History, with all The Dust Blown Off

Traveling into the past is a thrill when you ride with Harley-Davidson.


Vehicle Profile:


Almost as soon as there were motorcycles, there was racing. The first races were informal events, but manufacturers, quickly realizing that competitions were a great way to gain publicity, founded officially sponsored teams. Races held on wooden board tracks attracted thousands of spectators who came to watch the thrilling competitions.

This rare racing vehicle, the 1916 Model T factory racer, has an entirely original chassis, along with the special racing “M” motor developed and perfected by William Ottaway, the tuner for the Harley-Davidson team. A mere 23 Model T vehicles were built in 1916, and it was available to the general public only by special order.

Because the bike lacks an oil recirculation system, riders used a hand-operated pump to add oil when necessary – even during a run! It has no brakes, or a transmission, which would weigh down a vehicle designed for speed. These factors, combined with the ability of the racer to push the machine to over 100 miles per hour, resulted in many spectacular crashes. Watching the race was every bit as dangerous as it was exciting.

Learn more about board track racing in the Clubs & Competition gallery at the Harley-Davidson Museum. This vehicle is currently on display.

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Donating An Artifact

If you wish to offer an item to the permanent collections of Harley-Davidson, please mail or e-mail the following to the address below:

  • A detailed description of the item
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  • Your complete contact information, including phone number

Your submission will be reviewed by the Archives and Curatorial Staff of Harley-Davidson. If we are interested in acquiring the item for the Harley-Davidson Archives collections, you will be contacted for further information. Unfortunately, the Archives cannot accept unsolicited donations.


     Harley-Davidson Archives

Attn: Archives Manager
500 W Canal Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202


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Harley-Davidson Museum
400 W Canal Street
Milwaukee, WI 53201
1-877-HD-MUSEUM or 414-287-2789

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