Vintage Harley Davidson motorcycles tend to pique quite a lot of interest when they cross the auction block. But when Jerry Lee Lewis’ classic 1959 Harley Davidson Panhead crosses the block at Mecum’s Kissimmee event, well – we wouldn’t be surprised if there was a “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” And a whole lotta bidding.
The rock ‘n roll pioneer has decided to let go of this, one of his most treasured Harleys, after a long and loving 55 years of ownership. The bike was given as a gift by Harley Davidson in 1959, and caused quite a stir with another rock idol of the day. More on that in a minute.
When Lewis wasn’t jumping atop pianos on stage, he was hopping onto Harley Davidson motorcycles on the road. ‘The Killer’ loved himself a Harley, and bought his first H-D as a gift to himself in 1957 – a blue FLH Panhead with the big 74ci engine – in celebration of his new hot-selling record.
With Lewis’ career booming, Harley Davidson saw the opportunity to reciprocate to their loyal fan and gifted both Lewis and Elvis Presley a brand new 1959 Panhead.
As the story goes, Jerry Lee was the first to receive his Panhead, which allegedly miffed ‘The King’. Lewis later noted, “He couldn’t understand why he got the second one, so I asked if he wanted to trade!”
After 55 years solely in the ownership of Lewis and only 2,257 miles, the bike appears just as showroom fresh at it was in 1959. Somebody will be very lucky to give this piece of rock ‘n roll history a new home.