The Harley Davidson V4 prototype photos you saw here recently got me really curious. Just exactly what was the Motor Company planning to do with these new engines? Well, if you ask the right questions to people who would likely know, you begin to tease the story out a bit, and if true, this is just mind boggling. It seems Harley had some big ideas, and I know I would have given them a very serious look if they had shown up at my local dealer. Oh, what might have been!
Not just one bike, a whole family of V4s!
It seems much of the impetus was coming from Europe where the the big Harley cruisers were not selling so well and the marketing folks were getting restless. The result was Project Overlord, a whole family of BMW like bikes aimed primarily at the EU market. From what I could gather, there would have been a sport-tourer, a big and heavy adventure bike and a street fighter with performance somewhere in the range of the Suzuki B-King. A high performance Harley!
The project was begun during the tenure of James Ziemer, who was at the helm of Harley until 2009. Keith Wandell, who took over afterwards, evidently killed the project during the restructuring that included selling off MV Agusta and shutting down Buell. Remember, those were very rough economic times.
A lost opportunity, will it ever come again?
Can you imagine what this would have been like? An entire new family of Harley Davidson V4s? Of course, the bikes were aimed at Europe, but is there any doubt they would have made their way over to the USA? On the other hand, what would the current Motor Company customer think of the change? How many new customers would they have had walking in their doors? Questions we may never have answers for, but we can certainly dream, can't we? If the recession hadn't hit when it did, as hard as it did, there might have been an entirely different look to your local dealer. Wow, ...