Weird K vin help!!!’

Production K Models

Re: Weird K vin help!!!’

Postby hennesse » Wed Nov 29, 2023 1:54 pm

ford_fan70 wrote:The best news i have heard so far, The more i think about it , if they where replacement cases ,why would they go so high with the vin and would they also stamp belly numbers ,


Scenario 1) These are factory-made cases as part of regular production. The Legend Begins' production figure of 1970 is wrong.

Scenario 2) These are factory-made cases as part of regular production. The factory "number-stamper-guy" was dyslexic, or hung over, and meant to stamp 52 K 2037. But this doesn't explain the high belly numbers.

Scenario 3) If they were replacement cases, they would have belly numbers, but no serial ("VIN") number. What would those belly numbers be? If a dealer ordered a set of replacement cases (I doubt they would stock them) early in the 1952 model year, then the belly numbers would be fairly low numbers, taken from current production. At the end of the model year, Harley may have made additional matched sets of cases to keep on hand as spare parts. If so, these would have belly numbers above the normal range for 1952 production.

So these could be factory belly numbers, but the serial number was "field-fitted". Maybe the field-fitter was dyslexic. If not, why choose a non-existent number? Well, the bike would never be confused with an existing bike, and it would never show up as stolen.

Scenario 4) Total fakes - someone very talented spent a tremendous amount of time and money to "recondition" the numbers on these cases. Not impossible, but more likely on a 1936 Knucklehead (worth like $100K), than on a K-model (worth a whole lot less, unfortunately)

There may be other possibilities. Did you get a title? Do you have any provenance on the bike / engine?

52 K owners - is your serial number above 52 K 2970?
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Re: Weird K vin help!!!’

Postby ford_fan70 » Wed Nov 29, 2023 2:57 pm

Yes have the Canadian ownership.
Was last registered in 1988 unfortunately I can’t get a hold of that old owner ,and I have a feeling that he’s has passed away from my Research, but will continue to look, And I really wanted to get his license plate from him, he had personalized 52K.
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Re: Weird K vin help!!!’

Postby Ferrous_Head » Wed Nov 29, 2023 4:10 pm

After a good look (for a blind man) as I can get of the stampings they appear to be the first stamping on the cases. Virtually all of the "bodgy-dodgy" numbers I have ever seen showed some evidence of re-stamping.
The authorities started using x-ray machines to identify well done over stamped engines many years ago. The compressed metal which forms underneath a digit remains even when the parent metal is removed. You could go to that expense if you wanted to.

AFAIK dealers did not stock replacement cases. HD wanted to control this to reduce the chances of people getting un=stamped cases and doing something illegal with them So the deal was you took your original cases (broken) to a dealer. He ordered a new set of cases and stamped them with your number when they arrived and your old ones were destroyed.

So, your problem is the numbers appear to be "out of range" of the known 52K VIN numbers.

Had these cases been part of normal production they would have been some of the very last cases done and would most likely have been used in 1953 and used on a 53K VIN engine.

Are there/were there unstamped sets of cases "floating around ? Yes. I know because I have had several sets of NOS cases in my hands that were un-stamped. My current race engine has no VIN number. In these the belly numbers were stamped. I don't know that any sets left the factory with unstamped belly numbers. One of the first checks you do with suspicious cases is to check the belly numbers. They will give you the year the cases were machined (and the model).

Because both the VIN and belly number don't "fit the known profile " for numbers you have to question that they were obtained/used legally.

But they MIGHT have been. I don't know. It is possible a dealer gave someone a set of cases )out the back door) for whatever reason. But in any case I would be very dubious about the cases leaving the factory stamped that way or being stamped by a dealer in the normal course of business.

Previously I had the experience of buying a set of cases with which I constructed a very nice motorcycle. Cost me many thousands. unbeknown to me, the cases came from a stolen bike. When it came time to register the bike they confiscated the whole bike, not just the cases. This is the risk you take with unknown providence engine cases.
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Re: Weird K vin help!!!’

Postby hennesse » Wed Nov 29, 2023 6:11 pm

ford_fan70 wrote:Yes have the Canadian ownership.
Was last registered in 1988 unfortunately I can’t get a hold of that old owner ,and I have a feeling that he’s has passed away from my Research, but will continue to look, And I really wanted to get his license plate from him, he had personalized 52K.


I don't know how they do things in Canada, but perhaps your province's Dept of Motor Vehicles people can help. Years ago, I used to buy and sell just about anything on wheels, and sometimes had to find the last registered owner of a car or motorcycle through Maryland's DMV. I could fill out a form with the VIN number, add $20, and get a copy of the last transfer of ownership paper mailed to me. I would sometimes include a nice letter telling them that I would like to trace the ancestry of my antique motorcycle back to the Harley-Davidson dealer who originally sold the motorcycle, and that I would appreciate any help they could give me...blah, blah.

Usually, they ignored my letter and did the least amount of work possible for my $20. But once or twice, I must have gotten a bored government worker who gave me a paper trail going back several transfers of ownership. Well, governments collect more and more taxes, and give us less and less services, so I don't know if that would happen today. But give it a try - it may only cost you a postage stamp to ask.

So when are you going to post pictures of your bike?
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Re: Weird K vin help!!!’

Postby Ferrous_Head » Wed Nov 29, 2023 6:39 pm

Years ago and perhaps still today HD had a research section. Kathie Olenskie was the head of that department.

Now they kept build sheets for every bike they built. I supplied them with a VIN number and they could pull the build sheet and tell me the birth date of the bike, exactly what it was and any options like color etc.

Had to ring them and speak (nicely) to them to begin with.

You might try that route now, but does seem to me Harley no longer care about heritage.
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Re: Weird K vin help!!!’

Postby ford_fan70 » Wed Nov 29, 2023 8:21 pm

Thanks guys for your interest ,I am going to see if i can pay for a better search, I was reading on a form that there was a way to get HD to search there archives, I was talking to one guy who collects racing memorabilia and has seen them in the 3000s for the race bikes, For now I am going with the theory that this bike was ordered by a famous person or maybe elvis and they did a special Vin lol
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Re: Weird K vin help!!!’

Postby hayleyl » Wed Nov 29, 2023 8:28 pm

Hello all - 3027 numbers look pretty legitimate to me. Just out of interest I have a left 52K case with the belly numbers 522-1742 (don't know where it's partner would be) - it's been repaired, looks like a clutch has let go - and I'm assuming that may have happened to a good deal of K's. I also had (just sold them a few months ago) a set of brand new, never fired a shot K cases (I'm assuming 52 because of no trapdoor). The VIN pad had been altered and it looked like the bey numbers had been very skilfully removed. Pics attached. I picked these up from a Yamaha dealer in South Australia many, many moons ago. They'd been kicking around the dealership on a back shelf for years and years. I'm assuming that these were ordered as replacement cases for someone and had never been collected. Interesting. Perhaps the crank case production was much higher than 'total' machine production? Like I said in a previous post, K cases are not the most robust things manufactured by HD. Cheers Hayley
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Re: Weird K vin help!!!’

Postby motormark » Wed Nov 29, 2023 9:33 pm

Often at certain big motorcycle auctions, you can look at a lot of Harley serial numbers, in one place at one time. After a bit of studying you may see differences in the boss, or pad, the numbers are stamped into and differences in the fonts. Draw your own conclusions from there!
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Re: Weird K vin help!!!’

Postby ford_fan70 » Wed Nov 29, 2023 10:41 pm

They still would of been a great set of cases ,WoW ,If you don't mind me asking what did you let them go for .
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Re: Weird K vin help!!!’

Postby hayleyl » Wed Nov 29, 2023 11:33 pm

Ford70 - I was offered $2k from a friend who is putting together a KK project from a box/basket case. It is a pretty complete machine. Bad news was the gear box decided to vomit itself out of the bottom of the engine. Cases are beyond repair. I had no use for blank cases as I bought them as 'spares' along time ago. They've gone to a good home and will help to keep another 'ol dog barking. Cheers Hayley.
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