Harley's First Land Speed Record

In 1936, Harley-Davidson decided to try their hand at land speed racing.  Other private race teams had previously used Harley-Davidson powered motorcycles, but for this was to be the first "official" factory built land speed racer.  Harley started with a 1937 EL model which was powered by their new overhead valve 61ci Knucklehead motor.  Then they added low-slung handlebars and made a custom fairing using part of a gas tank that was reshaped to fit over the front forks.  For additional aerodynamics, they added a rear tail fin assembly.

By March of 1937, the motorcycle was ready to make an attempt at a new record.  During testing, it was discovered that the tail fin produced enough unwanted vibration that it was removed for the actual record attempt.  Harley chose factory racer Joe Petrali to pilot the motorcycle and on March 13, he set a record of 136.183 miles per hour on Daytona Beach.

That record held for 11 years until Rollie Free broke it on his famous run across the Salt Flats, legs sticking straight out behind him, just in his bathing suit (and I thought Petrali's safety gear was lacking).