Amelia Island

10 March 2012

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Lot 105

1923 Harley-Davidson Model 23 JS V-Twin With Factory Royal Tourist Sidecar

  • Engine no. 23J10510

Sold for $41,250

60.3 cu. in. Model J V-Twin F-Head Engine, three-speed transmission, rear wheel brake.

Throughout the teens, Harley-Davidson grew to occupy second place in America’s “big three” motorcycle company market, with total sales right between Indian and Excelsior. This was quite an achievement as there were over 100 American motorcycle manufacturers registered in the United States midway through the decade.

All would change with the First World War as few of the small companies were able to survive the lean years. During the War, Indian devoted 100% of its production to the Army, whereas Harley-Davidson continued to build motorcycles for public consumption, a strategy that paid off following the war as Harley-Davidson managed to initiate thousands to the motorcycling hobby. By the mid-’20s, Harley-Davidson’s sales figures nearly doubled Indian’s, and the company has held its position as the number-one American motorcycle company ever since.

In 1916 Harley-Davidson, to alleviate confusion, recalibrated its model designation to match the year it was built, which explains why no Model 12-15 Harley-Davidsons exist. Consequently, Harley-Davidsons built after 1916 are rarely referred to by their numerical nomenclature and are known simply by their sub-model letter names.

The 1923 Harley-Davidson JS presented here is named as such because it has the Model J engine, which was a design the company used from 1920 to 1935, and had been designed to hold a sidecar—hence “JS.” In 1923, all Harley-Davidsons were painted Brewster Green and featured gold striping, as they had been the previous year, making these motorcycles easily identifiable. Well-equipped, this example has a Corbin speedometer, electric lighting, rare factory amp gage mounted on the tool box and a rear-mounted spare on the desirable Royal Tourist sidecar. It should be noted that this motorcycle has been on static display for a number of years. It is offered on bill of sale only.


Please note that the engine number is actually 23J10510.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

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Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

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David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

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Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

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With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

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Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more