Share the wealth

Borrowed and scanned these photos from a friend who's been a Harley man in the UK for years.  Sorry for the black lines and watermarks but not everyone wants to be the face of the net.  Anyway, hopefully I remembered the story right so if you're sitting comfortably children then I'll begin...

The Greek police force used HD 45s but didn't just have a fleet of bikes, they had a whole service set with all the spare parts they'd ever need.  When the Greeks decided to try and actually catch a criminal the Harley stock was pushed to one side to rot and be chewed on by goats.

But goats like to roam and the parts were taking up space so eventually it all got shipped over to Holland.  The Dutch dealers liked NOS parts as much as the next man and they went through it and nicked the best parts.  When they'd had their fill a scrap dealer in England bought the load and that's what you see here.

Remember this is 1983 and the internet hasn't been invented yet so nobody even knew about it.  Then a mate of a mate heard about a bloke who'd maybe seen some bike parts in a town somewhere and it was probably worth a drive just in case and POW! before they knew it these photos were being snapped.

The scrap dealer was your typical English merchant, the type that gives the impression he doesn't want the business.  Care was needed with minimal poking around and certainly no more than one visit a week.  But there was a lot of good stuff in there and not all of it for 45s, bits of knuckles and all sorts.  That's how Harley made their money, selling you stuff you didn't need.

Yes, that mass is a tangle of frames.  The dealer wasn't a Harley bloke but he had an old school appreciation for gear.  When it came to paying he would kinda look at the part, weigh it in his hand and spot you a price, probably dependant on how much hassle you'd caused and how much cider he'd had the night before.

After a while a list was made.  This is the front page.  At least I think that's what it is, not sure why it's in dollars not sterling but a cool list none the less.

It's a restorer's wet dream.  Crate after crate of beautiful NOS parts, all the bits you need.  He had a wheelbarrow-sized load of carburettors, all fully re-built with new rebuild kits, wrapped in greaseproof paper and neatly stored.  A mere £10 per carb.

The parts seem cheap now but there wasn't a big bucks Harley scene back then.  The dealer bought the whole lot for £20,000 and would have probably sold it all for £40,000 if someone had offered but that kind of money wasn't around.  In the end it all went back to Holland which is where I now get most of my bits from, J W Boon.

Yeah, it's disgusting and something I'll never experience thanks to eGay and the like but I loved hearing the story and thought it worth recording.


  1. Great story and pictures.
    I was going to nip out to the garage and finish a little job on the bike but I think I'm now gonna now have another look at that time machine idea I had started and dial in 1983!


  2. Wow wish I could come across a stash like that