Motorcycle: Hardware - Panhead, 1948 - 1965
Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 14:01:24 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
Panhead, 1948 - 1965
In 1945, Harley resumed civilian motorcycle production, although sales would not return to pre-war levels (partly due to industrial action) until 1947. In 1948, the replacement for the noble Knucklehead made its first public appearance.
In the Milwaukee tradition of steady evolution, the "Panhead", as it was dubbed, was a development of the Knuckle rather than an all-new concept. So-named because its chromed steel rocker covers (stainless steel from 1949) resembled inverted baking pans, the Pan was built in both 74-inch - actually 73.66cu in or 1,207cc - and 61-inch (989cc) sizes, although the latter was discontinued in 1953. The larger version retained the "traditional" bore and stroke dimensions of 3 7/16 x 3 31/32 in (or 87.3 x 100.8mm). The Pan featured aluminium alloy cylinder heads in place of the Knuckle's cast iron ones, new rocker gear and hydraulic tappets (or "lifters" as they're known in the United States) rather-than noisier solid push-rods, as well as a revised and less leaky lubrication system. The camshaft was also new. Although the bottom-end was substantially like the Knuckle's, the oil system benefited from a larger capacity oil pump and the main oil feeds were now internal rather than untidy external lines.
The new aluminium heads not only improved engine cooling but contributed to an engine weight 81bs (3.6kg) lighter than before. To ensure durability, the spark plugs and cylinder bolts threaded into steel inserts rather than the relatively soft aluminium of the head itself. Despite these improvements, the power output of early Pans was about the same as the Knuckle's — around 50bhp at 4,800rpm for the 74-inch motor. The valve lifters were relocated from the top of the push-rods in 1953, to lie between cam lobe and push-rod in the timing case. At the same time, both crankcase halves were heavily modified, with particular emphasis on oil control. In 1956, Harley-Davidson introduced even more of the same. By now, a freer-breathing air cleaner and high-lift "Victory" camshaft had brought a gain of around 5bhp on the Pan's original power output. Near the end of its life in 1963, the Panhead reverted to the Knucklehead's external top-end oil feeds to prevent overheating, a particular problem in the scorching deserts of the American south-west.
At least as enduring as the Panhead itself was the name given to the first new model to bear such an engine.
The HydraGlide of 1949 was the first Harley-Davidson to employ hydraulically-damped telescopic front forks. It was also the first model granted one of the enduring names in motorcycling: "Glide".
The Panhead engine would do much to get the famous species on its way, propelling not only the DuoGlide of 1958 but the very first of the ElectraGlides as well.
This article comes from Free Vin Check, Get Vehicle History Report, Free Car History, Used Car History, Auto History, Free Vehicle History, VIN Number Check, Car History, Lemon, Check
The URL for this story is: