Board index Flathead Power-Technical Questions, Answers, and Suggestions 45 Flatties 1937 WLDR Numbers

1937 WLDR Numbers

Moderators: Curt!, Pa

Post Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:23 am

Posts: 767
Location: CA USA
Check out the numbers on this WLDR. They don't match the font that I have seen. What do you all think?
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayI ... 1109542280

The rest of it is a bitsa racer in my opinion.

Post Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:01 am

Posts: 32
Location: Western Australia
You didn’t say what you expected to see as far as character style is concerned and you didn’t say which characters you think are not usual types for something advertised as a 37WLDR. Will I assume for example you expected to see a long-diagonal 3, a seriffed W, a seriffed D, a different 1 and a different 6? In other words, did you expect to see that WLDR serial number consisting of characters generally used for 1937–40 WLDRs instead of the characters it has, some of which appear more like the types introduced part of the way through the 1937 model year and used for later-1937 general production machines?
Eric

Post Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:51 am

Posts: 767
Location: CA USA
Eric,
I have limited experience with the 1937 WLDRs. The numbers don't look like the numbers on mine nor do they look like the numbers on the examples that can be found on the Beauty of Speed website. I do know that every time I think that I am sure of something to do with the HD Race Shop I usually find out that there was an exception and I'm forced to look further for accurate details. I was hoping that someone would look at this number and perhaps have an explanation for the different fonts. I contacted the owner and he tells me that the belly numbers are matching 37-xxxx.

Post Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:11 pm

Posts: 755
Location: Pa. , USA
Not to change the subject but there's an interesting one that started recently, item # 121165785713 starting bid a wopping 45 k !! betcha a dollar it doesn't get a bid, Tim
Last edited by Tim 435 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Vintage roadracing, Class C, AHRMA # 335

Post Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:37 pm

Posts: 391

Post Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:56 am

Posts: 767
Location: CA USA
If he gets 45k I guess it's time to do some selling

Post Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:13 am

Posts: 32
Location: Western Australia
Cheers, Beachdog. I agree the characters don’t look like the 1937 examples on the BoS site and they don’t look like WLDRs for 1938–40 either. But I can’t explain why. As I mentioned above, some of the characters appear more like the types introduced part of the way through the 1937 model year and used for later-1937 general production machines. The 5 is also intriguing because it appears more like an early-37 5 than a later-37 5.

I have a clearer photo of the serial number from some time ago and it too is probably from eBay because that’s where most of my pictures originate. In my earlier photo I see no sign that anything untoward happened to the number boss. But it wasn’t an assembled machine then and I only have photos of the serial number and the belly numbers. No cylinders were attached and neither was the scavenge pump. I don’t know if the seller then was the same person as now though as I didn’t record seller/owner details. The belly numbers are as described in the current ad and I can’t see any sign that anything untoward happened to the bottom of the cases. However, although the 7 in the year portion appears normal for 1937, the 7 in the sequence portion is the same style and that is not what I'd expect for 1937 belly numbers. I cannot explain it. I’m not convinced about the 6/9 in the belly numbers either, even though it is a rounded style.
Eric

Post Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:10 am

Posts: 767
Location: CA USA
Eric,
Hard to tell from pics, but it sure looks like an unaltered vin boss, which leaves me less sure about what actually is and isn't correct for 1937. I was pretty confident that I could tell what was correct, but once again I've learned that I actually know less than I think I do. Hopefully I'll continue to keep an open mind. When I started messing with these old racers my world was only as big as I could drive to. Now with the www I can get input from the entire world and I find that I'm learning more but I'm less confident in my knowledge.
Regards.

Post Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:32 am

Posts: 32
Location: Western Australia
An open mind is a good thing when viewing H-D serial numbers/VINs and/or belly numbers—for example, a while back I saw a certain 1960s serial number and only one minor difference from normal had me wondering about its authenticity. Later on another example appeared. Then a third showed up. All three examples are the same model year and the same engine series. And I won’t be surprised if more surface.

And there’s something I’m watching for from the early-1930s as well.

Sometimes what seems unusual is only so when compared to what we know at the time. But upon further investigation we sometimes find it was normal, even if just for a short period in the model year concerned.

And I sent you a PM.
Eric

Post Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:13 pm

Posts: 755
Location: Pa. , USA
How unusual is this ? several years ago I found a '42 WLA complete motor stashed in the trunk of a junkyard car, the rest of the bike was inside the car and in poor shape after more than 35 years according to the owner. The '42 WLA vin looks very legit from any angle however the matching belly numbers begin with 45 - and they also appear legit !! I'm guessing re stamped nos from back in the day for whatever reason,, btw the owner still had his original title.... Tim
Vintage roadracing, Class C, AHRMA # 335

Post Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:20 pm

Posts: 72
Location: South Australia
Just my 2 cents worth on the 42WLA Vin, was that during the war years, regardless of which year the bikes were built,42,43,44,45 they all had the 42WLA Vin to I.D. them as army issue?? It could be wrong,just what some old timers have told me, I have a 2 x 42WLA with 43 belly numbers none look like cover ups.
cheers Rod
" The more I learn the less I know"

Post Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:42 pm

Posts: 349
Location: Champaign-Urbana, IL
Pretty sure Ozihotrod is correct on this ... All WW2 WLA production were 42WLA numbers, but bottom numbers were correct by year prefix. I don't own Bruce's 45 book, so I can't double-check. So Tim's numbers should have been perfectly fine.

Mark

Post Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:22 am

Posts: 32
Location: Western Australia
Tim, what Rod and Mark said is correct. All WLAs for 1942, 43, 44 and 45 were originally stamped 42WLA. Belly numbers for 42WLAs could begin with 41, 42, 43, 44 or 45.

According to Bruce Palmer’s 1932–52 military book the Model 42WLA was produced almost continuously from September 1941 to August 1945.

If the WLA motor you found in the car is all factory-stamped and the belly numbers begin with 45 then you may find the serial number to be higher than 60000. But please note my opinion is based on examples I have run across so far and it isn’t a definite because sometimes authentic numbers can be far removed from what I’d expect to see under normal circumstances. However, something I would certainly expect to see in the serial number is a certain type of open-top 4 as opposed to the certain closed-top style used by H-D early on. (For 42WLAs the 4 in the serial number seems to have changed from closed-top to open-top somewhere after 43000 and prior to 48000.)

In his military book Palmer mentions two possibilities regarding why WLAs made for 1942–45 were all stamped 42WLA but I do not know if either of those reasons is correct. 8) And I read a third explanation elsewhere by someone else but I do not know if that one is correct either. 8)
Eric

Post Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:52 am

Posts: 72
Location: South Australia
to finish of my 2 cents worth, here are the numbers of 1 of mine, note the different font used on the 43- is different to the font on the serial number, also the primary side with the 42WLA stamped has been stamped 44 then over stamped 43
http://s146.photobucket.com/user/ozihot ... sort=3&o=0
http://s146.photobucket.com/user/ozihot ... sort=3&o=1
http://s146.photobucket.com/user/ozihot ... sort=3&o=2
" The more I learn the less I know"

Post Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:13 am

Posts: 755
Location: Pa. , USA
All that explains it, certainly makes more sense than my theory, yes the first 3 digits are 693 and the 4 is opened top, game plan is a WLA bobber to be completed by next spring, once again great info from the board ! thanks, Tim
Vintage roadracing, Class C, AHRMA # 335


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