Harley-Davidson 1943 WLC 750cc side valve V-twin engine # 43WLC5612
Harley-Davidson began producing the WLA in small numbers in 1940, as part of a general military expansion. The later entry of the United States into World War II saw significantly increased production, with over 90,000 being produced during the war (along with spare parts the equivalent of many more). Harley Davidson would also produce a close WLA variant, as shown here, for the Canadian Army. This model was called the WLC. Production of the WLA/WLC would cease after the war, but would be revived for the Korean War during the years 1949 to 1952. Most WLAs/WLCs in western hands after the war would be sold as surplus and “civilianized”; the many motorcycles available at very low cost would lead to the rise of the chopper and other modified motorcycle styles, as well as the surrounding biker culture. Many a young soldier would come home hoping to get a Harley-Davidson like he saw or rode in the service, leading to the post-war popularity of both the motorcycle and the company in general. Allied motorcycles were almost never used as combat vehicles or for troop mobility, and so were rarely equipped with sidecars as was common on the German side.
Nevertheless, the WLA/WLC acquired the nickname “Liberator”, since it was seen ridden by soldiers liberating occupied Europe.
The WLC we present here has been civilianized and restored a number of years ago. Eventually it can be delivered with a matching side car.