The Harley-Davidson Museum (www.harley-davidson.com) includes an interesting exhibit about Harley-Davidson three-wheel motorcycles known as Servi-Cars.
Back in the 1930s and 1940s, Harley sold a lot of these utilitarian bikes to car dealers to help them give their customers real service. By that we mean service far beyond what we are used to today. It worked like this.
Let’s say your car was due for an oil change and a new set of spark plugs. You would call the dealership and say that your car needed service. An employee of the dealership would ride to your home on a Servi-Car motorcycle. Once there, he would pick up the keys for the car.
The Servi-Car would be hooked up to the car’s rear bumper with a sort of a hitch mechanism. Then the bike’s gearshift would be placed in neutral and the dealership employee would drive your car back to the dealership with his Servi-Car in tow.
At the shop, the motorcycle would be disconnected from the car. Then, the car would receive the required service. After all the wok was done, the Servi-Car would again be hitched to the car’s rear bumper and set in neutral. Then the dealership employee would drive the car to your home with the three-wheeled bike in tow.
After the car was delivered back to your home, the employee would return to the car dealership on the Servi-Car. A Servi-Car displayed in the Harley-Davidson Museum was originally purchased by John Stanton, who owned a Doge-Plymouth dealership in Babylon, N.Y. When the Harley-Davidson Archives first acquired this bike, it still had service forms from Stanton Motors in its trunk.