The WLA is a model of Harley-Davidsonmotorcycle that was produced to US Army specifications in the years during and around World War II. It was based on an existing civilian model, the WL, and is of the 45 solo type, so called due to its engine and single-rider design. The same engine, in a slightly lower state of tune, also powered the three-wheeled Servi-Car (the "G" family), leading to the "solo" distinction.
The model number breaks down as follows:
W : the W family of motorcycles. Harley Davidson (except in very early models) gives a letter designation for each model family. The W series at the time was the newest incarnation of the flathead motor, and was developed from the earlier R family 1932–1936.
L : "high compression", in the usual HD scheme. The "low compression" W model was only briefly available.
A : Army. The company would also produce a model to the slightly different specifications of the Canadian Army, which would be named the WLC. The WLCs differed from WLAs chiefly in the use of some heavier components, usually Big Twin parts, as well as Canadian blackout lighting.
Harley-Davidson began producing the WLA in small numbers in 1940, as part of a general military expansion. The later entry of the United States into World War II saw significantly increased production, with over 90,000 being produced during the war (along with spare parts the equivalent of many more).... Read More