Harley-Davidson Norma Jean Is More Bombshell Than Road King

Harley-Davidson Norma Jean 7 photos
Photo: Mecum
Harley-Davidson Norma JeanHarley-Davidson Norma JeanHarley-Davidson Norma JeanHarley-Davidson Norma JeanHarley-Davidson Norma JeanHarley-Davidson Norma Jean
If you look at the dull words Harley-Davidson uses to advertise the Road King you'd probably be fooled into believing it doesn't really care if people buy it or not. Yet the rather simplistic "custom bagger with top-of-the-line power and a commanding presence" description hides an even simpler reality: people like to buy the Road King, for several reasons.
Part of the Grand American Touring line of Harleys, the Road King traces its roots all the way back to the FL model of the 1940s (it has worn the King name since the 1990s when it replaced the FLHS Electra Glide Sport), giving it a kind of pedigree riders will always appreciate.

Then, the machine presently takes point as the entry-level bike in the touring family of Milwaukee bikes, making it the least expensive of the bunch. The Americans are asking $24,999 for a package that includes pretty much everything you'd need from a long-haul two-wheeler.

But not all the people who buy the stock Road King keep it so. Despite Harley already calling the thing a factory custom, some riders and garages like to give it the aftermarket touch that often results in unique Road Kings coming into the world. We've seen that happen time and again, and we'll probably keep on seeing it.

Today's custom Road King treat comes in the form of something that's known in some circles as the Norma Jean.

Norma Jean (spelled Norma Jeane) is the birthname of one of the most famous actresses of the last century, the one the world got to know as Marilyn Monroe. Despite the fact that the American Film Institute considers her the sixth greatest screen legend of American film history, Monroe still inspires people and the objects they make, even 62 years after she passed, a lot more than others do.

Harley\-Davidson Norma Jean
Photo: Mecum
Just think about it. How many times did you see a car or a motorcycle customized in honor of Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman, Greta Garbo, or the two Hepburns, Katharine and Audrey? And how many times did Marilyn Monroe, on the other hand, take point on such builds?

The blonde bombshell also inspired the build we have before us, a major overhaul of a Road King that was initially made by Harley more than a decade ago, in 2012. Recently completed at the hands of an unknown garage, the bike won the best-in-show title at the Alligator Alley Harley-Davidson Hot Rods & Harleys back in 2023.

Naturally, it is the Marilyn Monroe theme of the build that catches the eye first. The actress is in the paint job, if you will, with the figure of the actress prominently displayed by means of airbrushing on the bike's fuel tank, the hard bags at the rear, and the massive fender that unites them.

I can't really tell if the scenes depicted on the bodywork are from an actual Marilyn Monroe movie (most likely not), but that matters little in the end.

Then, the huge front wheel comes into view, displaying an impressive diameter of 26 inches and five double spokes shaped like a ninja's shuriken. The wheels are kept in check by means of Performance Machine braking hardware. Above the wheel and its discreet fender a set of high, 16-inch handlebars made by Carlini Designs can be seen.

The bike can change the way it relates to the ground by means of an air suspension system, dropping or raising itself as needed. When stationary, it sits on a center stand, while the rider and the passenger are supported by aftermarket seats in what looks like leather.

Harley\-Davidson Norma Jean
Photo: Mecum
The bike is particularly shiny at night thanks to the fitting of blue accent lighting shining from under its spine, but also loud when on the move, courtesy of the Bluetooth-capable eight-speaker audio system backed by two amplifiers.

The bike is powered by the stock powertrain sitting in the stock frame, which back in 2012 meant a 102ci V-twin and a six-speed manual transmission.

We're talking about the motorcycle now because we just stumbled upon it as it awaits to be sold during the Florida Summer Special auction over in Kissimmee, to be hosted on July 11 by specialist house Mecum. There is no mention of the expected sale price (there seems to be a reserve), but knowing how these things usually go, it will probably sell for a lot less than it actually cost to make.

Just to give you a starting point, I'll remind you that a brand new, but unmodified Road King Special presently goes for $24,999. A 2012 Road King, on the other hand, can be had on the used bike market for anywhere between $7,000 and $19,000, depending on condition and features.

We'll keep an eye out for this build and report back with how it did during the auction because Harleys, especially customized ones, don't pop up on the block very often.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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