Rum Runner: The Harley-Davidson V Series

Used to deliver booze during the Prohibition era, this Harley-Davidson V Series with sidecar rig is a well-worn survivor.


| September/October 2012


1932 Harley-Davidson Model V
Claimed power:
28hp @ 4,000rpm
Top speed: 80mph, 60mph w/sidecar
Engine: 74.24ci (1,216cc) air-cooled flathead 45-degree V-twin, 87.3mm x 101.6mm bore and stroke, 4:1 compression ratio
Weight (dry): 529lb (240kg) solo/704lb (320kg) w/sidecar
Fuel capacity: 5.6gal (21.3ltr)

Used to deliver illicit booze during the Prohibition era, this Big Twin Harley sidecar rig is a well-worn survivor.

Back in the day, Harley-Davidson wasn’t shy about promoting its then-new V-Series 74ci Big Twin flathead. “Brilliant in design and engineering, brilliant in colors and chrome plating, brilliant in speed and performance — the new Big Twin is setting a new and faster pace in motorcycle history ... speed that fairly takes your breath away, lightning-like acceleration, amazing ease of handling and the riding comfort of an armchair!”

And then there was the sidecar: “The safest, the most convenient and easiest riding sidecar outfit on the market!” A Big Twin combination sounded just the job for transporting cargo quickly and discretely across the state of Pennsylvania — especially in the Prohibition era if your cargo was bottles of booze!

Thanks to the infamous Volstead Act, on Oct. 28, 1919, the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcoholic drinks in the U.S. were banned. But that didn’t stop people from getting their favorite tipple. Rum was smuggled from the Bahamas to Florida, while Canadian whiskey and English gin was loaded onto fast ships and brought in through the Northeast. Racketeers and gangsters flourished, and not only because there was easy money to be made, but because Prohibition wasn’t popular with everyone. While mobsters like Al Capone and Bugs Moran were the big players, an army of small-time bootleggers delivered bottles to small drinking dens and private houses around the country. And that’s how this Harley outfit became known as the Rum Runner. MC 

Find more information on the Harley-Davison V Series in 1934 Harley-Davidson VLD.





Ride 'Em, Don't Hide 'Em Getaway

Classic Motorcycle Touring and Events.


The latest classic motorcycle events and tours.

LEARN MORE



The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $4.95 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $29.95 for a one year subscription!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265