Board index Flathead Power-Technical Questions, Answers, and Suggestions Big Twin Flatties H-D number stamps

H-D number stamps

Moderators: Curt!, Pa

Post Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:14 am

Posts: 24
Location: Wake County, NC
I'm following a thread at another forum concerning correct numbers. Is there a picture of correct number shapes, esp the closed vs open '4' ? Is there a possibility that both were used?

Post Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:22 pm
panic

Most "correct numbers" discussions are heavily larded with comments by obsessive/compulsive disorder victims.
The number of variants is very large, and the number of exceptions to these is unknown.

Post Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:21 am

Posts: 24
Location: Wake County, NC
Thanks, panic. That's why I posted here; I knew I'd get a straight answer.

Post Fri Oct 17, 2008 3:22 pm
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5801
Location: Ohio USA

I resent that comment Panic ! :mrgreen:

Post Fri Oct 17, 2008 5:57 pm

Posts: 2687
Location: Los Angeles, CA
There were both open and closed. Different years used different stamps. Race machines had different stamps too.

Post Sat Oct 18, 2008 8:21 am
panic

Sorry, no offense intended!!
I was referring to those who (present company excepted, of course), after making a flat and absolute statement, conclude by stating or implying that this is the only correct answer and permit no exceptions.

The subject is very complex, and the complete history is (IMHO) not yet known and very long in the telling.

Post Sat Oct 18, 2008 8:28 am
panic

I'll give a generalization, which I believe is helpful.
There are 3 general groups of early annual (prefix, year of sale) numbers.
1930?-1959: the 6 & 9 have straight backs and round closed ends, although the exact style may have varied
1960-62: the 6 has a curved back and round closed end
1963-68: resumes the pre-1960 style, the 6 & 9 have straight backs and round closed ends, although the exact style may have varied
1969: the 6 & 9 resemble "music notes", the tails are straight but the closed end is not round but elliptical with the long axis horizontal

Post Sat Oct 18, 2008 4:25 pm

Posts: 2687
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Take this link to lots of photos of numbers.
http://www.vintageamericanmotorcycles.com/v/Numbers/

Post Sat Oct 18, 2008 11:53 pm

Posts: 24
Location: Wake County, NC
Thanks for the link, Chris. If I ever walk up to a group of people 'discussing' numbers and spot a liquor bottle, I'm leaving... I was pretty sure my 41 ULH was good to go, then I heard this open 4 stuff. I was glad to see the closed 4 on the 40 - 42 models. I guess there can be an exception that too. If you're around long enough you probably seen a lot that's not documented.

Post Sun Oct 19, 2008 6:44 am

Posts: 614
Location: Roxboro, North Carolina, U.S.A.

Hello, all -

I'm so submerged in work (Power Plant) these days, that it may be next year before I'm able to get in quality shop time. Other than the few hours (maybe) a week that I'm doing now. Anyway, I had to tear down the engine and transmission on my '59 FLH, due to the engine seizing, about a month ago. Good long service, since I bought it in '74. I knew it was tired when I bought it, and never ran it for extended periods over 45 - 55 MPH. So, it was saved because of this practice. I ride it for the 41 mpg that it gets, rather than the 15 - 17 that the truck gets.

Anyway, my point is that my engine numbers have all the appearances of being original. No boogering of the boss. But, my year number has a straight-backed 9. And, the sequence/serial number has a curved-back 6. My thinking all along has been that the 9 would be flipped over to make the 6. The production number has a straight-backed 9 for the year, but no other 9 or 6 in it.

Jack

Post Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:30 am

Posts: 3132
Location: Central Illinois, USA
Jack!

The variation you cite with the '59 is not unusual at all.
Some years had the year stamped separately from the serial;
1940's '40' often shows the mark of a single stamp for both numbers.

The fonts changed a few times, in the middle of '37 for example.

'Milwaukee Belle' Fran-6 offered this chart some time ago; I added a couple, but it is still missing "G", "D" etc.

I suspect the "8" variant, and one of the "9"s to be be just a matter of how they were struck.

....Cotten
Attachments
HDstmps.jpg
HDstmps.jpg (126.59 KiB) Viewed 24437 times

Post Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:42 am
panic

Some of those linked numbers are... disturbing.

