Determine If A 1961 Harley Davidson Is A Police Bike

Harley Davidson pioneered the V-Twin style motorcycle engine in 1909.

Vintage Harley Davidson motorcycles are fantastic to ride and beautiful to look at, even in police black-and-white. In 1961, Harley Davidson motorcycles were the bike of choice for police departments all over the world. Harley Davidson Panhead bikes had been seen in police applications as far away as Korea in the early 1960s. A 1961 Harley that was once a police bike would make an interesting addition to any collector’s arsenal and potentially be worth a lot of money.


1. Inspect your 1961 Harley Davidson motorcycle and see if there are any obvious signs that it was once a police vehicle. This could be anything from insignias on the body or wheel wells to colored lights on either side of the main headlight or on the back of the bike.

2. Compare your motorcycle to photographs of other 1961 Harley Davidson motorcycles that were police bikes. Compare the features common in the police bikes to those on your motorcycle to find similarities. This can be tricky, as the body styles for motorcycles made in 1961 by Harley Davidson were very similar, whether they were police bikes or not. Many police motorcycles in 1961 were either panhead or trike style.

3. Search your motorcycle’s VIN in vehicle history databases to see if you can determine the line of ownership. If it was a police motorcycle, a state police department or other government body would be listed as a previous owner. Vehicle history reports can be found online through services such as Carfax or AutoCheck.