Harley Davidson 1912 “ X8E” 989 cc IOE V-twin engine # 1890B
The first V-twin Harley prototype was displayed at the Chicago Motorcycle Show in February 1907, but it wasn’t until 1909 that the first twins were for sale; officially they were still considered prototypes and only 27 were sold. The engine had a capacity of 880 cc and had atmospheric intake valves. The standard colour of these machines was Renault Gray with carmine striping. The engines were not as good as the company expected so for 1910 no twins were offered and further development work was done. In 1911 a new engine was presented with 811 cc capacity and IOE configuration. This proved to be a sound design and it was developed further year after year. In 1912 a bigger, 989 cc engine was an option and in 1913 the 989 cc engine became standard.
The introduction to the 1912 catalogue gives a good example of a reason of the growing popularity of the Harley-Davidson: “Recently we asked Mr. Agnew, Manager of the Rochester Telephone Company, to tell us plainly why he so firmly believed in the great future of the motorcycle. In substance, Mr. Agnew’s reply was as follows: “About three years ago we installed a motorcycle in our repair and trouble department. Since that date, this machine has travelled over 22,000 miles at an actual cost of approximately $4 per month. The machine and its rider have performed work which formerly necessitated three men and three rigs.(…)”.
The 1912 twins were available in three versions. The models 8D and X8D were equipped with a 811 cc engine, the X8E has the optional, more powerful 989 cc engine. The X designation referred to the fitting of a clutch in the rear wheel hub. The X8E weighed 140 kg and could reach a top speed of about 90 km. Total production of H-D in 1912 was 3852 machines, including the singles. The X8E was the most expensive model and as far as we know only a very limited number of these machines have survived.
This X8E has been meticulously restored and comes with Pioneer Certificate.