The last time Harley updated its engine...

...was back in 1984 when the introduction of the Evo 80 resurrected the Screamin' Eagle

The arrival of Harley Davidson's Twin Cam 96 motor in 2007 prompted memories of H-D's last major motor makeover - the original Evo of 1984.

Back in 1984 Harley was but an embryonic semblance of its current self, the firm still recovering from the disastrous AMF years (1969-1981) when the company had struggled through strikes, ever-worsening build quality and a diversification into two-strokes - truly hideous machines and all but forgotten.

The management buy-out in 1981 had brought forward a new direction and pride in the product - and much needed R&D. At the time (non-Sportster) Harleys were powered by 'shovelhead' motors, overweight relics that had been lumbering along, unreliably, since 1966. The Evo 80 retained the 1340cc of the bigger old motors, but everything else, V-angle and firing sequence excepted, was all-new, including the reliablity.

A publicity stunt to launch the new motor saw a pack of FLT Tour Glides charging around the Talladega Speedway, hoping to cover 8000 miles at an average speed of 80mph - the bikes went better than anticipated and in fact averaged 85mph.

The Evo 80 was the engine that underpinned Harley's resurrection from near bankruptcy.