Blog by 82ndpara
Made in Japan, Powered by a Harley-Davidson Engine
2 months ago

Made in Japan, Powered by a Harley-Davidson Engine

In the early 1930s, Harley-Davidson had problems. The growing popularity of the Ford Model T, the depression and protectionist tariffs abroad have significantly reduced sales of Harley motorcycles. Therefore, when the Japanese company Sankyo applied in 1932 with a proposal to license a proprietary Harley flathead engine, the Milwaukee company jumped at the chance, unaware that Sankyo was acting in concert with the Japanese army and that they were selling advanced technology to a country with which the United States would soon go to war.

Sankyo dismantled an entire Harley engine manufacturing plant and rebuilt it near Tokyo. The result is a rugged and maneuverable Type 97 motorcycle. Japan used a Rikuo-branded motorcycle capable of transporting three fully equipped soldiers at home and abroad throughout the war. The considerable ground clearance served him particularly well in the muddy, undeveloped terrain of Manchuria and Southeast Asia. Although Japan built over 18,000 Type 97s, few have survived to the present day.

#harley #vintage #ww2

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