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HD Knucklehead

Ride of the Week

Custom 1947 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead

Most things vintage are hard to come by, especially vehicles. Finding a car, truck or motorcycle more than 40 years old in the first place is difficult, let alone buying one that doesn’t carry a hefty price tag. Some people are experts at sourcing these vehicles in whole, but more impressive are the people who can find bits and pieces and then build back the rest themselves.

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Jordan Dickinson of Union Speed and Style knows all about this, creating his whole business around building and restoring vintage automobiles and motorcycles. He builds everything from ’32 Ford Roadsters to classic Harleys, like the one we got to check out at Mama Tried.  

The bike he brought to the custom show is built around a 1947 Knucklehead engine, the last model year for Harley-Davidson’s then-flagship engine. Aside from the engine that Dickinson bought off a friend and bumped up to 74-cid, the rest of the build is more or less fully custom and made to resemble a late-’30s, early ’40s factory race bike.

“We took a lot of cues from bikes of that era, but then kind of put on our own spin,” Dickinson says. “Everything you see here is completely handmade. All the frame forging components and sheet metal is handmade with the exception of the front end, which is an original front end that we narrowed up an inch.

“A couple friends of mine handled the paint. Mike Studolka did the black portion of it on the frame and fork, and then Jeremty Peterson from Relic Customs handled all of the blue and pinstriping.”

The entire build itself took Dickinson and friends around two years and a lot of late nights and weekends, with finishing touches being completed in 2018. After that, he began taking it to a variety of motorcycle shows, including Michael Lichter’s motorcycle show, Born Free (which is what the bike was originally built for), and the AMD World Championships in Germany.

Ironically, Dickinson tried to bring the bike back to the states in 2019 for Mama Tried, but due to some travel issues, it got stuck on the ship. With COVID now less restrictive, this year, the bike was finally able to make its first appearance at Mama Tried.

If you have a motorcycle, ATV, UTV, snowmobile or jet ski you’d like to feature in MPN’s Ride of the Week series, please email MPN Content Director Greg Jones at [email protected]

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