As spring takes hold in the northern hemisphere, there’s an almost tactile sense of expectation and possibility in the air. For riding season, of course—but for a great many other things, as well. Spring cleaning is a thing for a reason, and if you’re now (or have ever been) a rider, there’s absolutely no reason why any motorcycles you have shouldn’t be part of that process.
It’s not completely clear that spring cleaning was the burst of inspiration that led someone to phone up Wheels Through Time about its most recent acquisition, but that seems like a definite possibility. As Matt Walksler tells the story, someone told him about a 1950 Harley-Davidson FL Panhead that had been sitting in a North Georgia basement for at least the last 20 years.
The photos showed a promising bike, and as you’ll see in the video, it also came with a boatload of spares that will no doubt come in handy at the museum. No one knew when the last time this bike ran was, only that it had been sitting in a fairly damp basement for the past couple of decades or more.
Unsurprisingly intrigued by what he was seeing, Matt drove down and picked the bike and its spares up to bring back to Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Since it was sitting so long, it had collected a reasonable amount of dust and grime. It’s certainly not the filthiest bike ever, nor is it in particularly terrible condition—at least, on the outside. What about the inside?
Thankfully, that’s no nightmare, either. Before bringing it back, Matt said that he kicked it over a few times and was able to feel that it had some good compression. He waited to try and start it until he got it back to WTT, though—which is what this video is about. It’s obviously going to need a bath, that much is clear—but the most important question is, will it start?
After a few more checks, as well as adding some oil to a completely bone-dry tank and of course adding fresh fuel, it’s time to kick start the thing in earnest and see if it will fire up. Matt thinks there’s a good chance that it will, but the real proof is in the kicking. We won’t spoil the result for you—just watch, and as always, we’d recommend headphones for the full experience.