The Harley-Davidson Motor Co. Archive Collection – Book Review

Harley-Davidson Archive Collection

Motorbooks Publishing sent me this seven pound book to review. It retails for $60.00 and is a work of art. You’ll need a sturdy coffee table for this book!

If your going to create a historical compilation of the most important motorcycle collection on earth than you should use the highest standards of photography and printing to do the collection justice. I think Randy Leffingwell, Darwin Holmstrom, Harley-Davidson and Motorbooks have done a fantastic job in creating a work of art. The quality of the paper, printing, photgraphy and of the course the collection itself is outstanding!

As you may know Harley-Davidson Motor Co. opened the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee this past summer at the 105th Anniversary celebration. This book coincides with the opening of the museum for those who can’t make it to the museum or just want their own photo archive of the Motor Company’s rich history. According to Bill Davidson in the forward “this book is a departure from the plethora of previously published articles and histories of our company and our product, for it is the first-ever look inside the Harley-Davidson corporate Archives vehicle collection.”

“No other vehicle manufacturer had the foresight to save what Harley-Davidson has saved for more than one hundred years.” The Motor Co. started the vehicle collection in 1915. There are more than 460 Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the Harley-Davidson Vehicle Collection which is part of the Harley-Davidson Archives. Starting in 1915 Harley saved special interest motorcycles representing every year from 1915 to present for the collection. Many were taken directly from the assembly line. Some were prototypes and one off customs. The Mo Co repurchased motorcycles to fill in the years from 1903 to 1914 so that every year of Harley history is represented. “The archival artifacts chronicle more than just Harley-Davidson history; they represent the evolution of technology, styling, advertising, and product development. Most important, however, is that the collections reflect the lives of those who built, sold, and rode a true American legend.”

I started reading each year one at a time but have not finished yet and didn’t want to wait any longer to tell you about this masterpiece. Each year has at least it’s own two page spread with photo’s, description, history and interesting statistics. Interesting statistics? Is there such thing? Well, it is interesting to note how many models of each motorcycle were manufactured and how much they sold for back in the early years.

I know this book costs more than most, but if you’re an enthusiast you’ll like it!

If you like coffee table books, you’ll also want The Great Book of Harley-Davidson which weighs two pounds more than the Archive Collection. Pound for pound this has to be the most motorcycle book for your buck compared to any other!