The city of Milwaukee has a specialty for machine tools and railways and is a natural place for such developments. For example, Merkel is a manufacturer of engines and already assembles motorcycles. Evinrude designs gas engines for automobiles.
In such a suitable environment, two very young men, William Harley and Arthur Davidson, build their first prototype of a motorized bicycle. In 1903, after two years of effort, it is a disappointment: the machine is not able to climb hills without assistance of pedals.
This failure galvanizes the inventors. Their audacity, which will be winning, is to equip their two wheelers with increasingly larger engines, ensuring forever the difference between pedal bicycle and motorcycle. In 1906, they make 50 units of their first commercial model, the Harley-Davidson strap tank.
The following year saw significant new developments, including the incorporation of the company, the expansion of the plant and the first prototype with a twin engine.
On March 21 in Las Vegas, Mecum sells a Harley-Davidson strap tank (single cylinder) made in 1907. This rare machine is in excellent original condition after being held until 1993 by the son of its first owner. It is estimated $ 800K, lot S62.