American Iron Magazine Articles

green motorcycle

Oh no. Don’t do it! Green motorcycles 

Written by Charlie Dahlberg

have had a bad rap since around the end of WW2.  They are bad luck

and not just that but, you could get hurt or worse with them. Why green

is bad:  Green has been subject to ridicule way before bikes. Seems the

color green had for centuries been associated with misfortune or bad feelings.

If you were ” green around the gills” you looked sickly.  stay away.

Arsenic was used to create some shades of green in dye. If the fabric

got wet, it could release poisonous gases.

It was extremely bad luck to wear green in “Ole” England. Green was

thought to belong to fairies and spirits. These spirits were hostile to anyone

else who wore them. The attention of fairies or spirits was unwelcome.

Green was associated with infidelity. A man wearing

a green hat is said to have an unfaithful wife.   OH, MAN!!

As far as vehicles: One of the contributors to the theory is. In early

auto races, coincidently, most crashes involved a green car. Long-time

superstition was having green on your race car is bad luck.

Now as far as the after WW2 theory: Harley-Davidson was the main supplier of

motorcycles during WW2.   More than 88,000

WLA models were developed for the US Army’s mechanicalized cavalry. When

the war ended and the GIs returned to the States, the ones who liked

the Harleys brought them home with them. They would like a 30’s 40’s 50’s car,

and make a hot rod out of it.  Well, the same thing, they would mess with them and chop them.

OH SORRY! not like the Harleys, “the ones who loved them.”  It is impossible to just like a

Harley.  ” You can fall in like but, you love your bike”!  Yes, I said that. 

The bad luck part was:  That the bikes had a hard life,

they were driven hard and not well maintained. They would break down a lot if you kept them

original.  The worst part was that these bikes were military camouflage GREEN. Messengers used them.

Messengers were an easy target for the enemy to pick off.

The Negative Connotations of Green
It is not uncommon for green to be linked with misfortune or negative

emotions. For instance, the phrases ‘green-eyed monster’ or ‘green with envy’ suggest that green is

undesirable. Additionally, green is often associated with sickness, as in the phrase ‘green around

the gills’, and is used to describe rotten food or mold. So, there you go! 

 CHARLIE’S Blah Blah Blah


I love my 1977 orange Harley. She is in the Dec. 2022 issue.