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About the Bike

This “one owner” Harley Davidson was purchased brand new by the late Joe Neys Sr. who lived and worked in the Portland/Beaverton area. The 1942 Knucklehead Model FL is a High Performance 74 cubic inch 48 HP machine weighing in at an advertised 535 LBS and a top speed of 105 MPH. Only 799 of the “civilian” model bikes like this one were built in 1942 due to the war. During World War II, nearly all Harley production was directed towards building the approximate 80,000 War Model “WLA” 45 cu.in. bikes for Allied forces from 1942-1946. Production of civilian models was down to a mere trickle during that time.

Joe Neys, a crack motorcycle mechanic, bought this rare civilian model after hearing that they were becoming extremely hard to get and “if he wanted one he better get it while he could.” The listed price for this model was $465.

It is said that the only people that could obtain the “non-war” FL models were those dedicated to police use or to those buyers who could make the case that it was needed to support the war effort. Because Joe was a machinist supporting war manufacturing in Portland, Oregon, as well as a police reserve officer, he was able to obtain this limited production model.

The bike was modified for police duty and comes equipped with a pedal operated siren that activates when it rubs against the spinning back tire. It was later painted to match the colors of the “Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department” (You will find a worn Sheriff’s “Star” insignia on the right side of the front fender). The family also has Joe’s police uniform and service revolver from his time as a Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputy.

After Joe’s death his children and wife, Helen (Neys) Asher, placed the bike in Asher’s Antique Car Museum in Fossil, Oregon for others to enjoy, along with a fine collection of operational vintage cars and trucks. The motorcycle still runs and is ridden in parades and special events by Joe's children.

Recently the family has tried to ensure that any mechanical repairs and maintenance are performed and hope to work towards restoring and replacing some of the parts. Of course, this effort is done as time and funds allow and will be performed in such a way that it maintains the police/stunt riding modifications Joe Neys made to this bike in the 1940’s.

The Neys family also has lots of photos, news clippings, police uniforms, clothing, and other memorabilia along with this bike to help preserve the story behind this 1942 Harley and its only owner, Joe Neys Sr.

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