Panhead prices late 2023 if I was looking for a Pan

What to consider when buying a Panhead

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80Flh
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Panhead prices late 2023 if I was looking for a Pan

#1

Post by 80Flh »

Really enjoyed getting the 1980 Flh80 road worthy again and have about $6.5K into it keeping in mind at the end of Covid "lockdown" masks etc. I drove from Oregon to Michigan to get a complete full on Shovel Garbage Barge fairly unmolested 2 owner cycle. True duals, Super E, solid lifter inserts, Sifton Cobra Cam. Not much else had been changed.
I know that a Panhead in original condition is more than what is in my piggy bank at this time so if I wanted to save a bit more moolah a going price range for the 1948-65 pans and what to look for or how/where to search might keep me from doing something foolish. I have learned that "restoration" is a much overused word and it is ez to be taken advantage of hard earned cash.
One example nearby is $11K a 1961, but has shovelhead heads. Further away a 58 motor in a 52 frame went for asking of $16. Most of the completed auction prices for runners are $20K-$25 in that range. Minimum amount to get into a pan or pan project, sometimes I see different year motors in different frames and I believe those would not bring as much upon resale. Hoping that some of you guys who wanted to wrench on a Panhead could steer me in the right direction. Maybe even suggest that I have lost my mind or am forty years too late.
Thanks for any input you Pans can share. 80Flh
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Re: Panhead prices late 2023 if I was looking for a Pan

#2

Post by RooDog »

80Flh wrote: Tue Nov 14, 2023 2:59 pm Really enjoyed getting the 1980 Flh80 road worthy again and have about $6.5K into it keeping in mind at the end of Covid "lockdown" masks etc. I drove from Oregon to Michigan to get a complete full on Shovel Garbage Barge fairly unmolested 2 owner cycle. True duals, Super E, solid lifter inserts, Sifton Cobra Cam. Not much else had been changed.
I know that a Panhead in original condition is more than what is in my piggy bank at this time so if I wanted to save a bit more moolah a going price range for the 1948-65 pans and what to look for or how/where to search might keep me from doing something foolish. I have learned that "restoration" is a much overused word and it is ez to be taken advantage of hard earned cash.
One example nearby is $11K a 1961, but has shovelhead heads. Further away a 58 motor in a 52 frame went for asking of $16. Most of the completed auction prices for runners are $20K-$25 in that range. Minimum amount to get into a pan or pan project, sometimes I see different year motors in different frames and I believe those would not bring as much upon resale. Hoping that some of you guys who wanted to wrench on a Panhead could steer me in the right direction. Maybe even suggest that I have lost my mind or am forty years too late.
Thanks for any input you Pans can share. 80Flh
Buy the best you can find & afford (LOL, who can afford a Harley?). It's gonna cost you additional money to make it yours, but you will be more ahead of the game than if you buy junk thinking you can fix it up.... Just my opinion....RooDog....
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Re: Panhead prices late 2023 if I was looking for a Pan

#3

Post by Little Stan »

I agree. Most Pan's have a lot of rebuilt miles in them by now, cylinders bored to the max and valves that are sunk really deep into the seats. A friend of mine bought a set of heads only to discover cracks in the spark plug holes.
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Re: Panhead prices late 2023 if I was looking for a Pan

#4

Post by Andygears »

If I had 20 grand to go looking for a bargain, I think I would look for something from the early ‘60s. It seems they are slightly less than than the earlier ridgids and ‘55-‘59 prices only are surpassed by ‘65s. In order to save money, I would look for mismatched or aftermarket sheet metal, with the thinking that I could ride the bike until I found correct tins. Pristine motor and frame would be my main concern with of course original numbers and title. A kinda customized barn find, that could be started with a jump box would be ideal for about $10-$11 thousand would be great.

This is my musings and no liability intended. Opinion only.

Andygears
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Re: Panhead prices late 2023 if I was looking for a Pan

#5

Post by RooDog »

I have found it's best to have ready cash on hand, and know you can walk away from a deal if it's not going your way than to find some thing you just can't live without, and then have to try and find the money.
Right now I'm looking at an older build hot rod Ford, have the money, and Mama said it was OK, but I'm thinking, "Do I really need another set of wheels?" Perhaps I should thin the herd before adding another pony, eh?
....RooDog....
80Flh
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Re: Panhead prices late 2023 if I was looking for a Pan

#6

Post by 80Flh »

Thank you all for taking your time to provide the best wisdom from your experiences, it does help and all I have to go pricing wise on is what I see via Craigslist, auction sites, FB Marketplace, online searches. In no hurry at all but want to be prepared to have the $ on hand. A money pit Panhead . leaving me upside down, holding the bag, lol. I need to be able to walk away from. Just need some ball park numbers, what to avoid , what to go for and patience.
80Flh 8)
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Re: Panhead prices late 2023 if I was looking for a Pan

#7

Post by Chief3Kicks »

