Let me begin by stating that, Yes, I probably shouldn’t have bought this bike.
Always wanted to restore an old Harley, so last summer I purchased a relatively complete 1942 Flathead. The history behind that bike that was explained to me was this guy’s father purchased the bike back in the mid 1970’s off a guy who was racing it. The dad owned it up until his death, and then it became the son’s. Throughout the years they had been working to restore it for the dad and then stopped after he passed away.
The guy was basically selling it to recoup some of his investment and had no desire to own or finish the bike. The bike came with a clean Title that showed where it was transferred from the Dad to him. He mentioned that the engine had been rebuilt about 3 or 4 years ago and the only thing that was left to do was put together the transmission and do a final assembly. Everything sounds good so far right. Well this is where I ran into the problem. My title is a 42WL30xxx. The numbers on the left case of the engine (which was rebuilt) isn’t even a Harley VIN number (Yes, I shouldn’t have purchase it). It looks like someone may had used one of the blank cases and stamped it ( 120 4XX ). It looks similar to the numbers that are cast into the cylinder heads.
Ok, so I have this 1942 Flathead with a 1942 Title but no case to match. From my research it sounds like there were something like 146 42WLs produced? What do you think the chances are that case is still out there? Does anyone collect these things?
I have two guesses as to what happened to the left case. Either the guy racing the bike back in the 70’s discarded it (or the engine while racing), or the case was replaced by the shop a few years back when they were trying to restore it (I’m trying to contact the shop). So this thing could be anywhere, or lost forever.
Is there a source for old flathead cases? Do people hold on to these things? Should I try an impossible search to find the original case and try and buy it? Or should I just find another engine (or case) with a clear title?
I know this is a lot to take in, but any ideas as to where I should start?