Motorcycle Types Cruiser 1914 Harley-Davidson Package Truck

1914 Harley-Davidson Package Truck

Harley History

In 1914, Harley-Davidson was only 11 years old as a Company, but had already proven the value of the motorcycle as a tool for working people.

By this time, the United States Postal Service was utilizing over 4,800 Harley-Davidson motorcycles for rural delivery routes, making it one of nine departments of the Federal Government using Milwaukee iron.

But it was in 1915 that Harley-Davidson sold its first Package Trucks, or the first "delivery motorcycle." The first Harley-Davidson product designed specifically for utility use, the Package Truck started one of two platforms.

The first was a sidecar chassis outfitted with a wooden trunk with a hinged top or vertical back door. This was the most common platform.

The other style, which was less common and shorter-lived, was a "trike" format called the Forecar, which had two wheels in the front of the vehicle holding the cargo container and the rear half of the vehicle being a conventional motorcycle.

Typically, a Package Truck’s motorcycle component had a low-compression engine and a transmission designed for sidecar use to account for the extra weight.

The motorcycle-based Package Trucks were often highly customized by the businesses using them.

Among other unusual variations was a container shaped like a milk bottle for a Dayton, Ohio, dairy and the well-known open rack often associated with Coca-Cola delivery vehicles.

Harley-Davidson built Package Trucks until the 1957 model year. It is unknown exactly how many motorcycles were built.

However, production of Harley-Davidson commercial and utility motorcycles would continue through 1973 with the Servicar.

Photograph courtesy of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company Archives.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

Harley-Davidson Tremont Shoes Review: Urban Motorcycle Footwear

In the on-going debate over how much protection is enough, the correct answer for each of us comes from within. Some riders would never...

2021 Langen Two Stroke First Look: Street-Legal V-Twin!

If you thought we’d never see another street-legal two-stroke sportbike, you’re not alone. There hasn’t been a full-size two-stroke motorcycle for the street in...

2021 Indian Springfield Lineup First Look (5 Fast Facts)

There are two motorcycles in the 2021 Indian Springfield lineup, with the standard Springfield focused on longer-distance touring, and the Springfield Dark Horse pulling...

2021 BMW R 18 Review (19 Fast Facts on the First Edition)

Over a year after its concept debut, the 2021 BMW R 18 has made its way to production. Much has been written about its...

2021 Honda CRF450R Review (12 First Ride Fast Facts from Glen Helen)

The 2021 Honda CRF450R is all-new for 2021. The entirely new chassis, bodywork, exhaust, and hydraulic clutch highlight the changes to the CRF450R. Add to...

Arai Spoiler EX2 for the Corsair-X Helmet First Look

The Arai Corsair-X is the Japanese company’s flagship helmet and intended for riders of the highest performance motorcycle. MotoGP racers Maverick Viñales of Monster...