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Harley-Davidson Museum Opens Captain America: The First Avenger

The Harley-Davidson Museum presents Captain America: The First Avenger.

To celebrate the collaboration between the Harley-Davidson Motor Company and Marvel Studios, the Museum will display one of the five bikes created for the film. The display will also include items from the movie, including a Captain America leather “rescue jacket,” signature ‘A’ helmet, and a USO shield.

About the Bikes
In 2010, Harley-Davidson and Marvel Studios started their collaboration and agreed to have Harley-Davidson supply five motorcycles for the Captain America film, which traces Captain America’s origins as a World War II era superhero who rode a military motorcycle as a means of transportation.

Salvaggio Automotive Design of Port Washington modified the current day Cross Bones model to look like an original 1942 WLA Army motorcycle. Harley-Davidson produced close to 70,000 WLA motorcycles during World War II, some of which went to Russia and the UK as part of Lend-Lease.

Many existing parts of the motorcycle were retained for performance, or simply because of their vintage appearance. Other parts were recreated to make the bikes look as authentic to WWII as possible. For example, an ammunition box and leather gun scabbard were added. Other details unique to a WLA military bike were matched exactly, such as the dashboard assembly and tail lights. The paint was matched to the 1942 olive drab and a white star was placed on the gas tank as a finishing touch. Marvel Studios added a flamethrower and machine gun assembly, true to the original Marvel comic book.

The bikes had to perform like modern day motorcycles because of the film’s demanding stunts, so all of the benefits of Harley-Davidson modern engineering were retained. The result was the best of both worlds, a production Harley-Davidson that looked like a World War II army motorcycle.

Three bikes were used in the film for riding and stunts, and two were reserved for a scene in which Captain America lifts a motorcycle over his head at a USO appearance. All five bikes were completed by September 2010 in time for shooting in London. Two of the bikes will become part of the Harley-Davidson Museum’s permanent collection.

Image: Harley-Davidson Museum

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