#1 ("37WL2") shows a 1943 (probably WLC military) bottom number.

#2 ("37WL2a" is this another view of the same case?) has a curved 9, and violates a minor cosmetic rule "the numbers may not be on the same horizontal line, but will generally be spaced at equal distance from both ends, and have similar spacing between the stamps."

#11 I'm not comfortable with this, because the 2 letter stamps are different types: plain (like Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica) for the "E" and serif (like Times, New Roman, etc.) for the "L". The boss appears to have been re-shaped, and there is potential evidence of welding in the boss (pinhole to the left of the 6), and on the case slightly to the rear of the boss.

#33 looks weird, but not because of the numbers - because the boss looks altered, but that may be harmless.

#37 may be real, as an extension of the "curved is OK for the 1960-62 year" rule, but the texture is far too busy to suit me.

#41 the 6 used in the year is obviously not the same stamp used for the 9 in the sequence, it's a straight back (not common 1960-62), and appears to have been done with 2 separate strikes or a badly fabricated stamp - note how the circle enters the back at a 90° angle?

Post Sun Oct 26, 2008 6:57 am

Posts: 923
Location: South Provence of FRANCE

Cotten
i am glad you use + complete + keep on sharing this chart ! :D
you really understoon the why and for what i dit it ! :D

keep on in this good spirit !

Fran-6

Post Sun Nov 09, 2008 3:34 am
Dear All, there are various complete 1930-36 engine numbers shown in my VL book. In particular, the letter V has serifs up to 1934 and none thereafter.

Post Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:40 am

Posts: 3132
Location: Central Illinois, USA
Anyone who wishes to add to Fran-6's chart, just email a decent j-peg to me at liberty@npoint.net.

My amateur photo editor makes it a breeze.

....Cotten

Post Sun Nov 09, 2008 12:50 pm
panic

36RLDR-VIN.jpg
48G-VIN.JPG

Post Sun Nov 09, 2008 12:56 pm
panic

52K-VIN2.jpg
63FLH-VIN.JPG

Post Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:42 pm

Posts: 3132
Location: Central Illinois, USA
Panic!

Those are exactly what we need, but they are way too small when I copy them off the Forum, making for choppy squares when the separate digits and numbers are cut'n'paste'd.

As I posted before, just post me direct at liberty@npoint with your 'virgin' .jpg files, and I shall see what I can do with them.

Everybody's contributions are appreciated!


...Cotten

Post Sun Dec 07, 2008 7:54 pm

Posts: 2399
Location: atascadero cal usa
I HAVE TO SAY THIS IS A GREAT POST TO IDENTIFY IMPOSTERS BUT IT ALSO GIVES THE BAD GUYS ALL THE INFO THEY NEED TO MAKE UP STAMP SETS THAT ARE CLOSE ENOUGH THAT MOST WOULD NOT KNOW THEY WERE FAKE

IF REAL #S ARE THIS HARD TO CATOGRIZE HOW HARD WILL IT BE TO TELL THE FAKE ONES FROM THE REAL ONES 20 YRS FROM NOW?

I JUST LAST WEEK HAD A FRIEND ASK ME IF HE SHOULD BUY ONE OF THOSE FAKE # SETS OFF EBAY TO REPAIR A DAMAGED REAL #
HE HAD NO ILL INTENTIONS AT ALL

I TOLD HIM NO WAY

I KNOW ANOTHER GUY THAT DID BUY A SET AND MATCHED THEM TO ORIGINAL #S ON CASES HE HAS

THE NEWS WAS THAT EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE VERY CLOSE NONE OF THE #S WERE EXACT IN STYLE FONT OR EVEN THE EXACT SIZE

IN CONCLUSION I JUST THINK ITS NOT GOOD TO GIVE THESE CROOKS ANY MORE INFO THEN THEY ALREADY HAVE
PLEASE THINK ABOUT WHAT YOUR DOING BY POSTING ON THE INTERNET AND LETS KEEP THIS INFO AS FAR AS PIX GO BETWEEN TRUSTED MEMBERS AND NOT OUT THERE FOR EVERYONE TO SEE


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