Motorworld’s newspaper №79
Test-drive video
In 1939 Harley-Davidson Motors Co. released Harley-Davidson WLA, a military version of its WL model, specially designed for the US Armed Forces. Even though its competitor, Indian Motorcycle Co., supplied its motorcycles for the army as well, it was primarily Harley-Davidson WLA that was actively used in military operations.

Harley-Davidson WLA was rigged with a twin-cylinder, V-type, L-head engine having operating capacity of 739 cc and maximum power of 23 h.p. at 4500 rpm; it featured a 3-speed gearbox and special, military-purpose equipment: ammo box, machine-gun support, rear hardware. The motorcycle model also had two large leather pouches; well-developed tread plies; a deep seat with a soft central spring, big flat-plane foot boards, a wide handlebar with backward-curved hand levers, large safety rails and controls on the petrol tank (they included battery charge control lamps). The motorcycle was outfitted with lighting equipment that was standard for US-army transportation vehicles. Harley-Davidson WLA was popularly nicknamed “Liberator”.

A total of under 80 thousand WLA 42 motorcycles were produced, and after the war they were sold to the general public as army surplus. Usually, excessive equipment was taken off and the motorcycle was customized.

Manufacturer Harley-Davidson Motors Co., Milwaukee (Wisconsin, USA)
Years of manufacture 1939 – 1944
Quantity produced, units about 80 000
Price 395 $
Today’s value 6 382,9 $
Type twin-cylinder, 4-stroke, V-type (cylinders arranged at 45 degrees ), L-head, carburetor
Engine capacity, cc 740
Bore and stroke, mm 69.85 х 96.85
Engine rating 23 h.p. at 4500 rpm
Sparking Battery type, right-side kickstarter arrangement
Carburetor Schebler
Battery 6 V
Clutch Dry, multiple-plate
Transmission 3-speed
Frame type Tubular duplex
Front suspension Springer
Rear suspension Rigid
Brakes Drum type
Wheel size 4,00 х 18
Length, mm
2 235
Width, mm
Height, mm
1 041
Wheelbase, mm
1 460
Ground clearance, mm
Seat height, mm
Mass, kg
Gas tank size, l
Maximum speed, km/h
Range, km

* – Data from the results of the measurement of the “Motorworld by V.Sheyanov” exhibit.