At Harley-Davidson on April 30, 1980 an Engineering Order was issued authorizing Department 832 to begin work on a rear suspension design concept. This order states,"It is desirable to explore a revised rear suspension system that will have the look of a "hard-tail" motorcycle.
Engineering orders were internal documents used to establish account numbers that projects would reference for funding.
There are notations on this order tracking the hours from 5-17 to 6-28.
I still have more boxes of records to go through, but I remember that the project was handed off to me later in the year. I received a standard Wide Glide to start with, several sketches and a few "layouts".
A layout was a term that H-D used to describe a type of drawing that was a step up from a sketch, being done on a drafting table but not as complete as a blueprint. These sketches and layouts were the only "directions" I received.
I still have them, but I didn't follow them at all. For me, the project started as an open ended one. This meant no deadline and I was completely free to come up with something for viewing and possible approval.
Years ago, my first two Harleys were Knucklehead choppers and I was very familiar with the design/style of these earlier rigid frames. I always liked the way the lower frame tubes ran parallel to the ground and then bent up slightly near the rear axle. I remained faithful to this detail as you can see here: