Happy Birtday Harley!
Celebrating hard: The 120th birthday of the iconic brand is on!
What a great history! In 2023 Harley-Davidson is celebrating its 120th anniversary – and we are happy to be a part of the party! This feature will give you an not complete, yet never researched insight into the history of the company’s “round” anniversaries: every five years to the respective anniversary we take a look at the current events around Harley-Davidson.
This journey through time has been summarized for us by none other than Horst Rösler, who will supporting our marketing team this year! We are very happy about this cooperation, because Horst is not only an excellent photographer and book author, but also a walking encyclopedia when it comes to the history of the Harley and biker scene in context with world events of the particular period. Thanks to his support, in the future we will report here regularly about topics, events and that have inspired and advanced the scene.
One of the earliest references of a “round” Harley-Davidson anniversary can be found in the “Enthusiast” of August 1928: Under the headline “Harley-Davidson is 25 Years Old”, the models of the new model year are presented in “The Harley-Davidson Big Parade for ’29”. 25 years was a proud date after a period of pioneer era manufacturers closing down in that period. It was not until another 25 years later – with the 1954 model year, which started in August 1953 – that the motorcycles were given a special metal badge on the front fender, designed especially for the occasion.
The birthdays – now celebrated in 5-year intervals – are a result of Harley’s recent history: when it was discovered that a lot of money could not be made from the motorcycles alone. But there is more to it than that: The birthdays not only bring the brand back into the media and social media again and again, they bring the owners of the motorcycles together – on ever new trips, tours and adventures…
Harley-Davidson - The History
What always plays an important role in the history of Harley-Davidson: The "timing" of the individual dates! Every 5 years, Harley-Davidson birthdays are celebrated internationally - and in Milwaukee, established 1903 birthplace of the brand. Here's a look back at past events and the company's 120th anniversary celebrations in Budapest/Hungary.
Text: Horst Rösler
Photos: Motographer, Harley-Davidson Archive, Motographer Archive Scans