Harley-Davidson Begins 120th Year Celebration January 18

Harley-Davidson has announced it will start the celebration of its 120th year of continuous production of motorcycles on January 18.

Even if you’re not deep into industrial history, you have to admire any company that has been in business for 1.2 centuries, especially if its primary business has been manufacturing motorcycles. While it’s true the Motor Company has added and subtracted products in its line over the years—snowmobiles, bicycles, golf carts, and scooters, for example—the heart of its product line since 1903 has always been motorcycles.

Harley-Davidson Begins 120th Year Celebration January 18: Silent Gray Fellow
Examples of the Silent Gray Fellow single-cylinder models of 1909 and 1906 on display at the Harley-Davidson Museum.

While brand names such as Indian, Triumph, Royal Enfield, BSA, and Norton tout even earlier start dates in manufacturing, none of them have had motorcycles in continuous production since their founding—Harley-Davidson has.

Harley-Davidson has survived the economic and societal upheavals of World War I, the Great Influenza epidemic, the Great Depression, World War II, The Cold War, the burst of the dot-com bubble, the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain woes, 23 recessions, corporate buy-outs, buy-backs, intense competition, and any other challenge you may care to name.

Pundits and nay-sayers have endlessly predicted the end of the line for Harley-Davidson, and they have always been wrong. American-built inline-4s of the 1930s and ’40s couldn’t do it; British OHV parallel twins of the 1950s and ’60s couldn’t do it; Asian inline-4s and two-stroke triples of the 1970s couldn’t do it; even V4s of the 1980 and competing big-inch V-twins of the 2000s could not do it. All things considered, whether you’re a fan of the brand or not, you have to acknowledge that Harley-Davidson has a right to celebrate.

Harley-Davidson Begins 120th Year Celebration January 18: Project Nova
In the early 1970s, AMF/Harley-Davidson had a radical new design in the works—the Nova Project. This is a styling mock-up of the 1000cc liquid-cooled DOHC V4-powered model on display at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.

That celebration begins on January 18. Harley-Davidson will reveal its 2023 motorcycle, accessory, and MotorClothes product line-ups, and details of the inaugural Harley-Davidson Homecoming in July. All the news will stream live at 10 a.m. CST on the H-D website.

“2023 marks the 120th Anniversary of Harley-Davidson,” Harley-Davidson Chairman, President, and CEO Jochen Zeitz notes, “during which we’ll honor our rich heritage, celebrate with our fans and riding community, and reveal our newest motorcycles and product offerings. Please join us as we kick off our 120th Anniversary with exciting new model introductions and a peek at what we have in store for the landmark year ahead.”

For more Harley-Davidson history, see some of our coverage here: