It’s believed to be number 1 of fewer than 500 MT500 Military Motorcycles built by Harley-Davidson. It never got started and with 0 mile it is just as it came from the factory shipping crate. It is auctioned this weekend at the Bonhams Las Vegas auction with an estimated value of $20,000. While Harley isn’t very forthcoming with details about the military bike project, Bonhams gives some info. In their words.
“Harley is not adverse to gathering smaller brands under the H-D corporate umbrella. Witness Aermacchi in the 60s and ’70s, or more recently MV Agusta, and on the home front there was Buell. The MT’s path to Milwaukee was more than a little convoluted, starting in the early 1980s when Italian outfit SWM produced an army bike using the Austrian-built Rotax single for power.
Simple and sturdy, the air-cooled Rotax, made in displacements ranging from 350 to 600cc, was well known to dirt bike riders, used in KTMs, ATKs, CCMs and Can-Ams, among others. When SWM faltered financially, UK firm Armstrong-CCM stepped in, already familiar with the engine and desirous of the British Army contact for military bikes. Harley enters the picture in the late ’80s, not only to explore the military market but also wanting ‘home ownership’ of the Rotax engine, at that time used in the factory race team’s short-trackers and TT bikes. The U.S. military’s requirement that diesel be the common battlefield fuel brought production to an end. This 1999 model, equipped with plastic gun case and front-mounted ammo panniers, was uncrated by a previous owner and has remained unridden in the Carter Collection’s car”