Vintage Husqvarna Review 1938-1974

1972Husqvarna250WR 
Malcolm Smith Model
(Heikki Mikkola Replica)

Malcolm Smith was famous for riding a 250 Husky and just running away from the entire pack of competititors. Much to the frustration of all the Open class riders. Lesson learned was  - It wasn't how many cc's your Husky has, just how you train as a rider to use them.  Same holds true today.
The 1972 Husqvarna 250 , properly prepared to stock condition with a good Femsa (maybe a Motoplat), updated rear shocks, and a small motocross tank is capable of kicking butt big time on every other motorcycle eligible for any AHRMA class ! It's  hi performance are comparable to none! If you think you need more bike, please consider practicing more; you're on the wrong track! This model is inexpensive to buy and cheap to maintain! It's left hand shift may cause temporary dexterity problems for unfamiliar riders, but well worth the practice! Actually this model can be converted to right hand shift with the only piece needed being a left hand brake pedal assembly (which you can fabricate in a home shop ). If you are a heavy weight rider (more than 220 lbs), then an MJ  400 CR or WR Husqvarna  would also be a best choice. There should be little reason to not have an AHRMA killer bike with the amount of fantastic Husqvarna still available for sale.

MJ series (1972) is the first year for different color tanks on different models. Such as the Orange on 400CR, 450CR and 450WR. Lion Yellow for 125 CR and WR. Red for the 250 CR. The 360 enduro 4 speed was carried over thru  this year to serve as the Enduro offering. MJ frames are distinquishable by their lack of outer swingarm support gussets like you will find on MK models. Also the practice of putting model number on the tank was replaced by putting it on a chrome sticker on engine left case, which is visable in the above photo.  Silencers were supplied with all models for the first time and this MJ style silencer was only used this model year. They look similiar to 73 silencers, but not the same. The alloy fenders were supplied on all MJ models and gave a strikingly beautiful and functional appearance. The throttles tended to be Magura 305, dual cable style. The rims were lip style Akronts, Trelleborg T544 tyres, Magura levers (early, straight style), concentric model 54 Bing used on all except 125, Motoplats on CR's, Femsa on WR's, the Husky rubber flap looks great!
  World class riders Torlief Hansen, Heikki Mikkola, Bengt Åberg, Arne Kring, Gunnar Lindström , Christer Hammargren, J. Teuwissan, Jack van Velthoven, Gerrit Wolsink, Torsten Hallman, Uno Palm, Kalevi Vehkonen were heros on Huskys. The USA heros were many and included Malcolm Smith, Whitey Martino, JN Roberts, Bill Kain, Mitch Mayes, Gary Semics, Bob Grossi, Brad Lackey, Dick Burleson, Jake Fischer, Ron Bohn, Ed Schmidt, Ben Bower, Carl Berggren and more. Many other stars were part of this same exciting era.


1946 Husqvarna modell 24 "Svartkvarna"

Immediately following WWII, Husqvarna was able to tool up and supply a high quality, affordable, inexpensive to operate, 2 stroke street bike. This particular bike is owned by Lennart Kråksberg in Karlskrona , Sweden and is a show quality example of this modell. He writes:The mod. 24 "Svartkvarna" was introduced in 1946. It had an 118 cc engine with 3,5 hp and 3 gears. The "Svarkvarna" became a legend among the small motorcykles and was known for its reliability. It was used by many people every day for transport to work. The cykel was produced among the models 27-32 to 1957. The last in the family was mod. 32 Sport 1957. The modell 24 was the first real motorcykle produced in Sweden after the second world war. For its time it was an well constructed bike, it had an comfortable rubber seat and a nice front paralellogram fork. The price was 1946 960 SEK. It doesnt sound so much today, but an average salary of a Swedish worker then was 12 SEK. This model also has painted/striped rims, hand shift (right side of tank), sprung seat, tool box , package carrier.


1966 Husqvarna 250 Works Motocross Hallman Replica

The 1966 Husqvarna 250 was the first competition Husky that Edison Dye imported and of the 300 total 250 cc motocross made, 76 were imported to the USA. The HVA factory also made 50 each 360cc models and only 10 of these were imported! The '66 250 Husqvarna was a true killer weapon in 1966 off road events. It was the lightest, fastest motocross/ off-road competition event bike in the world and immediately won fame for John Penton, Malcolm Smith, Dub Smith, JN Roberts and more. Torsten Hallman won the World Championship 250 class in 1966 and 67 on his factory prototype model. There was no doubt which competition off-road bike was to be bought by the experts in 1967. A 1966 250 Husqvarna cost $969.              1966 Serial Number List <<click here 


