The Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is one of those pilgrimage destinations that are great for a visit anytime of year. We got a first-hand look this summer and, trust us, it should be high on the list of must-see spots for any gearhead.
As we head into fall, the Milwaukee motorcycle mecca has two new installations that highlight the history and prominence of the brand — and are worth a trip on their own
First up is the 1935 Model VLD, which marked a new direction in design for the company. In 1933, Harley introduced standard color options for the first time and, two years later, this Venetian blue and silver scheme became one of six choices available for that model year. The diamond-shaped insignia was a carryover from the previous year and was meant to inspire travel and speed.
On the museum’s lower level, a 1941 Model EL nicknamed “The Bumblebee” sits on display as a testament to a salvage that would have otherwise been lost to the scrapyard. Builder Jeremiah Armenta of Love Cycles in Phoenix spent hundreds of hours restoring the bike to its former glory. The Model EL was designed to be a dragster and a racer — a showcase of the builder’s mechanical talents — and Armenta upheld that legacy. Its rugged tires and “dog bone” handlebar riser give it a rustic look that’s also functional for the rough and tumble of the dirt track. It was given the tagline “a phoenix rising from Phoenix” as a nod to his hometown.
Beyond these two important bikes, the company is preparing for the company’s 115th anniversary in 2018. At the Powertrain Operations facility in Menomomee Falls, Wisconsin (near Milwaukee), they’re showcasing the first CVO Limited Anniversary Edition bike to come off the line for the 2018 model year.
The Harley-Davidson Museum is an excellent archive of one of the most important brands in American manufacturing and certainly worth a stop the next time you’re in the Midwest.
Feature image courtesy of Harley-Davidson Museum/Facebook.