Motorcycles | 30 January 2018Elvis Presley: The Ultimate Harley-Davidson Enthusiast Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Of course Elvis was a Harley man. The first one he bought in 1955 was on a $47 per month payment plan. Soon he would be able to buy just about any vehicle he wanted with cash. Many more Harley-Davidsons would follow the humble S-Series 165cc two-stroke he began with, and it was reported that riding the open road on an H-D was one of the great joys in his life. From The Life Harley-Davidson are some of the details on Elvis’ love affair with Milwaukee’s finest. ELVIS PRESLEY: THE ULTIMATE ENTHUSIAST Even as a boy, Elvis Presley loved motorcycles, but his parents were so poor that they couldn’t afford to buy him a bicycle, much less a motorcycle. On January 8, 1946, they did manage to scrape together $12.95 to buy Elvis his first guitar, a device Elvis’s mother, Gladys, deemed safer than a bicycle or, God forbid, a motorcycle. Although the 11-year-old would have much preferred a motorcycle, that $12.95 turned out to be money well spent; in 1955, Elvis parlayed that investment into enough money to buy the motorcycle he really wanted: an S-series Harley with a 165cc two-stroke engine. The music thing seemed to be working out for young Elvis. On November 20, 1955, he signed a contract with RCA Records, enabling him to upgrade to Harley’s newest model in January 1956: a Pepper-Red-and-White Model KH from Memphis, Tennessee, dealer Tommy Taylor. Elvis paid $903.19, including the trade-in amount from his S-series Harley. Even though Elvis was earning enough to make ends meet from his music, he still had to make payments of $47 a month on his new bike. The full list price for the KH was $925 plus $75.75 for the Deluxe Group option package. The buddy seat cost an additional $18, plus $15.25 for the windshield. The grand total for the motorcycle was $1,034, meaning his trade-in was worth about $110. This marked the last time in his life that Elvis had to pinch pennies. Before the year ended, he had enough money to buy a top-of-the-line Harley-Davidson FL, a bike that would be followed by many, many more Harleys over the years. This time, he didn’t have to trade in his old bike and make payments on an installment plan. Instead, he gave the KH to his riding buddy, Flemming Horn as a gift, but not before appearing aboard it on the cover of the May 1956 issue of The Enthusiast, Harley-Davidson’s official magazine. Elvis had wanted a motorcycle longer than he’d wanted to be a pop star, and he remained an avid motorcyclist until his untimely death, though in later years his deteriorating physical condition confined him to three wheels rather than two. As he became more isolated by his fame, his Harleys provided a much-needed escape. Elvis loved nothing more than to get away from the insanity of life as a superstar aboard his motorcycles, exchanging the fawning praise of sycophants and business partners for the life Harley-Davidson, hitting the open road where he could feel the wind in his famous pompadour. When his fame grew so great that he was unable to ride in broad daylight without causing traffic accidents, he would go riding at night, escaping under the cover of darkness. Buy From an Online Retailer If you’ve felt the unabashed freedom that comes with a motorcycle, then you know the Harley lifestyle. The Life Harley-Davidson takes a deep look at all aspect of the life that comes with these bikes. From the moment we first saw riders experiencing the joy and the freedom that can only be found riding a powerful motorcycle down an open road, many of us have been hooked on the life Harley-Davidson. The Life Harley-Davidson celebrates that freedom. The Life Harley-Davidson covers all aspects of the Harley lifestyle, profiling celebrity Harley fans like Elvis Presley, Hunter S. Thompson, Peter Fonda, and Arnold Schwartzenegger. All the iconic machines are here, too, like the Sportster, Electra Glide, and Fat Boy. The book also explores all the major types of custom Harleys, like Bobbers, Choppers, and Cafe racers. This is about more than just motorcycles, though. It’s about community, gear, and tattoos. It’s about B movies, like The Wild One, The Wild Angels, and Wild Hogs. And, of course, television’s Sons of Anarchy, a program that ignited interest in the life Harley-Davidson among a younger generation of rebels. Chapters cover the one percenter outlaw club scene, focusing on international clubs like the Hells Angels, Outlaws, Pagans, and Dragons. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.