Dollars In The Details

A ’47 Knuck That’s Chuck Full of Extras

How many times have you looked back to your childhood and wished you were able to buy that motorcycle you spent hours drooling over? Imagine if you had a time machine and could not only get that bike new, but also leave the dealer fully accessorized with all the bells and whistles. As bikes get older and change hands, the original bits and pieces tend to end up in tool drawers, coffee cans, and milk crates. Paul Whitehurst is an avid bike collector and knows the difference between the right parts and the wrong ones, and this 1947 FL Knucklehead stands as a time capsule full of hard-to-get goodies. It’s as if Paul indeed has some sort of time machine that he’s not telling us about.

The FL had been hidden in a garage for more than 20 years before Paul was able to acquire it. Paul explains, “I bought this bike from a friend of mine, Big Larry. He had known about this bike for more than 20 years and had told the owner that if he ever wanted to get rid of it, to call him. Fast forward a few years, Larry tells me there is a nice old Knucklehead that he may be able to get. I asked him what year and he tells me ‘I think it’s a ’38.’ I had just let go of a ’38 original paint bike. He explained to me he met the owner of the bike at Bob’s Big Boy in Hollywood 20 or more years ago. The owner’s brother had purchased the bike new at Rich Buetelliers Harley-Davidson. Both brothers were very active in desert racing during the ’50s and had accumulated a lot of bikes. I asked Larry why he didn’t want the Knucklehead and he told me the wanted everything else in the garage that was for sale.”

So a deal was struck and Paul became the proud new owner of this piece of history. The bike wasn’t completely period-correct, at least not yet. “I went to look at the bike and it turned out to be a ’47 not a ’38. The brother who rode the bike had put white wall tires on it and had several parts chromed. When I took possession of the bike, I changed all the chrome parts with original black enamel pieces. The other parts I changed were the oil tank, inner and outer primary, front spring leg, and the wheels. Although the 18-inch wheels are not usually see on a 1947, they are only temporary until I find a second wheel to cover the 16.”

Paul is no stranger to swap meets, Craigslist, and all forms of parts searching. His perseverance and detective skills left him with a shining example of a period-correct bike. “I bought a nice 1947 Knucklehead, not a 1939, for a reasonable price. Overall the deal worked out very well.”

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General Owner Paul Whitehurst

Year/Make/Model 1947/FL/Knucklehead

Fabrication H-D

Engine H-D Year/Type/Size 1947/Knucklehead/Paul Whitehurst

Builder H-D

Cases H-D

Cylinders H-D

Heads H-D

Carburetor Linkert

Exhaust Superior Upsweep

Transmission Year/Type 1947/four-speed

Gears H-D

Clutch H-D

Frame Year/Type 1946-47/Bullneck

Rake/Stretch Stock

Suspension Frontend H-D/Offset Springer

Length Stock

Wheels, Tires, and Brakes Front

Builder/Size H-D/18-inch

Calipers Drum Brakes

Finish/Paint Manufacturer H-D

Accessories Handlebars Flanders #11

Hand Controls Throttle and Distribution

Headlight Cycle Ray

Taillight Guide RH-55

Seat Pogo Seat