1948 Harley Panhead Description, Price & Production Data

The Harley-Davidson Panhead, Harley’s second generation production OHV motorcycle, was manufactured and sold from 1948 through 1965 production years. 

Classic 1948 Harley Panhead Motorcycle

1948 Harley Panhead - Buzz Kanter's "Crustoration"

Here is some basic information on the 1948 Harley Panhead models and quantities.

1948 Production Year

48-E Sport Solo: 61 cubic inch, medium-compression, OHV V-twin with four-speed transmission. Retail price $635. Unknown motorcycle production. 

48-EL Special Sport Solo: 61 cubic inch, high-compression, OHV V-twin with four-speed transmission. Retail price $635. 4,321 motorcycle production.

48-ES Sidecar Twin: 61 cubic inch, medium-compression, OHV V-twin with four-speed transmission and sidecar gearing. Retail price $635. 198 motorcycle production.

48-F Sport Solo: 74 cubic inch, medium-compression, OHV V-twin with four-speed transmission. Retail price $650. Unknown motorcycle production. 

48-FL Special Sport Solo: 74 cubic inch, high-compression, OHV V-twin with four-speed transmission. Retail price $650. 8,071 motorcycle production.

48-FS Sidecar Twin: 74 cubic inch, medium-compression, OHV V-twin with four-speed transmission and sidecar gearing. Retail price $650. 334 motorcycle production

1948 Harley Paint Color Options

Brilliant Black

Flight Red

Azure Blue

Police Silver (police only).

1948 Harley E & F Model First or Only Year Items

The series E and F Big Twin Harley OHV Big Twins were updated with the new 1948 Panhead OHV motor – which was basically the previous year Knucklehead lower end with a new top end featuring hydraulic valve lifters and aluminum cylinder heads and a new frame.

Revised crankcases and cylinders feed oil internally to the heads and return it internally to the cases.

Cylinders have a lip on top of the barrel fitting into a recess in the head.

Seperate steel inlet nipples that thread into the intake ports.

One-piece rockers and shafts, pivoting inside a split bearing.

Rocker covers made of chrome-plated steel (only in 1948) that fully enclose the rockers and valves.

Aluminum tappet guides.

Wishbone style frame with front downtubes “dog-leg” to each side with no horn-mounting blocks on the frame.

Redesigned standard front safety guards for the new frame.

Stewart-Warner speedometer with edge lighted dial. The mileage numerals are screened in Cream-Ivory on the underside of the edge-lighted face. Greenish-Gray metal ring provides the background for the numerals, and the lower center section has mileage hash marks around its edge and contains the odometer and trip-meter. The speed pointer is red.

Optional Deluxe solo saddle.

All enameled parts are “Bonderized” before being painted.

Wiring terminal box was added below the seat.

Optional tank mounted oil filter.

Muffler painted with a special high-temperature Black paint (only early in the production year).

Exhaust pipes were painted with a special hhigh temperature Black paint (only early in the year) and painted Silver later in the year.”Winged face” style horn.

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8 Responses to 1948 Harley Panhead Description, Price & Production Data

  1. Craig Hammond says:

    I just wanted to say, very nice job on your homework concerning the 1948 Panhead. I have #1580 of that year and i’ll never part with her. It’s chopped with a ’70′s look but with modern performance parts. Once again, nice job !!

    Craig H.

  2. Bob Bennett says:

    I have a question about a 48 FL frame, does it have a spark control coil tab on the left front down tube? Where is it located on the frame and what does look like? Could you please send a picture if possible. Thanks for your help. Bob

  3. Steve says:

    Looking to sell my 48 hd four speed trans and primary case covers. Anyone know where to find out what they are worth? Everything is in really good condition.

    • Dale Kerr says:

      Hello steve not sure if your still looking for some parts for your bike but maybe I can help with that.Let me know if your still looking for the parts and I will help you with that okay.Email me,also wanted to know if you plan to sell that purdy 48 Panhead you have,thanks buddy…

  4. Loren Westman says:

    I bought a 48 FL with only a few thousand miles from a guy for $250. He bought it new and had it sittin by his gas station. I broke it down and put it in the trunk of my 63 tempest convertable that was converted to a V8 and moved to Arizona with my wife and 2 kids, ran out of money and sold it for $250. Almost 64 now and will probly be kickin myself the rest of my life. Also bought a 63 vett in Kingman off a carlot for $750. It didn’t have any air cleaners on the 2 4s when I got caught in a sandstorm and it smoked perty bad after that so I traded it for a 57 chev 2 door sedan. Them sure were the good old days!!!! I put a 57 chev rear end in the 63 also and probly only got a few hundred for it.

  5. Steve Heth says:

    I have my dads Flight Red 48 el. He bought it new when he was a junior in high school. I think he paid about $850, I’ll have to check. Had buddy seat and bags and stuff. Never restored but did overhaul engine in about 1985, The back cylinder ran to hot and it took some oil on a trip to Sturgis in 1961, It was loaded with camping gear (canvas tents and heavy junk) and two up in 104 degrees.Haven’t run much since the overhaul. I road it in front of the hearse when we buried him 2 years ago. Runs like new. Never painted. Never changed or modified. Still have original bags, seat, and all paper work from when it was bought, About 16000 miles. I’ll pass it on to one of my boys. I have other bikes but this one will always have center stage out in the garage even if it is old and looks a little rough compared to this new stuff. Love it.

  6. Jim says:

    building my first vintage bike 48 pan …using a 59 ridge frame …should have enough pieces to put together almost a complete bike …will be looking for parts along the way I’m sure …looking for any advice …places to buy parts new / used …etc.
    thanks !
    Jim