OK, so I admit I am in a deep love affair with rare Harley Two-Cam engines. And this ex-Tom Sifton FHAC racer is about as cool as a classic Harley Two Cam gets. Here are some close up photos of this rare and wonderful motorcycle, which is on display at Motorcyclopedia Museum in Newburgh, NY. Tom Sifton was a factory supported racer who later became famous for his high performance components for Harley-Davidsons.
There are several things you might want to check out on the frame of this Tom Sifton Two Cam FH. One is the Keystone plates that attach the engine to the bottom of the frame. These plates make the frame more rigid, allow quicker engine swaps and lower the engine to improve the handling. Another is the “three bar” design at the rear section to reinforce the frame’s strength and rigidity aft of what is typically the seat post. Because the ignition is a Bosch magneto there is no need for either a generator or battery. So no battery box where the third bar connects. And a third feature to check out is the double reinforced backbone under the shorter race-style gas tanks.
The engine is a higher performance FH “Two Cam” design. You can identify a Two Cam by the peanut looking cam chest design and the lifter blocks cast into the cases.
Notice the sprocket in a sprocket design Tom Sifton used on the rear wheel? Hillclimbers need plenty of off-the-line power, but less top end speed, so the bigger the sprocket the better. The chain on the rear tire is for better grip in the dirt. The clutch and primary chain is exposed as it was probably raced.
Tom Sifton’s first job in the motorcycle industry was at Dud Perkins Harley-Davidson in San Francisco. Sifton began racing in the mid 1920s and became one of the top hillclimb racers on the West Coast. By 1929, the hard-working Tom Sifton was given the chance to run a subsidiary dealership for Perkins and in 1933 he opened his own Sifton’s Harley-Davidson in San Jose.