Old Bike Australasia

$600,000 for H-D sidecar


A 1927 FHA 8-valve Harley-Davidson racing outfit was sold by Shannons Auctions in Melbourne on September 25 for A$600,000. It was sold in ‘as raced” condition and had been in storage for more than 50 years, still retained by the family of the original owner. It is believed to be among the last of around 50 factory 8-valves built, at a time when the American Class A race series was about to finish in favor of Class C, which was production­based and therefore much cheaper, favoring the basic side-valve engines instead of complex OHVs. The FHA used a twin-camshaft timing chest, externally distinguis­hed by the raised ring on the timing cover, and a racing Schebler carburetor was fitted. Reports say there was some confusion at the auction due to a malfunctio­n with internet bids, mainly from overseas, but when the hammer dropped, the new owner was a consortium headed by leading Melbourne Harley dealer Dave Reedy, who was in Europe at the time of the auction. According to noted US-based historian Paul d’Orléans, the A$600,000 (US$423,700 on the day) makes it the tenth most expensive motorcycle ever sold at auction.

This is Paul d’Orléan’s list as published on his popular website The Vintagent:

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