1968 Husqvarna 250 cross Hallman Replica

The 1968 Husqvarna competition off road motorcycles incorporated the prototype frame that Torsten Hallman had been winning on the past 18 months. Husqvarna was very keen to engineer and sell state of the art equipment and to keep quality high and within reasonable cost. Many updates were apparent with the first shipment of MF series bikes and they included: welded one piece frame, improved rear sprocket mount, painted steel tail fender, dished air cleaner cover, new chain guide system, new style rear brake pedal, internally there were many upgrades to gearing/shafts/piston/rings. Trelleborg T544 became the standard issue tire for Husqvarna. Malcolm Smith, John Penton, JN Roberts, Whitey Martino along with Torsten Hallman, Gunnar Lindstrom, Arne Kring, Christer
Hammargren, Rolf Tibblin, Vic Eastwood, Brian Goss, Steffan Enequist and others continued to shred the competition world wide in all off road events.


1969 Husqvarna 400 cross Vic Eastwood Replica

The 1969 series for competition MG Husqvarna was the introduction of the 400 Husky. Husqvarna had been prototyping 400's for three years and was ready to pass on this incredible machine. It was an instant success and became the standard for which all others makes were compared. The MG series saw improvement with an all new rear hub, Femsa ignition, shorter front fender, the fork boots were eliminated and major engine cylinder design change that gave five intake transfers instead of three. The '69 models included the 250 cross, 360 cross, 400 cross, and the new 360c sportsman (SG). Bengt Åberg, Arne Kring, Åke Jonsson, and Torsten Hallman dominated world championship motocross. This was the last year for the original style tank, steel rims , steel tail fender, and small front brake for all models.


1957 HVA 175cc Silverpilen Basse Hveem

1957 was a good year for Husqvarna motorcycle buyers as HVA was offering at least 10 different models of sophisticated, lightweight , two-stroke street bikes. The Silverpilen or Silver Arrow as the USA knew it was imported to Chicago by at least one dealer and road tested in Cycle magazine in mid '57 with a very favorable review. The article even addressed the off road potential of the super light weight 175 cc Swedish motorcycle. Around this time Rolf Tibblin was also pursuing the racing potential of these Huskys and had modified Silverpils for motocross. Factory engineer/machinist Gustav Flink was also interested in this potential and was beginning to produce custom cylinders, complete crankshafts, intake systems, gearbox components, to help develop the hidden race winning potential of these early Husqvarna. Norway's champion motorcycle racer Basse Hveem endorsed the Silverpil and this model also became very successful at ISDT type competition. Basse Hveem sold his own line of motorcycle clothing (ie helmets, leather jackets) in this same 50's era which are very sought after today. My thanks to Henrik Broen, Norway for Basse Hveem info.


1972 Husqvarna 450 WR Cross Country

1972 was a new era for Husqvarna motorcycles. The entire series of motocross, desert, enduro bikes had been upgraded to a new generation of engines with 5 speed transmissions, lefthand shift, new low engine frames, introduction of the 450cc motocross and cross country and also the 125ccCR motocross (6 speed), Motoplat ignitions and more. This frame series was MJ and all models had the alloy fenders front and rear. The "hand grenade" muffler was standard on all models as well as the silver leg front forks. The WR models retained the Femsa ignition to allow for easy lighting installation. Husqvarna continued to dominate all forms of off road racing, most notably in world class motocross, desert events, and enduro. The list of expert winners was spectacular and included Heikki Mikkola, Arne Kring, Bengt Åberg as well as US stars Malcolm Smith, Dick Burleson, Ron Bohn, Jake Fischer, Ed Schimdt, Dave Mungenast, JN Roberts, Mark Blackwell, Jim West, Bob Grossi, + many others.


1963 Husqvarna 250 Works Motocross

1963 Husqvarna had identified how important the racing victories would be for the motorcycle division to prosper, profit and grow. The factory sponsored efforts of past years had been positive and this year the Husqvarna factory turned out 100 of their highly sought after, motocross race bikes. Ultra lite weight and designed for limited use these bikes were custom made for each ordering customer and you could choose Norton forks or Ceriani forks. Torsten Hallman devastated all the competiton in 1963 motocross with his abilities and equipment combination.
Ja, den är bra! Vi vill göra mer! These 250cc bikes were so fast that they easily surpassed the speed of the larger four stroke versions. Husqvarna was rethinking already how to approach the 500cc class. Picture above shows a '63 with later model front fender and the fork boots were not standard.


