Eric Mathieu live in the South-East of France "la Côte d'Azur", works in the maintenance of boats, and since years restore old Harley Davidson. He even created a website about his knowledge of pre-war Harley and Indians... a true reference: "Beauty of speed".
Here's his latest work.
This 1938 Knucklehead came from the son of the oldest Harley Dealer in France, Michel Borie, his father was Pierre Borie. Michel Borie took over the dealership from his father and had a shop in the Paris area. He had the engine displayed at his shop.
I was trying to buy the engine for years like many other people but he would not want to hear anything about it. A good friend of mine who had know known his father very well was approached by Michel towards the end of his life, when he was selling his dealership to a larger dealer and was sick. He said that he had the complete bike from his father and that he had been keeping it for himself to restore. Now he had lost interest and was willing to let it go.
Nobody knew that the displayed engine was just one piece of the treasure. I was able to buy it with my friend and discover the rest of the bike. What we found was an amazingly correct and well preserved pile of parts that all matched in correctness for 1938 and in original condition. It was obvious that this was one bike and everything indicated it was an original "export model" imported and sold new in France. I was able to make a deal with my friend and make the project my main parts hunt and workshop focus for the next 4 years.
When working on the bike I found the initials from Pierre Borie "PB" stamped on the inside of the cases and painted on some of the wooden boxes where the parts were stored. I suspect that the bike was taken apart sometime in the 1940 or 1950s and thus survived the "chopper years". The engine was in need of major rebuild with very used and broken internals which may explain why the bike was taken apart. It took me 4 years to find the parts that had got lost along the way and get the bike the way it is now. I like to rebuild everything myself on my bikes, down to the last nut and bolt, which is how I was able to obtain a bike in original cosmetic condition but completely mechanically restored. I spent so many hours on this motorcycle bringing it back to life, now it's time to ride!