Built from the ground up by founders Walter and Arthur Davidson and their friend Bill Harley, the road to success for Harley-Davidson was not a smooth journey. The brand new Discovery Channel (DStv 121) series Harley and the Davidsons, is a true story that takes you on a journey back to the turn of the 20th century, detailing the innumerable obstacles, ruthless competitors and extraordinary risks faced by the Harley-Davidson founders.
Together these three young men, the sons of blue-collar immigrants, gave everything they had to ensure the survival of the company they founded. But just how far would they go to reach the ultimate American dream and change the motorcycling industry?
Featuring an all-star cast including: Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones) as Walter Davidson, Robert Aramayo (Game of Thrones) as William (Bill) Harley and Bug Hall (The Little Rascals) as Arthur Davidson, this series looks at how the founders of Harley-Davidson continued to grow their loyal following like no other competitor.
Built in a shed out of Milwaukee, the Harley-Davidson motorcycles were able to survive nearly every condition imaginable, and Walter certainly put them to the test. His ferocious ambition propelled him to become a top motorcycle racer while participating in competitions sweeping the nation. Walter’s daredevil exploits put Harley-Davidson on the map – and while risky – pushed the company to eventually overtake their archrival competitor. Later, fuelled by ingenuity, innovation and design, the founders of Harley-Davidson faced off against much bigger rivals.
Then the Great Depression hit America and the motorcycle industry was decimated but the Harley-Davidson founders continued to defy the odds with their forward-thinking business ideas.
Whether it was securing the American Army contract and teaching riders how to make repairs on the field to embracing boisterous motorcycle clubs across the nation, they would eventually channel all their resources with their biggest risk yet – creating the world’s first superbike, a state-of-the-art racing machine for the masses.
For Walter, the venture was a chance to escape from the confines of society – to ignore the rules and build a bike that could go anywhere and ride hard. For Arthur, it was an opportunity to finally make good on his name. And for Bill Harley, the bike gave him hope to break free from his overbearing parents and apply his talent as an engineer. While the three men all faced very different challenges, it was the motorcycle that united their dreams and ambitions.
This true story premieres tonight, Tuesday, 6 September at 21h00 on Discovery Channel (DStv 121).