1955 Husqvarna
       Modell 31 Sport                                                                    Modell 31 Lyx

1955 was a year of change and upgrade for all Husqvarna motorcycle models. The model 31 series was introduced as a replacement for model 30. These mid-sized HVA were standard equipped with alloy rims, stainless steel spokes, quick access ignition cover, petcock controlled from tank top (a small knob next to gas cap), Trelleborg tires, Bosch flywheel magneto, Amal carb, and 3 speed foot operated vaxel. The hand loop rear fender brace was a nice touch. Of course you could equip these models with all sorts of great add-ons like package trays, saddle bags of different sorts, double seats, leg guards, or you also could convert them to successfully off road race. This particular Sport model 31 had, what the catalog described as, a"motocross" seat and cross bar "motocross " handlebars as well as the high pipe exhuast. The Lyx model 31 had a single sadel and low pipe. The light weight and good power of these 120cc bikes inspired the owners of these and other model Husqvarna to pursue racing activities. Husqvarna was building these models to fit the under 75kg (165lbs) class of motorcycles in Sweden which existed due to license by driver age. 16 year olds could only ride up to 75kg until 18 years old. In 1959 the restriction was changed to 125cc and, I believe, is still applied today.


1973 Husqvarna 400 CR Motocross

1973 was continuing the rapid upgrade of all Husqvarna motorcycles. This years series was MK and all of motocross bikes came with new white plastic fenders and small motocross tanks. The forks had been improved as well and were easily identified as "black" leg forks. The 400 was a magnifcient performer on the track with far more power than most owners could use. It was, as all Huskys, raced right out of the box and continued to grow an outstanding number of top class winners in all off road events. US stars Gary Semics, Mark Blackwell, Mike Hartwig, Bob Grossi were just a few. Tibblin and Nilsson were the BAJA 1000 kings .


1938 Model 301 Husqvarna LÄTTVIKTS Motorcykel

The Model 301 was Husqvarna's first production 2stroke lightweight motorcycle. 98cc, chain drive, and rubber damped suspension on the front allowed HVA to sell tens of thousands of these popular bikes. This machine featured a leather tool pouch, squeeze bulb horn, package tray, head and tail lites, two speed hand shift gearbox, Amal carb, and handlebar operated rear brake. This model sold new for Kr.460 ($71).


1974 Husqvarna 250 CR Mag 250 Motocross

1974 was again a milestone year for the leader of motocross competition motorcycles. The "Mag 250" was Husqvarna's ability to market to the public a true "works" caliber motorcycle. The "Mag 250" had an all magnesium engine case, reed valve intake, new swing arm with shocks moved foward, built in silencer on the expansion chamber, + more. This bike is still one of the most sought after AHRMA competition motocross bikes. It is both strikingly beautiful and quite a performer in the Sportsman classes.

This MK series Husky was the first year for the magnesium alloy, reed valve 250 engine. This model was an immediate success in the hands of privateers. Light and powerful, this model was more along the lines of of a true ultimate works motocross model that had been exclusive to 63-68 models. Mag 250 had the shock position on the swing arm moved foward, a newer generation expansion chamber with built in silencer, white plastic fenders, Akront alloy rims, and small front hub.

World class riders Heikki Mikkola, Bengt Åberg, Arne Kring, Gunnar Lindström were heros on Huskys. The USA heros were many and included Malcolm Smith, Bill Kain, Mitch Mayes, Gary Semics, Bob Grossi, Brad Lackey, Dick Burleson, Jake Fischer, Ron Bohn, Ed Schmidt, Ben Bower, Carl Berggren and more. The Swedish ISDT Team included Hans Erricsson, Hans Hansson, Bengt-Olof Gustafsson, Kurt Gustavsson, Lars Erik Johansson,
as well as Bengt Bokstedt, Ingemar Wernerson, Tommy Johansson, Anders Hallberg, and Conny Windisch.
Jack Lehto managed the ISDT team. Many other stars were part of this same exciting era.


1974 Husqvarna 125CR Motocross

1974 was also a year of great improvement on the great looking Husqvarna 125 CR and SC models. The front end was an all alloy Betor fork unit with alloy triple clamps as well. White plastic fenders, improved air box, alloy rims, cut out sprocket and alloy front hub made a very beautiful package along with the lion yellow paint scheme. '74 was also the year of displaying the new Husqvarna company logo and it was prominently displayed on both tank sides of every size Husky. The 125cc Husky is a highly desired favorite of the AHRMA racing crowd. In my opinion the best looking 125 of the 70's, but then I might be biased.


1965 Husqvarna 250 Works Motocross Hallman Replica

The 1965 250cc motocross Husqvarna was updated to take advantage of Torsten Hallman's experience and track proven record on the 250 Huskys with which he had won the world championships. Ceriani forks were fitted, updated expansion chamber with a tapering rear cone, larger air filter, and gusseted rear frame were a few of the improvements. Features retained from previous model included push-in gas cap, 19" front hjul, Dunlop Sports tires, alloy fenders front and rear. This excellent '65 Husqvarna 250 Motocross is located in Australia and owned by Brian Watson. It is Husqvarna #65057. 


