In the early 1970s, funding dollars were tight, so Willie G. Davidson and his design team mated the chassis of a larger touring bike with that of the lighter, more manageable front end of the Sportster.
The result was the 1971 introduction of the “Sparkling America” motorcycle which featured red, white and blue paint and a unique “boat-tail” rear fender — all trademarks that say circa: “1970s”.
It was also around the same timeframe when Elvis and Priscilla Presley split up. They drew up a property settlement agreement to outline what she would receive from the divorce. The 12-page document shows that Elvis signed over ownership of three of his prized possessions – a 1971 Mercedes-Benz car, a 1969 Cadillac El Dorado and a 1971 Harley Davidson motorcycle along with $100,000 in cash. The property settlement agreement, dated August 15, 1972, clearly indicates that Priscilla who had originally agreed to the cash settlement that was 7.5 times less than the amount that she finally received in the end (good lawyer!).
The original divorce papers, were sold last night by an unnamed private owner after having them for 20 years, at an auction in Texas for nearly $9,000.
I can’t help but wonder what happened to ’71 motorcycle? Was it an original ‘71 FX? I don’t know and there is very little information about the motorcycle or what happened to it. I’ve been unable to find any public photo’s of Elvis with that model motorcycle. If you have any information on its whereabouts I’d like to hear from you.
The original 1971 FXs were hard to find. Many owners back in the day didn’t like the “boat-tail” and replaced it with a more traditional bobbed rear fender. According to various reports Elvis owned at least three Harley-Davidson motorcycles, but was photographed on at least 10 different bikes. His first was purchased in 1956, a week after turning 21 years old and just days after recording “Heartbreak Hotel” which launched him into superstardom. That motorcycle was a ’56 KH and was sold to Harley-Davidson by Elvis’ friend, Fleming Horne in 1995 for an undisclosed amount, complete with documentation and is now part of the H-D museum collection.
In a bit of trivia…Elvis rode a number of Harley’s in various films. From my vantage the more notable were “Roustabout” (1964), “Viva Las Vegas” (1964), “Clambake” (1967) and “Stay Away Joe” (1968).
Photo courtesy of H-D, and Dailymail