It to be arguably the worst period in Harley-Davidson’s history. Decades later, the “AMF years” in between 1969 and 1981 room remembered not-so-fondly by many of the brand’s loyalists together a time when build quality and reliability deteriorated. Buy the new, solve it automatically was

the regimen for Harley-Davidson customers, especially in the mid-1970s.

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Just together Detroit automakers were transforming out junkers throughout that time, and getting overwhelmed by vastly superior products from Japan, so to be Harley-Davidson. Ns didn’t ride back then however was into cars. I traded a mushy, low-mileage 1978 Chevrolet Camaro v uneven body parts that I had actually purchased new only a year earlier for a sturdier 1979 Honda Accord hatchback with outstanding fit and also finish the handled and performed much better.

The initials AMF stood for American maker and Foundry. If AMF’s arrival did conserve Harley-Davidson from likely bankruptcy, its expertise in production bowling equipment, Roadmaster bicycles, Head snow skis and tennis racquets, and also Ben Hogan golf clubs didn’t interpret into motorcycles. Unstable management, production streamlining and labor troubles – layoffs and also strikes – caused lower-quality bikes that virtually destroyed Harley-Davidson.

These days, it’s common to watch old ‘70s-era Japanese bikes indigenous Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha the end on the road. AMF Harleys are far less prevalent. Consequently, when I came upon two old AMF models with each other in the same place last month, I had to fulfill the owners, grab part pics and gather call numbers.

Dave Perugini the Naugatuck, CT

Dave Perugini of Naugatuck was riding a 1977 FX at sight Glide that had actually been modified into an FLH (different fenders and gas tank), while Brian climbed of Goshen was on a 1979 FXE super Glide. Both room blue in color, both are powered by a “Shovelhead” motor and both are appreciated by your owners.

Perugini got his provided in 1979. A friend had actually passed away and he bought it from the guy’s mother. Over the years, he is owned 4 Shovelheads. “Every one i bought ns paid no more than $2,500. Among them I carried home in a wheel barrow,” the said.

His very first bike at period 16 may have been a Honda CL350, however it’s the Shovelhead that he’s revered because that decades. “I as with the sound. They have actually a various sound 보다 the advancement motor,” Perugini said.


The Shovelhead motor was a V-twin supplied by Harley-Davidson indigenous 1966 to 1985. Between 1966 and 1978, it had a displacement that 1,208cc/74 cubic inches. In 1978, a 1,340cc/82 cubic customs Shovelhead variation was introduced, with the smaller sized engine proceeding to be available as well v 1981.The successor Evolution motor (or “Evo”) was introduced in 1984 and also had 1,340cc, too. The lasted till 2000.

Perugini is well aware of Harley-Davidon’s reputation during the AMF years, however said, “I’ve never had any kind of problems v the AMFs the I’ve had. They’re pretty reliable. No as much as the Evo.”

Brian increased of Goshen, CT

Rose speak the exact same story the the bike that bought brand-new in February 1979. “It has treated me fine. It’s been pretty much trouble-free; yes, really haven’t had a difficulty with it,” the said, back frozen lifters had to be sorted the end early-on. A top-end rebuild was likewise necessary 5 years ago.

Rose has taken his FXE (the “E” refers to electrical start, an advancement on the kickstarter on Perugini’s bike) come Laconia Motorcycle main in new Hampshire a dozen times over the years and also has placed 32,359 miles on it.


“It’s comfortable. Girlfriend fit right on it. It handle great. I wouldn’t take it it on the highway now. It’s not a good highway bike,” that said. And also he has actually no interest in parting v it. “I’ll probably end up riding the ’til i’m gone. I’m not going to worry around it too much after that.”

Perugini claimed he once taken into consideration getting rid of his Shovelhead – back in 2000. “I was gaining ready to offer it,” the said, recalling that he then chose to execute a full restoration “right under to the frame. As we were working on it, normally you fall in love v it.”

That caused a vow that if that rode it much more than once a month upon completion, he’d store it. That did. The bike to be painted in evade Challenger “jazz blue” through a star ~ above the gas tank. “It’s obtained a metallic in the so the kinda sparkles. The north Star is what that replicating. Ns a Catholic and I wanted something similar to the cross,” he said.

Perugini has actually only ridden it double this season. “I turned the end to be a fair weather rider. I supplied to journey in every sorts that weather,” he said. “Now if it’s as well windy or too hot…”

He may keep the as long as he is kicking, too, due to the fact that of his wife, Beth. “I more than likely would have sold it 4 years ago, yet my mam really likes it. She won’t let me offer it,” the said.

After meeting Perugini and also Rose, and after this column showed up in the “Republican-American” news, ns received an e-mail from Richard Morrison of new Hartford, CT. He own a 1976 FXE supervisor Glide, an additional AMF throwback the he bought new.

Richard Morrison’s 1976 FXE at sight Glide

“I have actually owned the bike ever since and still enjoy riding it, although no as regularly as I supplied to. The engine has actually never been apart and the cycle in basic has never necessary any major repairs. I have dressed that up and hand constructed a variety of components, such as the tradition forward controls, yet in basic it remains reasonably stock including the tank which was changed on 99% that the early Super Glides since it didn’t right the Harley image,” the wrote.

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AMF’s manage of Harley-Davidson finished in 1981 when senior Harley-Davidson executives to buy the company, finishing years of worse machines. Had AMF not stepped up, though, the brand that proceeds to this particular day – having been started in 1903 – might not exist.

Dave Perugini and also Brian Rose

(A shorter version the this column was originally published in the “Republican-American” on July 30, 2016.)