MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — A vintage Harley-Davidson shipped off for World War I has returned to the United States to be on display for a few days in Alabama.
Al.com reports the 1918 Harley-Davidson model J with sidecar was among 20,000 motorcycles that Harley-Davidson built for the American Expeditionary Force that fought in Europe, according to the Alabama State Port Authority and the GulfQuest National Museum of the Gulf Coast.
The bike was shipped out of Port Saint Nazaire in May and arrived this week at the Port of Mobile. It will be on display throughout the weekend at GulfQuest.
"This is the first time the motorcycle has rolled on U.S. soil since its export to France 100 years ago," said Jimmy Lyons, director and chief executive officer for the Port Authority.
French citizen Christophe de Goulaine found and purchased the bike about 10 years ago and had it restored by a friend, Pierre Lauvergeat. The owner will take the bike on a cross-country journey. On Monday, de Goulaine and Lauvergeat will roll out for Jacksonville, Florida. Planned stops after that include a visit to Harley-Davidson headquarters in Milwaukee.
Both men plan to cover 5,600 miles on the motorcycle without any "special technical assistance."
"We thought it was a rare opportunity for us to showcase a piece of military history that transited seaports 100 years ago, assisted the war effort, and found its way back home through the Port of Mobile," said Brent Beall, GulfQuest's interim executive director.
The Model J production began in 1915 and continued well after the war, when it evolved into a premium civilian model, according to the National Motorcycle Museum. If featured a three-speed transmission and various versions of V-twin engines making up to 18 horsepower.
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