Harley-Davidson 1942er Is Just Like Your Grandpa’s Wartime WLA Minus the Gear
Harley-Davidson 1942er Is Just Like Your Grandpa’s Wartime WLA Minus the Gear
24 Sep Custom
Sponsored by Moto Animals

The WLA is one of the two-wheeled machines built for the U.S. military during the war years by Harley-Davidson. Given its belligerent nature, the model occupies a special place in the Milwaukee bike maker’s history. And it also occupies a special place in the hearts of collectors.


For instance, not long ago, we talked about rusty-old 1947 WLA someone had the audacity to post for sale with an asking price of $37,000. Probably in part because of all that’s going on in the world, the bike is still out there looking for a new owner, this time with a slightly diminished price of $33,000.


And there are countless examples of WLAs popping up with big price stickers attached. We how no idea though for how much a custom WLA is worth nowadays, and this piece here will not make us any wiser in this respect.


Sitting in a gallery above is a 1942 WLA mildly handled by German custom shop Thunderbike. It is one of their older projects, from a time when they still worked on decades-old Harleys, but it looks timeless nonetheless. And it does so because close to no modifications were made to it, apart from a great deal of care from its owner and a few subtle touches of carefully chosen paint.


So, you get the same WL-modified hardware the bike had on all those decades ago: revised front fork, aluminum cylinder heads, crash bars, and so on.


The WLA is a great looker given its simplicity. It shows slightly beat down parts, like the exhaust, just the right amount of them to give the motorcycle the vintage look. The massive fenders, and the fuel tank, are painted brown, while the engine is a combination of chrome and black.


As a special note, the seat and the headlights have been revised, and probably some work has been done on the engine and other moving parts, but overall this here WLA remains in pretty much the same shape it was when new, all the way back in 1942, minus the saddle and rifle bag.








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