The 1963 Harley-Davidson Topper motorcycle was among the casualties when the short-lived scooter craze subsided and Japanese brands began to take an ever-growing share of the American motorcycle market.
Capitalizing on the late-1950s popularity of scooters, Harley-Davidson brought out the Topper in 1960. Its 165-cc two-stroke single was started with a recoil starter, like a lawn mower, and drove through a variable-ratio automatic transmission called Scootaway Drive.
Up front was a simple leading-link fork, and there were small drum brakes on both wheels. Beneath the hinged seat was a large storage space, but if that wasn't enough, a luggage rack was available.
For those not content with carrying only two people and luggage, a sidecar was offered -- though fully loaded, the rig must have proved agonizingly slow. Other "big bike" accessories included a passenger's backrest and windshield.
Despite carrying the revered Harley-Davidson name, the Topper didn't sell particularly well in a market quickly becoming dominated by Japanese machines. And it wasn't long before the scooter craze subsided, taking the Topper as one of its early casualties.
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