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When Harley built sports bikes

Almost impossible to believe now, but Harley Davidson was once a sports bike marque. As well as board track racers such as this they entered the Italian road races including the Targa Florio and Milano-Taranto, with a racing department known as the Wrecking Crew. By 1920 Harley-Davidson was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, with 28,189 machines produced, and dealers in 67 countries. From that year a team of pig farm boys, who became known as the “hog boys”, consistently won races on their Harleys, with a live pig/hog as their mascot. Following a win, they would put the hog on a bike and ride a victory lap. In 1983, the Harley Davidson Motor Company formed an official owners’ club, turning the “hog” nickname into the acronym HOG - the Harley Owners Group. Harley tied to trademark hog, but lost a case against an independent Harley-Davidson specialist, The Hog Farm of West Seneca, New York, in 1999. the appellate panel ruled that “hog” had become a generic term for large motorcycles and was therefore unprotectable as a trademark. Really? Try calling someone’s Ducati a hog and see what happens next…


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