Indeed "restored" is a scary adjective and it makes me cringe. Unless you know the person who did it and their resume I'd pass unless its cheap. I looked at 58 semi-basket last year for $17k. Paint was done, chrome (beautiful) was done, wheels, seat, engine/trans rebuilt and in a rolling frame, basically most all the big ticket stuff. I'd say 85-90% complete as far as needed parts most of which were smaller items. I estimated $2000 more investment to finish. Had nice appeal because of the chrome and green/white paint combo. Based on quality of visible work done, one could have "assumed" the engine was done proper but my experience said pass as I could not hear it run. Maybe if it was $14k I'd have bit. Anyway another guy I know bought it, got it together tried to start it. He had to pull the engine and send it to a shop to be reworked as what was done was not right.
I'm no expert but do watch prices. From what I have seen you'll need to be in the $25k range for a decent machine unless you are patient, have connections, or get lucky. I know of a stunning show stopper 1950 tank shift for around $30k and if it goes to ebay it will likely sell for that.

When I was looking for my first antique bike (Indian) a guy on the AMCA forum told me the saying "Buy Once, Cry Once, The quality remains long after the price is forgotten". Words of wisdom.

There are variables. Some folks have a garage full of parts, friends with parts, shop equipment, and knowledge making a cheap bike with issues more lucrative but the farther one is from having all that, the more you want to pay up front and get a good unhacked bike where you won't be inheriting the sins of past owners....which can empty your wallet.

I bought a 16k original mile never been apart 64 FLH for $22.5k 3 years ago. Put another $1500 into it to get it road reliable.

But it all depends what you want, some are perfectly happy with a machine full of challenges where its not about money.

Patience is best and as mentioned most important do your homework ahead of time, have cash in hand and go with a trailer as if you do find a great deal it will be gone quickly sometimes within hours.
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Re: Panhead prices late 2023 if I was looking for a Pan

#8

Post by 1950Panhead »

Buy the best you can find & afford (LOL, who can afford a Harley?). It's gonna cost you additional money to make it yours, but you will be more ahead of the game than if you buy junk thinking you can fix it up.... Just my opinion....RooDog....
Good advice
I have found it's best to have ready cash on hand, and know you can walk away from a deal if it's not going your way than to find some thing you just can't live without, and then have to try and find the money.
Right now I'm looking at an older build hot rod Ford, have the money, and Mama said it was OK, but I'm thinking, "Do I really need another set of wheels?" Perhaps I should thin the herd before adding another pony, eh?
....RooDog....
More good advice
Thank you all for taking your time to provide the best wisdom from your experiences, it does help and all I have to go pricing wise on is what I see via Craigslist, auction sites, FB Marketplace, online searches. In no hurry at all but want to be prepared to have the $ on hand. A money pit Panhead . leaving me upside down, holding the bag, lol. I need to be able to walk away from. Just need some ball park numbers, what to avoid , what to go for and patience.
It depends on what you want, what skills you have, your bank account.

My story -
In 2003 one of my friends pulled in my driveway with a 46 Indian, never seen one before, asked if I wanted to try it, sure how does it work.
Started looking soon after, put an ad in paper (back when we had a paper) 1948 to 1957 panhead wanted (get Greg Fields panhead book).
Next day guy calls, I have a 1950 panhead all apart, come look.
Engine was apart, transmission was apart, bare frame, big pile of parts.
It was love at first sight, I'll take it, $5000.
Never had a Harley before, bought a parts book, every night after work I would look at the photos and sort parts into piles in my basement.
Six coffee cans of nuts and bolts, bike was apart 25 years, every part was there, every nut and bolt.
Projects still come up sale but not as often as 2003.
It depends what you want.

Image
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Re: Panhead prices late 2023 if I was looking for a Pan

#9

Post by BornRider »

Good things come to those who wait. Doesn't sound like you are in a hurry, eventually the right bike will come along.
At 64 years of age I got the Panhead bug, it took a year, but it happened for me and have no complaints.
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Re: Panhead prices late 2023 if I was looking for a Pan

#10

Post by flatheadDave »

I'd say $15-20k for a nice panhead in todays market.

Recently in the last 2 months. I saw in front of me a 1950 panhead with all its original frame and handshift tins repainted for $15k. It also came with an extra linkert and extra parts that included the front and rear original cabbage cutter bumpers!!! I balked and a friend bought it.

I've seen a 1969 complete roller for $10k a friend bought 2 weeks ago.

