|The outrageous Liberator Fairing. Elvis had one.|
|It stands out in a crowd. It is rare. You are lucky to find one.|
Elvis' Liberator at Graceland
|I had helped Elvis get his start when I bought my copy of Heartbreak Hotel in 1957. He returned the favor by buying a Liberator in 1976.|
|The Liberator began when I made a call to Harley-Davidson in 1973. "Would they like a big, frame mounted fairing for the FLH?" The answer was yes and a "Fit-up" bike was made available. |
I had the name all along. The "Liberator" was the plane my daddy was crew chief on in WW II. I loved that airplane.
|1973: designing the Liberator|
|I got my "designers clay" out - the same clay I had used to make the Windjammer three years before - and began shaping what I hoped would be a great fairing for Harley|
My dad's B-24 Liberator bomber, 1944
Getting all those Harley lights in there was a challenge. I hoped to be able to put a clear, rounded cover over the front, but the laws at that time would not allow it
I liked the idea of making a big bomber of a fairing
|Charly Perethian grins after his test drive on the first Liberator. We wanted this fairing to offer the most touring protection possible. After all, the FLH was the definitive cross - country cruiser of America, right? Inside were two enormous side storage compartments. Outside, the Liberator lit up like a Christmas tree. |
Elvis understood he would be noticed with his Liberator.
Jan 1974: The moment of truth. Willie G. takes a look.
Tony Salsbury and Jim Miller from Vetter hold their breath.
Dave Caruso accepts production for Harley-Davidson
Derek Rickman, visiting from England, and Tony Salsbury inspect shipments to Harley
1976: an official Harley-Davidson product
It was actually advertised on TV!
Jan 26, 1977: The end of the Liberator Fairing
|Sometime around midnight, a heater too close to stacks of boxes of finished Liberators and Windjammers, caught them on fire. We lost two buildings, including the molds for the Liberator Fairing and the Hondaline fairing we were going to make. |
That was the end of the Liberator
An original, unused Liberator fairing is part of the Vetter Collection at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, Pickerington, Ohio.
We thank Otto Le'Blanc, owner of Liberator #L2712, for these pics of the location of the Liberator serial number plate.
Currently, I own the lowest known number: L1456
Vic Marshall has #L1830, L4020 & L5040.
I don't think 5,000 made it to the market as many were lost in our fire of 1977.
Original owners like Jim Kovar have put 92,000 miles on their Liberator. New owners like Tommy Nichols will restore theirs.
2009 Vintage Days: I found a complete Liberator Fairing for sale. When I say complete, I mean that it has the instruments, the running lights, the mounting hardware, the interior panels, the tonneau covers. Everything! Even the Harley running lights.
Of course I bought it.
I plan restore it for my reconstituted Vetter Fairing Museum. I have had Donor's Remorse ever since I donated my first collection to the AMA Hall of Fame Museum.
|Liberator # L1456 waiting for me at AMA Vintage Days, 2009|
|Davenport AMCA Meet, 2009 |
This forlorn Liberator awaited a buyer. Very valuable and unobtainable parts were missing. The chrome headlight ring is hard to find, replacement orange side marker lights simply do not exist. The reason is that the side marker lights were made especially for us by Bob Rudolph of Bates. Bates made them in red for their saddlebags but they graciously made them in orange for the Liberator. Probably none exist.
|Good News. No sooner did I post this picture and Norman sent this: Good afternoon Craig. I was emailng you to let you and others know that the headlight ring on the Liberator is still very much avalible. This ring is nothing more than a Kenworth truck headlight ring. You can obtain one throu any 18 wheeler chrome shop. They do carry them brand new. Or go to a semi junk yard where you might be able to find one, although its best to get a new one. The sidelights on the fairing can be upgraded to the rectangle lights that Harley used on the chrome wrap around bumpers with lights. You can still get these too at a semi chrome shop. Two last things,almost forgot.1 headight bucket can also be abtained throu a semi chrome shop. To get the ring you may also buy the whole assembly. Last the gauges on the instrument panel can be bought at any Orlieys or Auto Zone parts store. Same name and size. Anyway thank you for your time. Hopefully this will help others with questions on restoration on the Liberators. Thank you Norman E. Kepner|
Prepare to be stunned by Liberator # L3538
The Liberator Fairing never had a chance to become the "standard" for the Motor Company. Instead, the design of my best competitor became "The Look."
|In 1965, Dean Wixom designed this fairing as an accessory for the FLH. Forty five years later... the "BatWing" fairing is still with us, now made by the Motor Company.|
Liberator Fairings can still be found. Many new owners have made their own hardware to put them on other bikes. Who'd have thunk?
|It looks surprisingly good on an old GoldWing|
|I don't know what to say about this... |
Passed on to me from the internet. Can somebody tell me who made it?
Page posted 2007
Updated Feb 25, 2012