1991 Harley FXDB Sturgis

Patience pays off in quest for a classic

1991 Harley FXDB Sturgis

How many times has this happened to you: You walk into a motorcycle shop to buy an oil filter, and you walk out with a motorcycle. 

That’s exactly what happened to Ed Vanaman of Akron, Ohio, in 1997. And the bike he bought wasn’t just any motorcycle. It was the second Harley-Davidson FXDB Sturgis to roll off the assembly line in 1991. Consider that the Motor Company kept the first one for its permanent collection, and you can see that this was about as exclusive a motorcycle as you’ll ever find.

For Vanaman, though, it was more than that. It was the bike of his dreams.

The Sturgis name first appeared on a Harley-Davidson in 1980 as a part of the “FX’’ Super Glide line. But for ’91, the company brought back the Sturgis name for a single year on the first bike of a whole new FX line—the Dyna Glides.

Vanaman notes that only 1,546 of the Sturgis models were built. He really wanted one, but they sold out so quickly that he missed his chance.

Then, in 1997, he walked into South East Harley-Davidson Sales in Cleveland and saw one on the dealer’s floor.

“I loved the look of it—the black and the red,’’ Vanaman says. Then he noticed the serial number, and realized the historic nature of the machine.

He knew he had to move fast. In fact, while he ran outside the dealership to call his wife and check the family finances, another customer was sitting on the bike. But Vanaman got his money to the salesman first.

Now, he’s satisfied with his piece of Harley-Davidson history.

“I always wanted one, I finally found one, and I plan to keep it,’’ he says.

In fact, there’s only one thing that would make the experience more complete.

“Someday,’’ he says, “I’d like to ride it to Sturgis.’’

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80 cubic inches


belt drive


Ed Vanaman

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