1964 Husqvarna 250 Motocross Dave Bickers Model

1964 the Husqvarna motocross models had already made their way to England and champion rider Dave Bickers had a special model for that season made to his specifiactions. It was tested in early '64 by a British publication and found to be superb! The little Husky was fitted with Norton forks, Dunlop Sports tyres, and Girling shocks. There was additional sheet vinyl added to protect the air filter and where this wrapped to the rear , it was used as a number plate surface. There was also additional shrouding at the rear of the seat between the frame tubes. The tank of this particular bike was modified with indentations to allow for more "stop to stop" fork turn. The light weight and high power made this Husky the best of 1964 motocross. 


1967 Husqvarna 250 Motocross Hallman Replica

1967was a great year for Husqvarna racing motorcycles. The demand for both the 250cc and 360cc motocross bikes was far more than what had been sold the previous year. Many subtle major changes occurred to increase the longevity of a motorcycle that was originally intended for one year expert motocross use. The frame tail section was increased in diameter, swing arm was fabricated from round tubing, front fender revised, gas cap was changed from push in to standard automotive, handlebar mounts redesigned, folding pegs revised, expansion chamber was redesigned as a one piece custom fabrication, 21" front wheel was a frequent option, air filter was revised, along with many others. The candy apple red paint was retained for a last year and, as shown above, was the most beautiful and competitive off road motorcycle for that year! Torsten Hallman kicked butt again for the fourth time in the 1960's and won the 250 World Championship.


1969 Husqvarna 360 C SportsmanISDT Replica

1969 was also a year of revision to the Husqvarna dual sport models , altho the term was not in use then. The model known as the 250T Commando was replaced by the new 360 C Sportsman . Revisions included an added battery, engine displacment, motocross seat, quickchange rear wheel hub, frame tubing added under the tank, chainguard, headlite and horn were updated, and Trelleborg motocross tires were standard.


1967-68 Husqvarna 250T CommandoSportsman
1967 - Husqvarna brought thier first dual sport bike to the USA. Although it looked like a street version motocrosser, it was a complete stand alone model. It was called the 250 T Commando because it was based on a Swedish military bike. The name was revised to Sportsman in late '67, but it had been road tested by Cycle World as a Commando earlier in the year. Unusual details were the dual chain guard , dual seat, passenger folding pegs, 21" front wheel option or 19", speedo option, Motaloy hubs front and rear, no battery, and tool bag option. This model was continued in '68 and sold almost exculsively to a USA market.


1971 Husqvarna 400 cross
Bengt Åberg Replica

This MI series Husky was the last year for the four speed model. Changes from the early 1970 MH series included new hi cross bar handle bars, sheet metal front fender brace, 36 mm concentric Bing, and improved gear components. All four speeds shift on the right side and this made for great left turn performance. The eight speed option was popular for all around trail and desert use, but the motocross purists wanted only the four speed. In mid 1971 Husqvarna sent a flyer to all Husky dealers with decals alerting them to add the Bengt Åberg decal to the 400's and the Heikki Mikkola decal to the 250's (decals are diplayed further down my page ). Husqvarna dominated all off road events during this year...motocross, desert, enduro, and special events like Baja and the Mint 400 as well as world class motocross. World class riders Torlief Hansen, Bengt Åberg, Arne Kring, Gunnar Lindstrom were heros on Huskys. Probably the biggest impact in the US on all of off road riding was Malcolm Smith on MH 1221 in the movie On Any Sunday, which was released in 1971. Malcolm and Steve McQueen rode a pair of MH 400's to all Husky lovers delight. Check out this movie!! Have some spare money ready, you'll want a Husky!
This early MI 400 pictured above has original low cross bar bars, no decal, and "front tab mount" tank as opposed to "full collar" mount tank.

This 1971 Husqvarna 400 , properly prepared to stock condition with maybe a Motoplat, updated rear shocks, and a small motocross tank is capable of kicking butt big time on every other motorcycle eligible for any AHRMA class ! It's lite weight and hi performance are comparable to none! If you think you need more bike, please consider practicing more; you're on the wrong track! This model is inexpensive to buy and cheap to maintain!
It's right hand shift may cause temporary dexterity problems for unfamiliar riders, but well worth the practice!
If you are a lite weight rider (less than 180 lbs), then a 250 Husqvarna 4 speed would also be a best choice.
There should be little reason to not have an AHRMA killer bike with the amount of fantastic Husqvarna still available for sale.



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