I was extremely lucky about 5 years ago. I saw a Craiglist add and bought a 1963 running panhead for $4500. I also bought a basket case 1942 ULH motor only for $1500 from the same guy. Hard to come by, but the best advice is to be patient. Some guys are waiting for the perfect year or birth year bike. My advice is if you see a pan for a good price, buy it no matter the year. You can always ride it and sell it in a few years when you find the perfect year you are looking for. I see crazy low prices on one once a year. It's better to find a pan with the correct heads etc. I have a feeling when the baby boomer generation starts to fade out, a lot of toys will be flooding the market.
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Re: Panhead prices late 2023 if I was looking for a Pan

#11

Post by FL54 »

What Flathead said.
Buddy just picked up (Saturday) a ‘65 in good running order with receipts for all engine work for $12,250. Owner had died unexpectedly and sister flew up to sell it. Good timing and good deal. They’re out there. Just have to be patient.
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Re: Panhead prices late 2023 if I was looking for a Pan

#12

Post by 80Flh »

Ok couple more questions I was looking at a 1961 Model FL instead of an FLH or FLE and wonder if the FLH is bringing more $ than the FL models or not a big deal when being patient as has been advised?
Does Vin 61FL followed by 4 digits sound correct as the title has a misprint of 61F1 followed by 4 digits? Additionally what cases #'s should I be concerned with and where to look for them; no vin stamped on frame is correct I believe during 1961? Tranny # if any. All help appreciated.
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Re: Panhead prices late 2023 if I was looking for a Pan

#13

Post by RUBONE »

80Flh wrote: Sat Nov 18, 2023 11:14 pm Ok couple more questions I was looking at a 1961 Model FL instead of an FLH or FLE and wonder if the FLH is bringing more $ than the FL models or not a big deal when being patient as has been advised?
Does Vin 61FL followed by 4 digits sound correct as the title has a misprint of 61F1 followed by 4 digits? Additionally what cases #'s should I be concerned with and where to look for them; no vin stamped on frame is correct I believe during 1961? Tranny # if any. All help appreciated.
Several things, no FLEs after '56 so forget that.
A '61 model year follows the odd/even rule so for an odd numbered year(61) the VIN can only start with odd numbers, such as 1,3,5,7,9,11...
So if it says 61FL and then starts with 2, 4, 6, 8, etc, just walk away. The belly numbers do not change that way so if a 61FL is 35XX and the belly number is 18XX that could be just fine although they should match on both sides, (they are hidden partially by the skid plate). An FLH isn't worth more, it is just the cam and pistons that differ, any equipment package could be had with either, and most FLs if they've been rebuilt are the same as FLH specs. Don't buy into the FLs were police bikes and hand shift only, either model could be had either way, civilian or police, hand or foot shift, plain or fancy.
As for value, there is no way to say without good, clear photos or a real life inspection. Lots of crap out there being touted as original and valuable when they are neither. A Panhead could bring 5K-50K depending on condition.
Robbie
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Re: Panhead prices late 2023 if I was looking for a Pan

#14

Post by Speeding Big Twin »

80Flh wrote: Sat Nov 18, 2023 11:14 pm Does Vin 61FL followed by 4 digits sound correct as the title has a misprint of 61F1 followed by 4 digits? Additionally what cases #'s should I be concerned with and where to look for them; no vin stamped on frame is correct I believe during 1961? Tranny # if any. All help appreciated.
As well as F, do you mean the letter L is stamped on the engine? And even if so, I’d like to see at least a partial photo of the SN because at the moment the title sounds like a problem.
SNs for 1961 Pans began at 1001 and my highest authentic-looking example at this stage is 99++. Because of the E-O code there should be no 1961 Pan SNs in the 10000 range but were there any in the 11000s? I do not know.
In the year portion of 1961 Pan SNs at least two 6s and at least two 1s were used and the type of 1 usually (always?) depended on the type of 6 that preceded it.
If the engine is stamped 61FL you may find a certain type of 7 stamped on top of each case near the rear mounting bolts. Photo? (If it was stamped 61FLH we’d expect Hs there instead of 7s.)

I agree no SN originally stamped on a 1961 Pan frame but it’s possible it may have an additional original component identifying number, aka security code, aka supplemental number, aka anti-theft number. It’s generally accepted the additional ID numbers began with 1962 models and that’s what I wrote on this forum in a thread I started in 2019. But at post #21 in that thread you’ll find mention of two original, very late 1961 Pans with additional frame ID starting with the letter A.
And at post #1 in that thread you’ll see a frame with A1+++. As I mentioned at the time, it’s interesting to note that the frame was made in April 1961. Initially I thought the frame may be a 1962 model because of the additional ID but could it have been used for a late-1961 model? I do not know. Ask the seller if he knows the date code on the frame.


https://www.hydra-glide.net/phpBB3/view ... hp?t=18752


Does the bike have a round-tube swingarm? For info about them here’s a link to a thread started by me in 2016.


https://www.hydra-glide.net/phpBB3/view ... hp?t=15801


As for the trans, underneath a 1961 model you may find casting number 121 35 but this casting number was used for a long time so also look for a casting date code which normally indicates the month and year the case was cast. Photo? There’s more info about trans case ID in another thread I started in 2016.
Eric


https://www.hydra-glide.net/phpBB3/view ... hp?t=15569
80Flh
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Re: Panhead prices late 2023 if I was looking for a Pan

#15

Post by 80Flh »

61FL7700
All good here not in a hurry whatever you guys can do to encourage and help me not to overpay and or waste $ chasing the wrong Panhead. Pretty happy with just seeing what is currently available when looking for a pan, what to look for, whtat to avoid maybe even help others. Have been advised anywhere $5-50K so far so good. :D
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