Classic Motorcycle Build

Servi-Car Box

Text and Pictures by Mark Trotta

The original Harley trike was designed primarily for automotive mechanics, so a Servi-Car box had plenty of room for tools and supplies needed for house calls and road-side assistance.

Harley-Davidson Servi-car box

The top lid is lockable, and the flat rear panel is perfect for advertising.


Servi-Car Box Sizes

From the first-year Servi-car of 1932 up until 1941, the steel cargo box could be either small or large. This changed in 1942, when the two different size boxes were replaced with one intermediate-sized box. This metal cargo box was seen until mid-1967, when a fiberglass box was introduced.

This article covers the 1942 to mid-1967 metal Servi-car box, which measures 48" wide, 33" long and 12" deep. The width without the two fenders is 35".

Servi-Car Box Restoration

Harley-Davidson Servi-car box

The cargo box in the pictures is from my 1961 Harley Servi-car. It was originally from the New Orleans police department, and had been in storage by the previous owner for over 25 years.

Harley-Davidson Servi-car taillights

The 1942-1967 metal Servi-car box was manufactured for Harley-Davidson by the Chas. Abresch Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Storage capacity is seven cubic feet.

Harley-Davidson Servi-car cargo box decal

On 1951 and up Servi-cars, a gold, red, and black water transfer decal from Chas. Abresch Company was usually located inside the cargo box lid.

This box was originally light blue with a white back panel.

Servi-car box

Note the cut-out for the radio.

Paint removal was done outside and inside the box. Most of it was done with a D/A sander.

Servi-car box restoration

Removing the paint down to bare metal was a long process.

Servi-car box restoration

Servi-car Box Frame and Springs

The cargo box mounts onto a squarish metal frame which is cushioned by two coil springs. The springs are the same left and right, and attach to the bottom of the box frame with a bolt. There are two bolts washers (one on top, one on bottom) that sit inside the springs that mounts them.

Harley-Davidson Servi-car cargo box frame

Carriage bolts with square nuts and washers hold the cargo box to the box frame.


Wood Floor

The metal cargo boxes (1942-1967) have a sheet-metal bottom, covered with planks of tongue-and-groove pine. To stand up to commercial usage, the wood was usually painted black from the factory.

Harley-Davidson Servi-car cargo box wood floor

After sanding the original planks down to bare wood, I brushed on a few coats of dark stain.


Servi-car Rear Shocks and Mounts

Replacement shock absorbers for Harley-Davidson Servi-cars are presently still available. They will replace your old shocks on 1942 to 1973 trikes and have the same eyelet dimensions and compressed length as original. They will also work on a 1932 to 1941 models that have been retro-fitted with 1942-1973 shock brackets.

Servi-car shock mounts

There are left and right lower shock brackets that bolt to the Servi-car rear axle. These brackets will fit 1942-1973 Servi-cars. The dwindling availability of good used ones has brought about their remanufacture.

Harley-Davidson Servicar tie bar

Servi-car Tie Bar

A round metal tie bar connects the left and right leaf springs to the box frame. The tie bar assembly includes bar, two springs, two clamps, bushing, two hex nuts, two lock plates, two clamp bolts, two 7/16" nuts with lock washers. These fit 1941-1973 Servi-cars.

Harley-Davidson Servi-car leaf springs


Servi-car Fenders

Rear fenders attach to each side of the cargo box with 1/4" bolts. Mostly because of the different shaped tail lights, 1942-1954 fenders are slightly different from later 1955-1966 fenders.

Harley-Davidson Servi-car rear fender

The fenders were originally white, I repainted them black.


Servi-car Tail-lamps

Harley trikes from 1947 to 1954 had tombstone-shaped tail lamps, 1955 to mid-1967 trikes had the rectangle versions, which also saw use on Sportsters and FX models up into the seventies.

Harley-Davidson Servi-car box


Servi-car Bumper

The rear bumper is metal. Dimensions are 47-1/2" in length and 3" in height. Width is in between 1/4" and 5/16".

Harley-Davidson Servi-car bumper brackets

Pictured above, Servi-car Bumper Brackets (placed upside down)


Cargo Box Alternatives

Today, original Servi-car boxes in any condition are hard to come by and expensive. Several companies on the internet advertise new steel replacement boxes, which sell anywhere from $1,800 to $2,500 plus shipping. Fenders are not included.

Although original or aftermarket boxes would make a Servi-car more valuable, consider alternatives like a cooler, freezer, custom wooden bed, bench seat facing backwards, etc.

Harley-Davidson Servi-car cargo box

"A Servi-Car Box Is Rarely Empty"


Related Articles:

Harley Servi-Car History
Servi-car Rear Axle
Harley 45 Timer And Ignition
Harley 45 Scavenger Oil Pump Repair
Harley Servi-car exhaust

Read: Servi-Car Exhaust And Why Getting Parts Is So Frustrating