This spiffy Harley-Davidson Servi-Car looks like it was brand new when it was photographed at the Union Oil service station at 4004 Wilshire Boulevard in 1932. A memo issued by H-D on November 9, 1931 describes their new model as “intended primarily for the use by garages and service stations in the pickup and delivery of customer’s cars”, and that appears to be what is going on here. The tube frame work on the front wheel was connected to a quickly detachable hitch that allowed the trike to be towed, as you can see in one of our earlier posts.
The market for them slowly dried up as time went by and fewer service stations and car dealers offered pickup and delivery of customer’s cars. The wild deco design on the gas tank may very well be a factory paint scheme, as the company used this type of layout at the time on certain models. Take a look at the Steve McQeen 1931 H-D VL, which shares a similar graphic configuration. You can find out much more about these rare machines at the D45 Homepage and see many more service station posts on The Old Motor. Photo by Dick Whittington Studios courtesy of the Huntington Library.