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Bike of the Month
February 2024
1935 Harley-Davidson VD
By Larry Doane

In my 20’s I had a Harley 45. On road trips with friends who all had more powerful bikes, they liked to sprint up long grades. That left me  trying to keep them in sight. I wished for a larger, more powerful bike every time. After a couple of years the 45 was sold/replaced  with a BMW R75/5. Thirty years later I had the thought that if I didn’t build the “big powerful 45  style bike” I would never get to it.


So, what I ended up assembling in my 50’s is this much modified 1935 Harley VD. The engine is a stroked VD. It displaces 101 cubic inches. The transmission is a 1952 4-speed with ratchet shifting, normally used in a hand clutch/foot shift machine.  


Long ago, I was warned by Bob Ross (Motorcycles Only, San Pedro)  to never cut up or modify, good original Harley parts. So, most of the sheet metal parts on this machine are repop parts.


As purchased, a basket case exMexican police bike, many parts were missing, like the transmission, fenders etc. So, here’s  a list of parts I used: 

Aftermarket FX fenders

K model saddle

Primary cover, inner and outer, Knucklehead

Rear hub and brake drum, Knucklehead

Tool box

Front wheel, Triumph

Horn, BMW

Generator 12v , with Bosch regulator in tool box, Sportster

Carbuertor, Keihen from 1978 FX

Lots of aftermarket bits for various year Harleys (switches and such)

Aftermarket mufflers and pipes  


The engine is an experiment I pieced together:

VL cases and timing cover

5 ¼” stroke, aftermarket flywheels

Evolution Harley pistons on Shovelhead connecting rods

New camshafts made with more lift/timing

Replica UL cylinders and heads


The bike has been on the road  since 1999 and is well received:

First place trophy at Hanford in 2001. 

Cover bike for In The Wind magazine, September 2002.  


In the end, it’s just a rider I enjoy. It is not a racer or show bike. It was built in my garage next to the gardening tools. Style? About a 1950 Bob Job, as my memory guides me. Yes, I was alive then and had eyes wide open when it came to motorcycles.

Green ella IV.JPG
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