Home / Timeline / ShovelHead – The Most Popular “Old School” Harley Engine

ShovelHead – The Most Popular “Old School” Harley Engine

The end of the panhead hails the introduction of the shovelhead

Harley-Davidson Shovelhead Engine1965 With the addition of an electric starter, the Duo Glide became the Electra Glide in 1965, which was also the last year of the “Panhead” engine. The “Shovelhead” engine took over the V-Twin mantle in 1966. 1966 production: 36,310 motorcycles. Several panhead owners upgraded their engines by simply swapping on the shovelhead cylinders and parts. The shovelhead flowed better and produced more power. These hybrids were nicknamed panshovels.



Joe Smith's World Record Holding Shovelhead1971 Joe Smith, riding a drag bike powered by a single Harley-Davidson motor, was the first to break the nine-second barrier in motorcycle drag racing. 1971 also marked the introduction of the Super Glide, considered the first true factory custom. For a rundown on Joe’s bike and what made it so fast, click on the the picture.

The financial strength and resources of AMF aided Harley-Davidson’s growth as it entered the 1970s. To meet the demands of an expanding market, the company moved its motorcycle assembly to York, Pennsylvania, in 1974, maintaining its engine manufacturing facility in Milwaukee. At the time of the merger with AMF, Harley-Davidson was producing 14,000 motorcycles per year. Beginning in 1969 and on into the 1970s, huge numbers of low-priced motorcycles were imported from Japan, dramatically reducing Harley-Davidson’s market share. The ferocious competition coupled with motorcycle quality problems, which surfaced as a result of the company’s rapidly expanding production, created major problems for Harley-Davidson.

1974 – 1975 To help meet the demand of a booming motorcycle marketplace, chassis manufacturing and final assembly operations moved to a plant in York, Pa. Engine and transmission operations remained in Milwaukee, along with the corporate headquarters. 1975 production: 75,403 motorcycles.

1980 The 80 cu in FLT Tour Glide, with five-speed transmission, oil bath enclosed rear chain and a vibration isolated engine, inherited the title of “King of the Highway” and was the predecessor to today’s Harley-Davidson touring motorcycles.

1980 Harley-Davidson FLT1980 FLT




One comment

  1. Was shovelhead truly 100% american made engine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *