is cold and crisp, sun with no real heat, no leafs on the trees make visibility better than any other time of the year, what a day.
Talking to old people with internal clocks who seems to be set to another pace than what we modern people follow is an adventure in itself.
Turning the conversation onto the motorcycle theme is a must, would there by any chance be any left?

When in the evening I`m getting back to the nest, the temperature is just above zero degrees.

Did I pic anything motorcycle related, nope no luck this time, but adding a bunch of periodic oil cans to my collection is a fair substitute.

Why am I writing this in retrospect?
Sob, its because winter starts getting a grab at me now, I would have liked going for a ride on any of my bikes, there is nothing as relaxing as this.

torsdag 15. desember 2011


Years ago I was given a picture as well as a tip on where an old Harley sidecar racer where resting, this was then supposedly for sale by its owner.
As, back then my finances where rather limited I didnt allow myself to strike any deal, and I didnt offer to many thoughts on this bike for years (which is not quite true as I heard of others from time to time considering the same bike) until recently when I learned the bike had finally changed hands after all those years.
For me and others this bike was known as the bike that had been raced by "Harley Nilsen", which Nilsen? for sure I didnt know.

Recently I was in the area of the bike`s new home and its owner Eirik offered me to visit his garage to check it out.

This bike is a cool homebrewed racer based on a std 25-27 Harley twin with a cut down sidecar. Engine is a std. 1929 61" (at least from the outside view). Still there is some other cool features worth to notice. The rear part of its fork is the oddball dropforged JDH style, the one not mentioned in any parts books - ever. For those familiar with sites as the AMCA forum as well as the Caimag forum, not to forget anything related to Cutdowns or early bobbers will know this part.

Another detail is the original fork stabilizer, a Harley accessory causing the front part of the fork to get less flexible. AND yes the original is cast in steel, not brass. This is another issue which is consistently discussed at various forums.

A homemade arrangement made by shackles and wire is attached to the forks right side to further improve its stiffness when going left only at the race tracks.

Leather protection is added to the fuel tank as the rider on a sidecar racer has to move a lot to keep the front wheel grounded. Hoops are attached all over the bike to allow the sidecar monkey to be present where needed. His job is something different to any other. At least there are no brakes on this hack as sudden braking is what scares modern sidecar monkeys the most.

Front wheel seems to be turned 180 degree as the drum is opposite to the fork lug where the brake shackle should be anchored. Talking on front wheel, seems like front tire is taken from a period tractor, cool.
Rear tire is one scary tire, that’s a monster I have never seen on a bike before, bet that gave a god grip on those horse tracks or uphill events.
Having checked out the bike in itself I started dwelling with them cool plaques attached to the sidecar boot.
This is so cool; every race in which the bike has participated and the great wins by Harly-Nilsen is proven by those plaques from 1933 to 1939 as well as a particular plaque for 1940-45.

Plaque details from sidecar hood.
AMK, we know NMK Norsk Motorcycle Club in the earlier years (to become Norsk Motor Klubb), who were AMK? I had heard of AMK before but hadn’t used any effort in investigating this until now triggered by this bike.
AMK were kind of an opposite of the NMK. This as AMK where the Workers Motor Club (we have previously learned NMK where more upper class guys), one could easily state AMK to be to the left of those NMK guys as the worker movements in the thirties where strongly directed towards socialism.
AMK was founded in 1933 (hence a 1933 memory plaque on the sidecar), the year of the great economic depression that scared the entire world as well as it got the working class to grow even stronger.
And, of course did the working class ride motorcycles as well as being interested in the sport of such, but from what I have learned AMK were not allowed to participate in races organized by NMK in the early years. If is true or not I have not figured out by now, I will need to dig further into that.
What I do know is both NMK & AMK came along with their motorbikes covered with flowers in an event held in Oslo the summer of 1945 when the war had just ended. I bet they by then had figured the class issue was of less importance and where able to join their forces on the racing issue.

I had never seen or studied the AMK logo prior to the visit in Eiriks garage, a red star in a green circle surrounded by corn ears.
No doubt those guys where politically left wing.

From the plaques we learn Harley-Nilsen have been the "workers champion" as well as "Scandinavian champion" trough out the thirties. In addition there are plaques for races held all over eastern Norway. I don’t know for sure, tough I recon the 1940 to 45 plaque is there to tell there was no racing during WWII.
Unfortunately my investigations have turned out there is limited to none information to find on the AMK in official archives, I have been told most of the labor movement lost everything during the war.

My interest is now facing who was this Harley-Nilsen once riding the bike?

