A Milwaukee native, the legendary designer Brooks Stevens’ story began as a child. While stricken with polio, his father encouraged him to practice drawing while confined to his bed, ultimately setting him on a path to become a prolific designer whose name would be tied to numerous now-iconic designs, including the Miller Brewing logo, the Jeep Wagoneer and even the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Stevens is even credited as being responsible for originating the Robin’s Egg Blue phase of 1950s kitchen appliances. However, for the motorcycle world, it was his work at Harley-Davidson that would set the stage for years to come. Stevens is credited for his work in designing the Harley-Davidson Hydra-Glide, helping to create the new suspension forks, bucket headlight and the new streamlined body design, with Harley-Davidson following those same body design principles even through to today.
For model year 1947, the Harley-Davidson FL featured a new rear-to-front shifter gate (1-N-2-3-4), a “Tombstone”-style die-cast alloy tail light assembly and a new Red Ball tank emblem that was designed by the soon to be legendary Stevens. A “Two-Light” instrument cover was also painted to match the tank color. Following the wartime restrictions, chrome-plated parts, the air cleaner cover, a front fender lamp, horn cover and other accessories also returned to an appreciative buying crowd.
Ultimately, 1947 would bring the production of the Knucklehead models by Harley-Davidson to an end, with the Milwaukee motor company ushering its Panhead engine the following model year. Little did the motor company realize this model would be long remembered and passionately sought after 74 years later. This 1947 Harley-Davidson FL Knucklehead from the final year of production of the Knucklehead was purchased by J.C. Burgin for his museum in 1983, and then restored by Burgin at Vintage Motorcycles Northwest.