2022 Shannons Autumn Timed Online Auction

1959 Harley-Davidson Panhead Motorcycle





Engine 1.2-litre V-twin
Gearbox four-speed manual
Body Work Motorcycle
Colour Red/Ivory
Trim Black
Wheels Chrome Wire
Brakes Drums


This lot is no longer available

The first Panhead—or model FL – arrived in dealers’ showrooms in 1948, just in time to be a major part of the postwar motorcycle boom. The name came from the rocker covers which resembled inverted frying pans! A generation of young servicemen had grown up on the battlefield, some of them having ridden Harley’s WLA 45-inch military model in combat. Though slow, the big, low-powered twin captured the imagination of many of the soldiers who rode it, while stirring pangs of jealousy in many of the foot-slogging infantry. The model evolved steadily and by 1958 it finally got hydraulic brakes for the rear (already having them on the front). While it would never win any races, the Panhead’s V-twin had staying power and enough torque to devour mountain passes in high gear. The plush new fork, combined with a long-travel sprung seat and wide, comfortable footboards – not to mention the switch to a hand-operated clutch and foot-operated gearchange – combined to make a roadburner that was difficult to beat over the long haul. The Panhead paved the way for the Electra-Glide.