Back in WW2 Bill Peck was a motorbike mechanic on the shores of North Africa, using a tarp for weather protection, and a gas can for his work bench, and the experience left a large imprint on him, and a couple years ago he was asked by a service provider what he wanted for his birthday. He replied a photo with a HD WLA.
And this year a reunion was arranged thanks to the owner of the nearby HD dealership, Don Huffman the retired former owner of Lakeland HD has this one and was way cool to help out a fellow vet.
"I have seen each part on this thing," Peck said, like the leather scabbard, the blackout headlight and the 45-cubic-inch twin cylinder "high compression" motor that would run on 74-octane gas.
"We have repair manuals if you want to go to work," Huffman joked.
"I don't need them," Peck responded.
Peck enlisted in 1940 and became a motorcycle mechanic since he had owned one. He said he preferred working on the bikes to trucks and Jeeps.
Since the war, he had a chance to ride "civilianized" WLAs twice, he said, but hadn't seen one in military trim since 1944.
Peck, a sergeant in the 1st Armored Division, and his two crewmen, were responsible for maintaining 32 of the machines.
Early in the distribution of the motorcycles Peck discovered a flaw, he said: moisture would get trapped in the carburetor after the bikes were washed. He came up with a fix that was later replicated in production.