Golf Cart Museum: Columbia ParCar & Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson Golf CartColumbia ParCar started life in 1982 when they bought the old Harley-Davidson Golf Car Company.  Harley golf cars originated in 1963, made by the same people that made the motorcycles.

Over the years several Harley-Davidson models have come and gone but the ‘Classic’ body style, with the deep well, lift back rear body, is the best known. It first appeared as a 3 wheeler in ’63 and later a 4 wheeled car was made. The entire rear body lifted up and hinged rearward to reveal the entire engine (or battery & motor) compartment. This model had many changes occur under the hood and a few cosmetic ones too.

The 3 wheel Harley-Davidson golf car pictured here is the most familiar version. It was common on many golf courses in the late 60’s and throughout the 70’s. Note the chrome ‘Tiller Bar’ steering handle and the ‘outrigger’ front bumper. This tiller steering bar is common to most of the early golf cars but a few came standard with a steering wheel instead.  The lift-up rear body design continued into the 90’s well after Columbia ParCar took possession of the company.  Both the 3 and the 4 wheeled cars came equipped with a 250cc, 2 cycle gas engine until 1996 when a 4-cycle Briggs & Stratton 9hp Vanguard engine became standard.  The electric models sported a 36 volt electric drive train powered by six 6-volt batteries until the late 90s when Columbia switched to a 48-volt battery pack.

Harley-Davidson Serial NumbersHarley-Davidson Serial Number Location

For most early Harley and Columbia golf cars the vehicle identification number is stamped into a metal plate located just above the left (driver side) rear tire riveted onto the cross brace. On the DE40 and MG IV electric models it is under the driver side seat just to the rear of the batteries on the transverse frame member.  These 36-volt electric models, built in the late 70s and early 80s, had the prefix ‘8D’.

Starting in 1970 the first two characters (a number and a letter) indicate the model and the last two characters (a letter and a number) indicate the year of manufacture (there are five more numbers in between that indicate the actual vehicle serial number).  ‘H0’ indicates the car was made in 1970; ‘H9’ indicates 1979.   ‘J0’, ‘J1’ and ‘J2’ indicate a 1980, 81 and 82 model, respectively.  Sometime in 1982 the letter designating the decade of manufacture changed to a ‘C’ (this is when Columbia ParCar became the owners) so a ‘C2’ was made in 1982, ‘C9’ indicates a 1989 model.  The prefix ‘D’ in the last two characters designates the decade of the 1990s, ‘E’ the 2000s.  Since 2000 Columbia has greatly expanded their product offering so as of the mid to late 2000s model numbers and date codes are more complex.

We are in the process of creating a chart to show you what year your Columbia/Harley is based on your vehicle identification number. This section is always under construction, so feel free to email any pictures or information about your Columbia Par or Harley car.

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