1934 Harley-Davidson VD
Inheriting a piece of history
We’ve all heard tales of classic motorcycles tucked away in a barn or basement, where they remain untouched for decades before being discovered by some lucky collector.
But in the case of this rare, unrestored 1934 Harley-Davidson VD, the story is absolutely true.
The V series was Harley’s 74-cubic-inch (1,200cc) V-twin, side-valve motorcycle, first released in mid-1929 to replace the JD model. The new bike was designed to take on Indian’s powerful Chief, but early V models suffered from several problems, including a weak clutch and flywheel, poor lubrication and bad valve springs.
By 1934, Harley sales were at a low point, and the Motor Company turned to flashy paint jobs and art deco graphics to stimulate interest in its products.
That’s where the story of this VD begins. Mailman John Meyer of Bloomington, Illinois, bought the bike new. But after a couple of years and a couple of spills, Meyer decided he should take a break from riding.
So he took his VD, which had less than 1,800 miles on it, dismantled it, wrapped the pieces in newspaper, boxed up everything, and put it all in his basement.
There the bike remained for almost 35 years.
In 1970, Meyer off-handedly mentioned to his friend, Bob Davis, that he had a 1934 Harley in his basement and needed to get rid of it.
Davis bought the machine for $300, put it back together and rode it occasionally. When he died, it was passed along to his friend and the bike’s current owner, Terry Adreon of Downs, Illinois.
Adreon considered doing a full-blown restoration, but contacts within the Antique Motorcycle Club of America gave him one piece of advice regarding his original-condition relic: “Don’t touch a thing.”
The bike is now giving visitors a look at the past as part of the “Heroes of Harley-Davidson” exhibit presented by Progressive Motorcycle Insurance in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum at AMA headquarters in Pickerington, Ohio.