As you know, we enjoy featuring vintage motorcycles in our magazine, and this one is no exception. Therefore, we thought it only appropriate to include a short American history lesson. In 1917, the United States entered World War I and the military demanded motorcycles for the war effort. Harley-Davidson motorcycles had already been used by the military in the Pancho Villa Expedition; however, World War I was the first time the motorcycle was adopted for military issue. After the U.S. entry into the war, the U.S. military purchased over 20,000 motorcycles from Harley-Davidson. In 1917, Harley-Davidson began producing gray motorcycles such as this one (i.e. Gray Fellows); however, due to the war effort, they switched the paint to olive green.
To find out more about Mark, check out his interview, and for more photos of his bike and our cover model Katy, check out her interview as well. For this month's issue, we also invite you to check out our behind the scenes photos taken at this month’s cover shoot.
Model: Harley-Davidson Model B
Number of Cylinders: 1 (Wisconsin Cylinder Foundry F-head single)
Displacement: 35 cu. in.
Carb: Schebler Hx94 1915-1917 Harley Single
Type: Single Speed Chain Drive
Type: Standard Welding Company
Firestone Won Skid 28x3
- Serial #20 of 124 built, which makes it truly one of the last “Gray Fellows.” Harley-Davidson switched to the Olive Green at or about serial #33 for World War I.
- The headlight is oil operated, and had to be lit with a match. The oil tank was mounted at the center of the handlebars.
- Original Price (in 1917): $215
Photos by Dick Carlson with Carlson Digital Photography