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Discovery Channel to feature docu-drama about the early days of Harley-Davidson

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Screen grab from Harley and the Davidsons trailer.

Filming has been completed and the Discovery Channel has already released the dates, September 5-7, that the three-part, six-hour miniseries Harley and the Davidsons, produced by Raw Television, will air during the network’s fall television line-up. Many of the location shots for the series were filmed in Bucharest, Romania with help from Romanian production company Castel Film, including a complete transformation of the historic Bucharest Dinamo Velodrome into a period-correct board race track for several of the action shots.

Davidson brothers and William Harley

From L to R: William A. Davidson, Walter Davidson, Sr., Arthur Davidson and William Harley. Photos courtesy Harley-Davidson Museum archives.

Each two-hour segment will roughly represent a decade in the life of William Harley (played by British actor Robert Aramayo) and the Davidson brothers. The role of Walter Davidson will be played by Michiel Huisman, who plays Daario Naharis on Game of Thrones, while Arthur Davidson will be played by Brandon “Bug” Hall. It isn’t clear from the trailer if brother William A. Davidson will make an appearance in the miniseries event.

Harley-Davidson knucklehead

A Harley-Davidson “knucklehead” engine.

The progression of models and engines featured in the series follows Harley’s own timeline from first bike through Silent Gray Fellow and up to the debut of the “knucklehead” engine in 1936. Although not an actual biography, the film series does have many historically accurate events in the first three decades of Harley-Davidson evolution. The production team spent months doing their homework, taking advantage of the extensive cache of documents, photographs and archives from the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee to add realism to the sets as well as to the 80-plus bikes that were used during the filming. A reproduction of the original Harley-Davidson shed also appears in the miniseries.

Harley-Davidson shed

Where it all began: the first headquarters of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Although many people know some of Harley-Davidson’s early history, this series appears to be more about the founders and their families trying to pursue the American Dream rather than a timeline piece about the success of the business. The appeal of all of the vintage iron from Harley-Davidson and many other manufacturers of the time should draw audience interest among early motorcycle and board track racing enthusiasts as well.  Harley and the Davidsons should make for very interesting fall television.

The promotional trailer has already begun popping up on the Discovery Channel, and it can also be seen on the show’s Facebook page.