Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Monday, Nov 10, 2003

About Us
Contact Us
Metro Plus Bangalore Published on Mondays & Thursdays

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Quest | Folio |

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Madurai    Thiruvananthapuram    Visakhapatnam   

Printer Friendly Page Send this Article to a Friend

A party at FULL throttle

At 100, Harley is "definitely male" and still going strong


"SINCE I was a young boy, I lusted after the idea of having my own Harley. As a `young' man, I am happy to have been riding for the last 20 years. Ok, maybe, I am not so young anymore, but every time I fire up that Old Harley of mine, I feel as if I am 18 again..." This `young' man has put together an entire site on the machine that drives his passion. Besides pictures of the bike, the site has a quiz, numerous games, and plenty of trivia on Harley Davidson.

This is what the Harley is all about. A bike, and much more. It means special websites, cartoons, T-shirts, stickers, quizzes, fan clubs, and even outlawed gangs! In short, for a hardcore Harley fan, the "macho" bike is a way of life.

At points of time, Harley has even come to represent the "murky" side of American culture. Hell's Angels — a motorcycle gang with 1,200 members in the United States and 600 in the rest of the world — was outlawed by an American court in 1997.

That Big Red Machine, Harley Davidson, is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, and is surely one 100-year-old with an unaging charm! The anniversary itself kicked off in great style in July 2002 with an open road tour travelling to Atlanta, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Dallas/Fort Worth. The festivities then moved to Sydney, Tokyo, Barcelona, and Hamburg. In August 2003, thousands of Harley fans made it to Milwaukee, Harley's hometown. On August 30, the "Parade of MDA Heroes", a motorcade of 10,000 motorcycles, wound its way through the streets of Milwaukee. Fourteen months of celebrations culminated in a party on August 31 that launched Harley Davidson "into the next 100 years".

But what exactly happened 100 years ago?

In 1903, 21-year-old William S. Harley and 20-year-old Arthur Davidson produced the first Harley Davidson motorcycle in Milwaukee. The bike, built to be a racer, came with a 3-1/8 inch bore and 3-1/2 inch stroke. The factory in which this bike was made was a 10 x 15-foot wooden shed that carried the words "Harley-Davidson Motor Company" on the door!

In 1906, a new factory was built on Chestnut Street, which was later renamed Juneau Avenue. It then had six full-time employees. The same year, the Company produced its first catalogue, with the bike going by the nickname, Silent Gray Fellow. In 1910, the famed "Bar & Shield" logo was launched and trademarked. In 1912, the headquarters and main factory building of the company was built at Juneau Avenue in Milwaukee along with a parts and accessories Department. By 1920, Harley Davidson became the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world and the company began launching new models. In the 1940s, the company temporarily suspended the production of civilian vehicles as United States was in the thick of World War II and military vehicles were in need.

In 1953, Harley Davidson celebrated its 50th anniversary and created an attractive logo on the occasion, depicting a "V" in honour of the engine which had brought the company so far, with a bar overlaid, reading, "Harley Davidson" and the words, above and below, "50 years-American made". At 100, Harley Davidson has franchisees in 67 countries.

G.N.P.

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Madurai    Thiruvananthapuram    Visakhapatnam   

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Quest | Folio |


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Comments to : thehindu@vsnl.com   Copyright 2003, The Hindu
Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu