1965 Harley-Davidson FL Electra-Glide

The 1965 Harley-Davidson FL Electra-Glide was the last model fitted with the venerable Panhead engine. See more motorcycle pictures.

The 1965 Harley-Davidson FL Electra-Glide motorcycle was the last Harley fitted with the venerable Panhead engine and the first big Harley with electric start. That combo has made it a highly coveted collectible.

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For Harley-Davidson, 1965 marked the end of an era. The Electra-Glide, with its electric starter, made its debut, but it would be the last year for the famous "Panhead" V-twin that was introduced in 1948.

That engine had received some modifications over the years, a significant one coming in 1963 with external oil lines that improved lubrication to the cylinder heads.

Along with the electric starter came 12-volt electrics to replace the previous 6-volt system, which in turn brought a bigger battery hidden beneath a large battery case on the right side. That, along with the bold "Electra Glide" script on the front fender, makes it easy to distinguish this model from earlier FLs.

The Electra-Glide pictured in this article has the standard exhaust system that had both cylinders exhausting to the right into a single muffler; optional was a dual-muffler system where the exhaust from the front cylinder exited to the right, while that from the rear cylinder exited to the left, both terminating in their own distinctive "fishtail" muffler.

Also optional was the old hand-shift/foot-clutch arrangement that was so popular with police departments.

Though a curb weight of more than 700 pounds restricted performance somewhat, the Electra-Glide was a popular touring mount in its day, as the electric starter alleviated the problem of having to kickstart the big V-twin -- which had become no easy task.

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