Amelia Island

10 March 2012

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Lot 107

1936 Harley-Davidson VLD

  • Frame no. 36VLD5600

Sold for $24,750

74 cu. in. L-head air-cooled V-Twin engine, three-speed sliding-gear transmission, chain drive, single-downtube cradle frame, leading-link front suspension with drop-forged forks, and front and rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 60"

• Desirable “VLD” equipped with a generator and high-compression pistons

• Restored with correct colors and desirable features

Announced in July 1929 as a replacement for the inlet-over-exhaust “pocket valve” twins that had been in production since 1911, the “flathead” (L-head or side-valve) Harley-Davidson VL “Big Twin” model line was developed and produced until 1940. While its twin headlamps, round toolbox and Klaxon-type horn were carried over, nearly all of the VL was new. Harley-Davidson’s 1930 sales brochure described the new 74-cubic inch motorcycle as “standing head and shoulders above all comers, with such startling new features as a 20 percent more powerful motor with Ricardo removable heads, interchangeable wheels, bigger tires, drop-center rims, lower riding position, greater road clearance, automatic increase of generator output, drop forged forks, 100 percent stronger frame, theft proof lock, dual front drive chain, improved clutch, and many other features making the 1930 Big Twin the greatest motorcycle value ever offered.”

Despite strong marketing and abundant features, the new VL was not an instant success. Larger and heavier than its predecessor, the first VLs lacked sufficient top-end power; early examples were recalled, and the engine was extensively redesigned. An enlarged crankcase and a heavier flywheel improved performance and did the trick. With its problems solved, the big 74-cubic inch “flathead” became a favorite of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts.

By virtue of its “VLD” designation, this example from 1936 is a generator-equipped model with high-compression pistons. Finished in a very unique and factory-correct 1936-style paint scheme of maroon with Nile Green panels and rims, this high-quality restoration is accented by period-correct saddlebags and a matching black solo seat. Formerly on static display, it is a handsomely restored example of a sought-after Harley model.

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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California, United States

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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United Kingdom

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

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

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

David Swig

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California, United States

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

Don Rose

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United States

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

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

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

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

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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United Kingdom

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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Ontario, Canada

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

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

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

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

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

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

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

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

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

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

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