Harley-Davidson Style 1910s-1950s | A Continuous Lean.

Harley-Davidson Style 1910s-1950s

Jul 11th, 2009 | Categories: Motorcycles, Style | by Michael Williams

My obsession with Japanese magazines has been documented many times in this space. I end up at Kinokuniya about once a week looking for new issues, and during one of these trips I became acquainted with the My Freedamn series by Rin Tanaka. On a recent jaunt out to Los Angeles I saw the amazing book on Harley-Davidson style from 1910-1950 at the RRL store and I know I had to get a copy for my dad (who has a few Harleys) for father’s day. Funny thing though, the copy at RRL wasn’t for sale, it was the manager’s book, but I figured I would just get a copy off the internet or when I got back to New York.


Sunday rolls around and we headed out to the flea market at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. We spent about four hours weaving our way through all of the vintage goodness, enjoying the quirky folks that were milling about. One of the last booths we visited had an amazing 1950s dead stock Carhartt chore coat (never worn, with the tags) for $850. After I decided $850 was too rich for me I noticed a bunch of the My Freedamn books and specifically the Harley book which I had just seen a few days earlier. I immediately told the guy at the booth that I would take the Harley-Davidson book and he gets out a Sharpie and asks what I want written inside. Confused, I pause for a minute. “I don’t want anything written in there, it is a gift.” I say, still trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Then things in my brain start to move. “Are you the author?” I ask. “Yes, it is me.” replies Rin Tanaka. Shocked to meet such a talented person selling their amazing books at the flea it took me a few seconds to ask to have the book inscribed to my dad, CJ. Rin was very gracious and super down to earth, meeting him was an cool way to end the trip to the Rose Bowl and it made the father’s day gift special.

Author Rin Tanaka inscribes the book for my Dad at the Rose Bowl.


The images from the book are mostly from the Harley-Davidson archive and are pure gold. The sweaters in some of the old photos are so spot on I can only look at the book in small doses. In addition to this book the author Rin Tanaka did an unbelievable Steve McQueen book that everyone should own. Some photos from the Harley book below.












Comments: 13

13 Comments to “Harley-Davidson Style 1910s-1950s”

  1. Sean
    on Jul 12th, 2009
    @ 4:34 AM

    wow. thats great! I’d love to ride in one of those old club jackets.

  2. JP
    on Jul 12th, 2009
    @ 8:13 AM

    Holy smokes, man. A brush with greatness for sure.

    I’m so envious.

  3. David
    on Jul 12th, 2009
    @ 10:21 AM

    I would just love to get my hands on one of those bikes!

  4. Kiya
    on Jul 12th, 2009
    @ 12:04 PM

    We’ve had this for sale at Self Edge for a long while now:

    Also, My Freedamn! 8 comes out on Friday July 17th.

  5. MR
    on Jul 12th, 2009
    @ 8:41 PM

    $65 @ Kinokuniya Bookstores

  6. Kiya
    on Jul 12th, 2009
    @ 11:15 PM

    How is that possible?
    Rin distributes the book himself personally out of his home and wholesale is just below what you’re saying K-Books sells it for… Unless it’s such a good seller for them that it’s one of their loss-leader products.

  7. Michael Williams
    on Jul 12th, 2009
    @ 11:19 PM

    Or you just have them priced too high Kiya.

  8. Matt
    on Jul 13th, 2009
    @ 9:24 AM

    Rin is awesome and his books are truly amazing! I’ve had this one since it came out and I couldn’t give it a better recomendation.



  9. drinkinanddronin
    on Jul 13th, 2009
    @ 8:55 PM

    Great book. Probably my favorite out of the Freedamn series. Check out the upcoming August issue of Street Bikes, as they’re doing a 20 years of Harley Davidson feature.

  10. pit
    on Jul 13th, 2009
    @ 9:59 PM

    I’ll have to get my ass to the Bowl the next time the flea is up.

  11. rebeccab
    on Jul 14th, 2009
    @ 7:55 AM

    Wait, can we talk about Rin’s awesome Pendleton hoodie?

  12. Mr. Morris
    on Jul 14th, 2009
    @ 7:05 PM

    Such style these guys have even when in a club Uniform. Much inspiration to be drawn.

  13. timothylupinek
    on Nov 14th, 2009
    @ 2:16 AM

    Magnificent book, people, and occurrence…