Harley-Davidson 1938 “U” 1209 cc side valve V-twin frame & engine # 38U3399
In 1930 the Model “V” comes on the market to replace the F-head models J and JD.
In the beginning there are serious problems with the design but once these are ironed out the new model gains a good reputation both as a solo mount and as a sidecar puller.
The “V” range is produced from 1930 till 1936 in capacities of 1217 and 1293cc and the machines are available with many specification details.
For 1937 the Big Twin range is redesigned: frame and cycle parts of the newly introduced OHV ‘Knucklehead’ are used as the basis for the new 1209cc models U and 1303cc models UH.
An important new feature is the introduction (finally!) of dry sump lubrication.
For the 1938 model year quite a few improvements are introduced, to name a few: modified frame with revised steering head, heavier gauge tubing with strengthening at critical points and warning lights instead of gauges in the instrument panel -red for low oil pressure and green for battery charging (source: Matthias Gerst).
The U is the low-compression version of the Big Twin and is catalogued from 1937 till 1948.
It has a power output of 32.5HP @ 4200rpm.
The unladen weight of the machine is 240 kg and the maximum speed is a very satisfactory 135 km/h. In 1939 504 Us are sold.
This impressive long distance traveller, fitted with reverse gear and finished in a flamboyant gold-lined 1938 Hollywood green, has been restored with great attention to detail.