by Sev Pearman
Glossy books with pretty pictures of Harley-Davidsons are more plentiful than stock pipes at a swap meet. It takes a distinct approach and excellent photography to climb to the top of the heap. With its clever title, 101 Uses for an Old Harley-Davidson grabbed our attention.
Alarm bells went off when we didn’t see an author listed on the cover. Indeed, we had to dig deep to find the editor. The only name on the book is Jean Davidson, granddaughter of Harley-Davidson founder, Walter Davidson. Her contribution consists of a three-paragraph foreword. None of this was encouraging.
Thankfully, 101 Uses… doesn’t disappoint. There are over one hundred photos of H-D cycles being used in parades, posed at rallies and ridden on the road. Off-road uses include a dune buggy, snow mobile and mosquito control unit. Sidecars and pre-WWII models are well-represented. Period advertising plates and posed motorcycle club photos add to the historical mix.
Local readers will respond to several Minnesota images. Our favorite is Plate 33, Shop Teacher. An anonymous racer wrenches his flathead WR at the Minnesota State Fair, sometime in the early ‘50s.
MMM throws one flag: Plate 53, Cause for Rebellion, is an image of Marlon Brando from “The Wild One.” Brando’s character Johnny rides a Triumph Thunderbird 6T. Brando’s rival, Chino, played by Lee Marvin, rides a Harley.
That grumble aside, what you have is a fun little book intended for coffee table or office shelf. The absence of meaty copy keeps this book in the lightweight category, but the mix of archive and current “lifestyle” images will please most H-D owners. Non-riders will also find a smile or two in 101 Uses for an Old Harley-Davidson. Keep it in mind as the holiday season approaches. Two-and-a-half out of four cylinders.
Brand-slave – Perfect for your office or desk.
Enthusiast – Fun read with one or two delights.
Bolt-spotter – This is not a restoration guide.
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