54 or 55 Panhead Identification - The Jockey Journal Board

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Old 06-19-2020, 05:45 PM   #1
shoveljp
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Default 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

hi guys
is it possible to have in a OEM way , a 55 VIN Panhead with the circular 50th anniversary front fender emblem like it is on the 54 Pan , and also with a tombstone rear light, also like on the 54? possible for a very early 55 model, or completely impossible from the Factory? for info , the gas tank emblem is the 55 one.
thanks for your help
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Old 06-20-2020, 10:11 AM   #2
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

Lots of ''don't waste it'' went on over the years so maybe. Another thought is it was a wreck repair done real early and got last years parts. Or some owner liked those parts or over the years it got a non correct restoration. Were's the pic's?
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Old 06-20-2020, 05:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

pics will come asap if possible; thanks for your quick answer !
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Old 06-23-2020, 06:55 AM   #4
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

does your 55 have a wishbone frame ?
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Old 06-23-2020, 10:05 AM   #5
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

Wouldn't be a '55 as wishbone's ended in mid '54.
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Old 06-23-2020, 07:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

The 54 models were announced in the Sept 53 issue of The Enthusiast. Notice it says the 50th anniversary medallion sets the 54 models apart from all others and identifies them as the culmination of 50 successful years in building motorcycles of great distinction.







Therefore I donít think a 54 medallion would be fitted as original to a 55 model.

Regarding the tail light, I doubt that any 55 Pans originally had the tombstone style. The new type for 55 was even highlighted in the Sept 54 issue of The Enthusiast which announced the 55 models.





What does the 55 serial number look like? Does it appear authentic? If youíre not sure then you could post a partial photo of it. Thanks.
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Old 06-24-2020, 09:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

Quote:
Originally Posted by blewcrab View Post
does your 55 have a wishbone frame ?
what I wanted to know ....if the cycle has a wishbone frame it is probably a 54 chassis with the 55 motor installed as a replacment
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Old 06-24-2020, 03:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

There were straight leg '54s, mid year change.
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Old 06-24-2020, 03:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

Quote:
Originally Posted by blewcrab View Post
what I wanted to know ....if the cycle has a wishbone frame it is probably a 54 chassis with the 55 motor installed as a replacment
Quote:
Originally Posted by joe49 View Post
There were straight leg '54s, mid year change.
There are 3 frames for '54, wishbone with the slightly flattened inner downtubes, wishbone with fully rounded inner downtubes (like '48), and the straightleg.

By '55, the frame would have to be a straightleg.
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Old 06-24-2020, 05:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

ok guys ! thanks for all of that !
is there a simple way to identify the year of the frame , it is a straightlegs, and the engine seems to have correct 55 FLXXXX stamped on it. As the frame is a straightlegs , it s should be from late 54 to 57; except if it is a repro. i have heard of a two digit code on the side of the upper motor mount. is it an identification way available for these years? who has a pic to show me what and where i will have to look? are there other places where the frme has id numbers? thanks
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Old 06-24-2020, 06:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

Quote:
Originally Posted by shoveljp View Post
ok guys ! thanks for all of that !
is there a simple way to identify the year of the frame , it is a straightlegs, and the engine seems to have correct 55 FLXXXX stamped on it. As the frame is a straightlegs , it s should be from late 54 to 57; except if it is a repro. i have heard of a two digit code on the side of the upper motor mount. is it an identification way available for these years? who has a pic to show me what and where i will have to look? are there other places where the frme has id numbers? thanks
Yes, the date code will tell you the year of the frame.

Look at post #18 in this thread:

https://www.jockeyjournal.com/forum/...d.php?t=193705

There is a lot of good information in that thread, there is also a picture from Palmer's book, post #10. That will help with casting numbers.
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Old 06-24-2020, 08:49 PM   #12
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

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the engine seems to have correct 55 FLXXXX stamped on it.

I agree thatís the normal format for a 55FL serial number but what do the characters look like? Are they consistent with factory stamping for a 55 Pan? How high is the sequence portion? If youíre not sure then you could post a partial photo.

What do the belly numbers look like? Photos?

Are 7s stamped on top of the cases near the rear engine mounting bolts? If so, what do they look like? Photos? Thanks.
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Old 06-25-2020, 06:38 AM   #13
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Old 06-25-2020, 06:40 AM   #14
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

here is a partial view of the vin; i have hidden the two last numbers; think it's correct? and what is the upper mark with the red arrow?
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Old 06-25-2020, 03:26 PM   #15
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

Casting hallmark, and that's likely correct. Motor Castings Company, I think?
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Old 06-25-2020, 03:30 PM   #16
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

And can you get in there and flip the hinged part of the fender up? That light mounts differently, I think. Be a hell of a coinky-dink to have a true 1955 if it had a wishbone frame and '54 sheetmetal, I would think.

Pics would help a lot here.
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Old 06-25-2020, 04:55 PM   #17
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

did Motor Castings Company work for HD in 1955 or must we consider it is an aftermarket part?
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Old 06-26-2020, 04:11 AM   #18
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

Thanks for the photo. I canít see anything wrong with the characters and they appear consistent with factory stamping for a 55 Pan. Notice the back of the 5 is vertical, as opposed to leaning to the right, and there is a reasonable space between the horizontal stroke and the top of the curve. There may even be a clue at the top of the curve although itís hard to see in your picture. I donít know if it was a defect or abnormality in the stamp or if the stamp became damaged and the factory kept using it regardless. Iíve noticed it a lot in the mid/later-50s so if itís there I donít think itís a concern.

F and L are sans serif as Iíd expect. Lower horizontal stroke of the F is almost as long as the upper stroke which is normal for 55.
Open-top 4 looks okay. Notice the left stroke is slightly curved. Notice the serif across the base.
Flat-top 3 looks normal. Vertical serif at top left.

The range is good because SNs for 55 Pans began at 1000 and went into the 6000s.

Below is an example for comparison of some characters.





Belly numbers for a 55 Pan should be formatted as per the following example: 155-1234. They may be higher or lower than the SN. They may even match the SN although it would be rare.

You may find a 7 on top of each case near the rear engine mounting bolt and on this occasion Iíd expect them to be a certain sans serif style with a fully curved back.





Motor Castings Company were indeed still producing some parts for H-D in 1955. However, they didnít put their logo on Pan cylinders for 1948Ėearly-63; instead it was only on Pan cylinders for mid-63Ė65. There may be a date code on the base of that front cylinder where it faces the rear cylinder. And there may also be a date code on the rear cylinder.
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Old 06-26-2020, 06:15 AM   #19
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Default Re: 54 or 55 Panhead Identification

thanks for taking time and give me such a precise answer !
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