It’s almost Labor Day weekend here in the ‘States, so what better time to take a look at a rare and unique piece of American motorcycling history? Sure, you may say to yourself, Dale’s Wheels Through Time Museum does that every day, but even so, it’s not every day that Matt Walksler schools us about an incredibly special Harley three-wheeler.
It’s not the kind of trike that’s all over the roads in 2022, nor is it a Servi-Car. It’s also not a vintage Harley with a sidecar, though of course there are plenty of excellent examples of those around as well. No, this is a Harley GouldCar. This fascinating add-on was created to bolt right onto your existing Harley-Davidson flathead in place of the rear wheel, and basically instantly give you an extremely sturdy pickup truck rear end.
While sidecars and Servi-Cars could carry some stuff, the GouldCar could carry more. It was so effective as a hauler, in fact, that it found use hauling broken-down bikes on racetracks, or for local shops sent to rescue riders who were stranded on roadsides. Look inside the example that WTT shows off here, and you’ll see tie-down points for securing a bike inside.
It’s especially fascinating as an amalgamation of American automotive history, as well. Company founder James Goulding was an Australian, but as the story goes, he took a 1917 Harley-Davidson Model J, attached one of his sidecars to it, and proceeded to ride 12,000 miles around the U.S. to show off his creation. Things apparently went well enough that he relocated his business to the ‘States sometime later in the decade.
Sidecars clearly weren’t his only creation, though—as you can clearly see from the GouldCar, which incorporated Ford and Studebaker parts in its construction, which were then meant to bolt onto a Harley-Davidson machine to create the ultimate moto-hauler.
How many were made? According to Walksler, only around 13 or 14 or so, and only around five or so still remain surviving to this day. As for how many run, well—Walksler says that this particular one took a couple of owners and many years to get all the parts together to assemble it into the working machine that it is in this video.