As anyone who's seen “American Pickers” on the History Channel knows, vintage motorcycle parts can be harder to find than the bikes themselves. From forks and fenders to saddlebags and speedometers, finding that elusive vintage motorcycle part for a treasured Harley-Davidson or Indian can be a collector's dream come true.
Harley parts are in a class by themselves. Sometimes the need is simple—a replacement petcock valve, for example, between the bike’s gas tank and carburetor. Other times, the part needs to be decorative as well as functional—maybe you need the gas tank itself, or you’ve always wanted to attach a sidecar to your ride.
While do-it-yourselfers routinely seek frames, handlebars, and headlights for Harleys made in the late teens, the ’20s, and the early ’30s, parts for Knuckleheads, manufactured from 1936 to 1947, make up a sizable portion of the vintage Harley parts market. Sometimes the prize is nothing more than an authentic emblem, but serious mechanics are often looking for original cylinders.
Other vintage Harley parts include a fairing like the one that was mounted on the front of Elvis Presley’s 1956 KH, Panhead parts from 1948 to 1965, and Hydra Glide and Duo Glide parts from 1949 to 1957 and 1958 to 1964 respectively.
Indian motorcycles are also a favorite of collectors in search of parts. Especially in demand is the curving gas tank for Indian’s 101 Scout from 1928. Sport Scouts, Indian Fours, and Indian Chiefs are also routinely restored—fans of the Chief tend to be on the lookout for the bike’s distinctive cowl-like fenders, which gave the two-wheeled machine a streamlined look.