First off I learned the guy behind the nick Harley-Nilsen`s true name was Erling. A search on the www got me in contact with his daughter Grethe. Even if born after her father had ended his career as a motorcycle racer she was well aware of her father`s keen interest in motorcycling and his participation in races during the thirties. She was indeed pleased to share information with me on Erlings life during our phone conversation.
Erling was born in 1904, passing away too young at the age of 59 in 1963. For sure he had been a working class hero, a mechanic of god`s grace with a load of artistic skills added to his practical ones.
Not only did he own a bunch of various Harleys during the thirties, forties and early fifties giving him his nick name Harley-Nilsen, he did wrench, rebuild and even build his own improvements to the bikes to make them serve his needs. In pictures provided by his daughter showing some of his bikes, most of the earlier ones have the modification to the side of their front fork as seen on Eiriks race bike. Apparently Erling believed in this modification. According to a news paper clip from 1946 he made at least 7 or 8 enclosed sidecars trough the years, this to prevent his wife from getting soaked when touring the country side. Erling`s Harley`s started with the early style IOE`s from the twenties, later there would be thirties VL`s.

Erling and wife with a Harley rebuilt to the Nilsen spec.

Grethes mother dressed in an aviation style helmet, googles, kidney belt, motorcycle gloves and windproof coverall. Life is a thrill on a motorcycle.

A very cool detail in relation to Erlings motorcycle rebuilds is the fact he made scale models of his bikes, one off which is still in the family.
Picture of a Harley scale model, even this have plaques on the sidecar hood.

Same bike as the model in a newspaper clip from 1946.
Erling was not only a Harley enthusiast, motorcyclist, motorcycle racer and working class hero. He according to his daughter invented stuff as well, small things and bigger ones, such as the principals for the “Lillebror” camper to be produced by the company Widerøe from 1957 to 1971. The Lillebror invention was most likely a product evolving from trailers Erling would pull behind his sidecar hacks when he went camping at the countryside
A more artistic mission where the huge 8-10 meter(25-30 feet) Banana once located on the roof top at Banana Mathiesen in Oslo. Guess what Mathiesen imported!, all our Bananas for a decade. This Banana is still in existence at the Hennie Onstad art museum.
In addition to working in his own workshop from where he serviced a bunch of Oslos Harley riders at the time, Erling added a steady job as scene mechanic / builder at Chat Noir. This was Oslo’s most reputed theatre during the 1900`s
Erling Løwer Nilsen seems to have been one of these guys with unlimited resources and endless days.
I look forward to learn more from his racing career as well as the AMK, stay tuned.

Erling with his cream 1929 JD, this bike represent the end of the IOE era. Most of Erlings bikes where painted cream (as his racer), according to his daughter this cream colour was sort of an trademark to him.

Added 17.12.2011;
This is a picture I really appreciate, Erlings two daughters checking out their fathers old race Harley.
Both girls seems to have the racing gene from their father.
The other pic show some of Erlings prizes won in AMK races during the thirties.

Erlings daughter Grethe, Eirik & Arne Bjørn, Dagfinn Johansen, Aftenposten
Note: Pics of pics showing some of Nilsens Harleys will be replaced as soon as they have been properly digitalized, promise too.

tirsdag 13. desember 2011

American Motorcycles Norway

I have in previous posts stated Harley Davidson was the number one chose of motorcycles availiable during the late teens, through the twenties and into the early thirties.
How many Harleys was sold in these years? We will never find out for sure as private actors imported and sold bikes, new and used, with or without warranty then as today.
What we do know, is that by mid October 1929 the official sales by Sørensen & Balchen whom was the official general agent passed 3000 bikes.

This must have caused an official celebration at S&B, as well as they posted an special ad to chosen newspapers to brag the Harley superiority.

Whom was chosen to represent Harley in their ad, none other than Bjarne Whist and his keystone framed racer wich we know from a previous post on this blog.

As stated by S&B in 1929;
Harley Davidson, none more solid, powerful and reliable, as made for Norwegian roads.

3000 bikes by 1929, no wonder there are still a bunch of those old IOE engined Hog`s around.

søndag 11. desember 2011

American Motorcycles Norway

Quite sure this is another super rare Iver Johnson. There is no other bike sporting an odd shaped curved fueltank as the Iver Johnson does.

lørdag 10. desember 2011

Tom Fredrik`s 45"

In some ways I would have liked Norway not being such a long country with people living scattered around . Tom lives in the middle of Norway, me all the way down south. That is a looong way to go for a meet and an evening spin. If we had lived in, lets say Denmark, we could meet in the middle and enjoy a ride to go home for a late supper.
Anyway and anyhow, Toms ride is a beautiful Harley 45" that started (according to Tom) as a WWII WL but shortley after Normandie rebuilt to be sold as a sivilian bike as early as in 1946. This is a bike brought back to life by NOS and more NOS or used original parts. What`s even better, its a daily rider trough the summer season, either with a solo saddle or a buddy seat to bring someone along for a ride. Tom, you can look forward to next summers rides, thats what a 45" is made for, to be used.

American Motorcycles Norway

This image might not be of the best quality, but still an interesting picture. A beautiful Excelsior w. a sidecar attached, a model 19 (correct me if Ì`m wrong)made by Schwinn in Chicago. This bike is a beauty, grey with red side panels on the fuel tank where a golden X tell you the bike brand. Mother rides pillion, both daughters tucked into the sidecar when the X huff`s and puff`s along the narrow gravel roads. The only way to get across many lakes or rivers these days is by means of barges attached to a submerged cable. This cable was used to propel the barge across as well as it prevented the barge to float downstream when on a river . There are still a limited number of these ferries in use, though slightly upgraded. My favourite is still in use to cross lake Nisser in Telemark, pics have been posted on this blog previously.

