Harley-Davidson – The Harley-Davidson WLA & WLC series motorcycles that has been produced to Army specifications in the years during and around World War II.
It was based on an existing civilian model, the WL, and is of the 45 solo type, so called due to its 45-cubic-inch (740 cm3) engine displacement and single-rider design.
The same engine, in a slightly lower state of tune, also powered the three-wheeled Servi-Car (the “G” family), leading to the “solo” distinction.
The model number breaks down as follows:
W : the W family of motorcycles. Harley-Davidson (except in very early models) gives a letter designation for each model family. The W series at the time was the newest incarnation of the 45-cubic-inch (740 cm3) flathead motor, and was developed from the earlier R family 1932–1936.
L : “high compression”, in the usual HD scheme. The “low compression” W model was only briefly available.
A : Army. The company would also produce a model to the slightly different specifications of the Canadian Army, which would be named the WLC. The WLCs differed from WLAs chiefly in the use of some heavier components, usually Big Twin parts, as well as Canadian blackout lighting.