Martin Norris’s book, The Classic Harley-Davidson a Celebration of America’s Legendary Motorcycles, is a departure from most of the books I have in my library about The Motor Company.
Unlike most, it does not weigh 10 pounds, nor does it have several hundred pages. Despite its long title, it is a diminutive hard cover book with only 64 pages.
With a remarkable economy of words, Norris takes the Harley-Davidson story from the days of the Harley and Davidson families in Britain, through their emigration to the United States in the late nineteenth century to creation of the first Harley-Davidson motorcycle in 1903 and through many of the Motor Company’s iconic models up to 1996. He even manages to slip in some pages on racing and customizing.
Lavishly illustrated with Norris’s color images (he is a London-based freelance writer and travel photographer), the book is like a professionally prepared photo album of some of the most interesting and sought-after models Harley-Davidson has ever produced.
From the Silent Grey Fellow V-twin that really got H-D rolling in 1911, to the art-deco beauty of the 1936 Model V and the OHV breakout Model EL knucklehead, to the 1948 panhead, the ’57 Sportster, the shovelhead era and on to the Evolution engine powered models of the 1980s and into the 1990s, Norris manages to cover more ground more quickly than most any author on the subject.
- Title: The Classic Harley-Davidson, a Celebration of America’s Legendary Motorcycles
- Author: Martin Norris
- Published: 1997
- Publisher: Lorenz Books, an imprint of Annes Publishing Ltd., Hermes House, 88-89 Blackfriars Road, London, SE 1 8 HA.
- ISBN: 1 85967 504 2
Note to readers: many of the books that we’ll feature here may be out of print and some may be difficult to find. That could be half the fun. The Internet should make the search relatively easy but ironically, none of the books currently scheduled for eventual retro-review for the Rider’s Library section were found with the help of the Internet. They all were found at book stores, used book stores, antique shops, motorcycle shops, yard sales and so on.