The ferry man, a local seems to be a tough and rugged chap. His jacket should desperately need a wash, as well as its size seems to have shrunk or the ferryman`s size have increased since the jacket was purchased, either or.

The stack of fire wood in the far left of the pic make me think there is a steam boat coming to shore to deliver folks and goods whenever passing. Manyt small steamers traveling inland had their boilers heated by means of firewood sold by the locals.

I love these old pics, to read them as a story just by looking.

Keep in mind; Excelsior, always makes good.

fredag 9. desember 2011

Olavs 36 VL hack

Olav is a chap I`ve learned to know trough the www in recent times, tough it appears our roads have crossed before without knowing (Once my fierce bidding caused him a pretty expensive Knucklehead. Still he was the toughest in the end, arf).
We both have 48 Pans, his a bit more roadworthy at time beeing and I just learned it could easily been him having bought my Pan project as according to himself he dribbled for that one too. I bet he dont regret too hard having followed my work in giving a rebirth to the old lady.

Olavs last score is this great looking 1936 VL combination. A great machine that I admit would not have felt hard to own. The later VL`s are well designed machines capable of taking hard use as well as parts are no problem thanks to Steve at VL-heaven.

Early VL`s are still pretty cheap to get hold of in Scandinavia, I recon if they have been properly set up its a god investment, tough they have a more slender apperance, more like the J era bikes. That those early VL`s too can handle lots of mileage is proved by Bengts VL previously presented on this blog, that`s a bike getting lot of km`s a year.

torsdag 8. desember 2011

Head job and stiff nipples

Short update on the Pan. As heads where now removed time was due to get their internals inspected. As most engine heads are hard to get properly placed in a vice. My preference is to make a custom tool to fit in the spark plug hole, this in its turn allow an easier fit in the vice and the head can easily be turned to the most sutable angle. Spark plug threads on my Pan heads where 14x1,25, easily turned in my trusty Mayford screw cutting lathe (what would life be without one?).
It appeared my 25 year old valve spring compress tool had to be slightly modified to be able to work on the Pan heads too, no big deal.

To be able to get the manifoild nipples removed without disturbing the head threads (their threads where badly disturbed in the area where the securing rivet had been replaced by a soft screw. This allowing those parts to work back and forth, no good and a fair amount of gasket compound did not solve the "real" problem) they had to be split twice by a junior hack saw blade, a paintaking process of umpteen minimal cuts. When split the intake nipples where given enough pain by a chisel to slip out of their holes, sucess, no thread damage.

Upon inspection of valves, guides, springs etc. the conclusion was quite easy, change it all!

tirsdag 29. november 2011

Panhead project, get the guts out of this engine.

I would like to use the words of my since long passed granma; when it appears to be real bad, keep in mind it could always be worse!

Unconventional solutions were required during disassembly, oh my!

lørdag 26. november 2011

Garage visit II

Still in the Western part of Norway, Tor picked me up at the hotel to take me along to another guy serious about his Harley Davidsons, Otto.
Otto bought his first Milwaukee marvel back in 1964 when with his brother he went off to a nearby town to buy a car. The bike that lit his Harley fire, a 1941 E Knucklehead is still his favorite Harley Davidson. This year his Knuck is getting a major overhaul, this means getting its first real restoration, a task easily taken care of by Otto in a garage where the level of tools added with his skills allow him to make pretty much anything mechanical.
Among Ottos bikes there is one interesting flathead that have previously been presented in "pics from yesterdaze". This bike once belonged to a friends grandpa, this is where the photo came from.
How Otto manage to keep his "indoors" Harleys in such a flawless original condition tough still being used outside, I wonder. When did you see a 100% original Super Glide with the factory stickers for tire air pressure still on the rims???

Garage visit I

Sometimes it is good for your inspiration visiting others addicted to the same hobby as yourself, old motorcycles in general and Harley Davidsons in particular.
A few days ago I attended a work related conferense in the western parts of Norway, finnishing early ment there was time to visit my friend Tor`s place. His life is all about Harley Davidsons and if there ever is going to be a TV quiz related to "what fits where and what year is this part for" on a Harley Davidson, Tor would win, no doubt on that.
Tor is dead a dead serious collector of HD Accessories catalogs, I think he have the whole bunch of them, and he have pretty much of what is in them as well. Tor fancy all that "bling" you could fit to your Pan or Knuck, loads of it.

He is the only one I know owning a pair of Harley siblings, two original paint AMF electra glides with subsequent engine numbers, the only two sold in Norway that year, oh my!
His 1933 VL in original condition is a rare bird indeed, you have to go as far back as 1910 to find a year when Milwaukee produced less bikes than in 1933 when all markets suffered badly from the great depression.
Well, enjoy a few snaps from inside Tor`s cave.