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1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

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Chris Haynes

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Post Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:31 pm

1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

I have a factory photo of the rear of a very early 1955 Panhead. The tail lamp lens is glass. I am trying to figure out if this glass lens carried over into the 1956 line or when it was replaced by the plastic lens. Sadly no rear shot of a 1956 is available to me.
TIA,
Chris
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john HD

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Post Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:57 pm

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

chris.

my understanding is that they changed to plastic mid year with the guidex script on it. sorry i have no original pics.

i do have a pretty good collection of '55 pics from davenport, the guy with the two from the middle east may be able to help. i know they are bone stock and i have some pictures of them as well.

john
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Chris Haynes

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Post Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:47 pm

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

John sed,
my understanding is that they changed to plastic mid year with the guidex script on it
Mid year '55 or '56?
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john HD

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Post Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:54 pm

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

mid year 1955. i'll dig around in my archives when i get a chance.

john
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john HD

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Post Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:38 am

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

let's see if this helps this is what i believe to be an unrestored early '55 very nice complete bike it was at davenport '05.

looks to be glass. i'll look for a plastic one later... (on edit, i ment this one looks to be plastic because of the circle in the upper third of the lens)

john
Attachments
2005 photos 252 (Small).jpg
2005 photos 252 (Small).jpg (95.19 KiB) Viewed 8870 times
Last edited by john HD on Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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john HD

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Post Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:37 am

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

chris

here is a definately unrestored one with what looks like glass when i enlarged it, i have more photos yet... be patient...

john
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133-3363_IMG (Small).JPG
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john HD

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Post Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:43 am

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

here is a side shot if you wanted to see what the rest of the dents looked like! the photos were taken at davenport '06

john
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133-3342_IMG (Small).JPG
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john HD

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Post Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:56 am

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

chris

here is the last one i have, sorry for the poor quality. the visor shades the picture to make identification hard. i enlarged it as big as i could and believe because of the shape of the edge visable it may very well be plastic.

this bike was one of the nicest original '55's i have ever seen. the photo was taken at davenport '03.

john
Attachments
green 55 fl 4 (Small).JPG
green 55 fl 4 (Small).JPG (54.43 KiB) Viewed 8738 times
Last edited by john HD on Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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john HD

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Post Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:59 am

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

side view, too pretty to resist posting it!

john
Attachments
green 55 fl 3 (Small).JPG
green 55 fl 3 (Small).JPG (82.88 KiB) Viewed 8726 times
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Chris Haynes

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Post Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:31 am

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

Original '55? Not with that two toned job on the tanks. The bike sure looks like a repaint.
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john HD

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Post Mon Nov 19, 2007 10:19 am

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

chris

i looked at that closely, i thought it was a repaint too. then i realized it was probably just pinstriped.

it could have been done without disassembly.

still a nice example.

john
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Chris Haynes

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Post Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:15 am

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

This machine is painted Hollywood Green. That would make it a 1955 as this color was not available in 1956. Note that the oil tank, tool box and presumably the primary cover are painted tank/fender color. This is a 1955 Hollywood Green only option. The 1955's were solid colors with no second color on the tanks. The second color on the 1956 tanks was a long stripe. Not something that was the shape of the tank script.
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john HD

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Post Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:13 pm

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

that is correct chris.

what i was trying to say is that it is a hollywood green '55 that has been pinstriped including the darker green on the tanks. however, it has been 4 years since i snapped the pics!

did any of the photos help you decide on the tail lamp lens?

john
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Chris Haynes

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Post Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:20 pm

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

I can see the '55 had them, although I don't know how far into production they were used. I will have to guess that the '56 I am working on is safe with a plastic lens.
thanks,
Chris
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Carl Olsen

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Location: Aberdeen, SD

Post Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:35 pm

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

That 55 hollywood green panhead belongs to Rick Najera the presedent of the Yerba Buena chapter of the AMCA out of San Francisco. He has had it 30 years and it has been repainted a few times, but it was the same paintjob that it had when he got it. Look up the original picture on the current AMCA calender, that is how the bike looked when he got it, he sent me that calender picture right after he got it and I ran across it a few years ago and sent it back, blew him away. Evidently the extra striping was a trademark of a dealer or a group of riding buddies in the Bay area back in the day. The name of the bike is Martha and it has been worn out and rebuilt many times as he rides the crap out of it. We have logged many miles together going cross country to different AMCA road runs and other events. Rick's a stand up guy and also is on the national board of directors of the AMCA in charge of the road runs, he has done a lot for the club.
Carl
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john HD

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Post Mon Nov 19, 2007 10:09 pm

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

thanks for the info carl!

hopefully my bike will look that good someday! still a work in progress, i do get closer after every trip to davenport.

guess that is what makes it fun!

john
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Pooka

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Post Sat Nov 24, 2007 12:42 am

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

john H D, found this on e-bay.
Item number: 180183301800
BELIEVE ITS NOS, GLASS TAILLIGHT LENS FOR 55-72 HARLEYS, HAS SOME #'S ON BACK & A GB-228 BELIEVE THEY USED THESE IN 55 ONLY.....
I CELERITER TEMPUS DEFICIT.........
CARPE DIEM
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Chris Haynes

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Post Sat Nov 24, 2007 12:06 pm

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

That GB 228 number tells you that this lens was made by the Glow Brite lens company. Glow Brite AKA Globe made replacement lens for darn hear every American car and motorcycle. The lens used by Harley-Davidson were made by the Guide Lamp Division of General Motors.
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john HD

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Post Sat Nov 24, 2007 2:38 pm

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

so does anyone know if the RH-55 lamp housing was used on an automotive application? i think someone told me that the lens also fits a chevy panel truck from the 40's.

john
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Chris Haynes

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Post Sat Nov 24, 2007 5:21 pm

Re: 1956 Tail Lamp Lens???

They were used on early-mid '50's GMC and Chevy Panel Trucks. The housing was different, but the bezel is the same. I believe the Chevy lens is a GUIDE RH-52, but I am not positive. The truck lens is glass but is different pattern and GUIDE number than the H-D lens. The H-D lens was a GUIDE RH-55.
I know the Early 1955's had the glass lens. I just need to see how long they were used before switching to plastic.
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