Lot 385

Dare to Dream Collection

1947 Harley-Davidson EL 'Knucklehead' with Sidecar


$36,000 USD | Sold

Canada | Toronto, Ontario



Engine No.
Sidecar No.
Canadian Registration
  • Final year for Harley-Davidson’s classic 61-cu. in. “Knucklehead” V-twin engine
  • Fitted with a period-correct Harley-Davidson sidecar; correct three-speed tank-shift transmission with reverse
  • Nicely restored in appealing two-tone colors; pure vintage Americana on three wheels, with ample room for a passenger!
Please note, this lot is registered in Canada and import duty will be applicable to all countries outside of Canada, including the United States. RM Sotheby’s will assist buyers with importation and for residents of the USA, in obtaining a US title.

The look, the stance, and—of course—the sound of a thumping Harley-Davidson V-twin never fails to command attention and inspire visions of the open road. When it comes to vintage machines from the Milwaukee manufacturer, those powered by the “Knucklehead” engine are particularly desirable. So-named for the fist-like shape of its valve covers, this 45-degree, overhead-valve engine was built from 1936 through 1947; it thus spanned a pivotal era in which Harley-Davidson cemented its status as America’s premiere motorcycle company.

This 1947 EL, powered by a 48-horsepower, 61-cubic-inch air-cooled V-twin, comes from the last year of Knucklehead production. The most developed and refined iteration of the characterful powerplant, it would be replaced by the so-called “Panhead” for 1948. Final-year examples like this are particularly sought-after by collectors.

Further enhancing its desirability, this EL is paired with a genuine, period-correct Harley-Davidson sidecar numbered 47LE1374. Appropriate for a sidecar rig, the motorcycle is equipped with a three-speed-plus-reverse gearbox with a tank shifter. Harley-Davidson-manufactured sidecars sported many details that perfectly complemented their corresponding bike, including decorative fender accents and new-for-1947 “tombstone” taillights. An upright windshield and a covered rear-mounted spare wheel makes this an ideal companion for long-distance touring; when not being used for passenger duty, a tonneau cover keeps the sidecar’s interior dry.

Acquired by the Dare to Dream Collection in 2014, this motorcycle/sidecar pair was restored under prior ownership in a subtle and attractive two-tone cream and copper, with a black leather seat and sidecar fairing providing well-chosen contrast. The restoration has mellowed slightly since its completion, with a hint of patina only enhancing this very special pair’s appeal. The odometer currently displays 556 miles, likely accrued since the completion of the motorcycle’s overhaul.

Any vintage Harley-Davidson makes a statement. That is doubly true for this immensely appealing, final-year EL “Knucklehead” with its correct and rarely seen Harley-Davidson sidecar.