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100 Years of Harley-Davidson    by Willie G. Davidson order for
100 Years of Harley-Davidson
by Willie G. Davidson
Order:  USA  Can
Bulfinch, 2002 (2002)

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

100 Years of Harley-Davidson tells a story of good old American enterprise; the achievement of the American Dream, via hard work, amazing talent and more hard work combined to produce a brand of motorcycle known around the world. This is the motorcycle that helped to revolutionize the way the world traveled; a world coming awake to use of the combustion engine for transportation. In 1903, in a shed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Arthur Davidson, Walter Davidson, William S. Harley and William A. Davidson met to fabricate a motorized bicycle. Not only did these four men start a viable business, but they founded a dynasty, one that is still in operation and looking to the future.

This coffee table book makes the perfect holiday gift for that motorcycle enthusiast on your list. He - or she - needn't be a rider. A wannabe would also love to own it. I found it extremely interesting, filled with wonderful photos from days gone by and vignettes from the history of the company. I was intrigued to find out that by 1914, rural postal carriers found the cycle more dependable than horses over rough terrain. 1915 brought fire companies into the fold to reach emergencies more quickly than on horseback. And men are not the only riders of these magnificent machines. Women also fell under the spell of the Harley-Davidson. By 1917, a lady named Lilian Haver had logged 65,000 miles! In peace and wartime, Harley-Davidson has met the needs of the rider.

In the Juneau Avenue plant in Milwaukee resides a model of every Harley-Davidson from 1915 to today. What a sight that must be for the Hog enthusiast. Here's a quote from the book on riding motorcycles -'... continually bombarded with sensations - the scent of evergreens, freshly cut grass, sea air - hear pulsing of the V Twin and feel the wind on our faces. The temperature changes with every dip in the road. Everything we're seeing and feeling is right there - unfiltered and pure.'

This is a magnificent book with depictions of models through the years, from the first one, the 1903-04, Serial Number One, to this year's model - the 2002 URSCA V-ROD. Who knows what the year 2003 will bring? After reading Years of Harley-Davidson, I can more readily understand the pull of the cycle and the open road.

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