1954 Harley-Davidson FL Hydra-Glide

The 1954 Harley-Davidson FL Hydra-Glide motorcycles accounted for nearly half of all Harleys sold in 1954. See more motorcycle pictures.

The Harley-Davidson company celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special edition Anniversary Yellow 1954 Harley-Davidson FL Hydra-Glide motorcycle that featured a special medallion on its front fender and a new trumpet-style horn.

With the demise of Indian in 1953, Harley-Davidson entered the 1954 model year as the sole surviving American motorcycle manufacturer. While that might seem like a cause for celebration in Harley's Milwaukee hometown, the truth was that Harley's fortunes were in doubt as well, since bikes from across the pond -- particularly England -- were becoming as much a threat as Indian ever was.

What Harley-Davidson did celebrate that year was its 50th anniversary. Why this didn't take place the year before (the company having been founded in 1903) is a mystery, but all the 1954 models wore special medallions on their front fenders to commemorate the occasion.

The Anniversary Yellow Harley-Davidson FL Hydra-Glide pictured in this article sports the hand-clutch/foot-shift arrangement introduced in 1952, though traditionalists -- and police departments -- could still order one with hand shift.

Many preferred the older setup because the bike could be left running with the transmission in gear and the clutch disengaged thanks to the "rocking" clutch pedal.

In addition to the commemorative front fender badge, the 50th anniversary 1954 Harley-Davidson FL Hydra-Glide motorcycles were shown with a new trumpet-style horn.

Our picture subject is fitted with the optional color-matched hand grips and kick-start pedal. Two-tone paint (with the tank and fenders in different colors) was also optional.

The 1954 Harley-Davidson FL Hydra-Glide models accounted for nearly half of all Harleys sold in 1954. Total sales were down from the previous year, and wouldn't rebound until 1957, when the import-fighting Sportster was introduced.

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