Bike of the Month
1942 H-D FL
by Gus Assuras
In 1942 during the war Harley Davidson produced 799 FL motorcycles and delivered 13 to Salt Lake City, UT. They went into service as police bikes for four years. It was 1946 and my dad, age 28, decided to upgrade from his 1936 VL74. Chris Drayer's Salt Lake City HD had the 13 police bikes for sale. Dad had his pick. They gave him $15 on the trade in and he paid $625 for this 1942. Friend Steve Sankovich also purchased one with no trade. That trip back to McGill, NV across the Bonneville Salt Flats began a lifetime of riding and enjoying many trips throughout AZ, NM, NV and UT.
This 1942 provided such great service he never felt a need to replace it. Some cold winter months he would take down the motor, mic it and put it back together to be ready for the next riding season. In 1980 he decided to overhaul the bike for the first time. He said it felt like it was losing a little compression when kicking on it so he and friend Joe Sertic went through it and put it back on the road around 1990. Diabetes was affecting his feet and it became too difficult to kick over so he quit riding. I tried to get the bike to Sparks, but not a chance. He let me ride it around White Pine Co. when I visited and then it went back into the basement. He would sit on a stool, have a beer, look at that bike and reminisce about all of the fun rides he went on over the years. About two years before he passed he said come and get the motorcycle. He was done reminiscing. I had been riding on that motorcycle tank since I was 2. At age 4, I went to the back carrier and was replaced by my little sister. I believe every kid in town rode on it one time or another. My dad loved giving kids rides.
My daughter also rode on it at a very young age and would fall asleep across the gas tanks. I am now a papou (grandpa) of two grandsons. The 6 yr old is always ready to ride but the 2 yr old is just sits on it for pictures! Today the bike remains original except for rewiring and tanks and fenders have been repainted. I plan on riding this 1942 and sharing it with them for many years to come.