1948 is the first year of Harley Davidson’s new engine design that would be dubbed the “panhead” referring to the pan shaped valve covers. Innovations of the new engine design included internal oiling to reduce oil leaks.Hydraulic valve lifters reduced valve train noise and maintained push rod adjustment. Aluminum cylinder heads for more efficient engine cooling.

1948 panhead sales brochure
1948 sales brochure

view complete brochure at riding vintage.com

1948 speedometer

1948-1952 panhead speedometer
1948-1952 speedo

this speedometer is used from 1948-1952


1948 gas tank emblems

1947-1950 panhead tank emblems
1947-1950 emblems

Here are some great sources for detailed information about Harley Davidson’s 1948 Panhead

How to restore your Harley-Davidson by Bruce Palmer 111

Riding vintage website

the Jocky Journal web forum

hydra-glide.com The panhead and flathead site

The Harley Davidson Panhead service manual 48-57 rigid

1948 models

modelengine typeactual displacementcompressionfactory options
E sport solo61 c.i. low compression60.32 c.i.6.5:1
EL special sport solo61 c.i.high compression60.32 c.i.7.0:1
ES sidecar twin61 c.i. low compression60.32 c.i.6.5:1S = sidecar gearing
F sport solo74c.i. low compression73.66 c.i.6.6:1
FL special sport solo74 c.i.high compression73.66 c.i.7.0:1
FS sidecar twin74c.i. low compression73.66c.i.6.6:1S = sidecar gearing

NOTE: the ” S denoting sidecar gearing will not be stamped in serial number.

1948 models available colors. paint. stripes. speedometer colors

Brilliant black—-bluish gray center. cream white mph numbers. red indicator
Flight red—-
Azure blue—-
Police silver—-

Brilliant black

1948 panhead black paint color

Flight red

1948 panhead flight red paint color

Azure blue

1948 panhead azure blue paint color

Police silver

1948 panhead police silver paint color


1948 panhead police white paint color