1909 Harley-Davidson Police Motorcycle

| 8/1/2011 2:22:41 PM

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Editor’s note: Welcome to National Treasures, where we’ll be featuring many of the amazing vintage motorcycles on display at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa. Of course, nothing beats viewing the museum’s amazing vintage motorcycle collection with your own eyes, so be sure to visit the National Motorcycle Museum website and plan your trip today. 

1909 Harley-Davidson Police Model 1 
1909 Harley-Davidson police motorcycle on display at the National
Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa.

This 1909 Harley-Davidson police motorcycle is considered to be the earliest known police Harley in existence. Harley-Davidson lore says that the first police model motorcycle was delivered in 1908 to the Detroit, Mich., Police Department, starting more than 100 years of U.S. police departments riding Harleys.

This Harley is documented as a member of the Eau Claire, Wisc., Police Department fleet. Note that this original-paint example displays pinstriping on the fuel tank offering a rectangular panel for the police department name to be painted in. 

As with the military, the police needed the high maneuverability of a motorcycle in a reliable package, and Harley-Davidson was nothing if not reliable in those early years. At its peak, Harley-Davidson provided its motorcycles to 3,400 police departments in 45 countries around the world. 

1909 Harley-Davidson police model 2