Category: Harley Davidson

Patina in Spades: 1958 Harley Davidson XLH Sportster for Sale

1958 Harley XLH Sportster R Front

I don’t generally write up Harleys, simply because I’m not that familiar with the brand. That’s probably a result of their current reliance on cutting-edge 1960’s technology and the company’s lifestyle marketing: it looks to me like they’re basically cashing in on a culture of 1%’er badassdom that you really can’t simply buy your way into. That recent commercial, where the guy on the $25,000 touring bike with $1,000 worth of branded gear and a big, smug smile ignores a call from his boss?

Yeah, you’re a real rebel, man. A True. Bad. Ass.

But the guy I saw on a bagger in Jersey City last year at Popeye’s, with his old lady in tow, a freaking 12-inch knife worn openly on his hip, and a patch that read, “Hell’s Angels Knock-Out Crew”? He might have something to say to you about that.

“Bad ass” is the kind of image you’ve got to earn.

1958 Harley XLH Sportster L Tank

So the company’s current engineering and marketing leave a bad taste in my mouth and, for the most part, their sporting heritage isn’t in the kind of roadracing and sporty street machines we cover on this site. As a result, I don’t generally know all that much about vintage Harleys, excepting rebadged Aermacchis. But my snobbish attitude does a great disservice to serious riders and racers who favor vintage American iron: I’ve seen guys banging rigid-frame, tank-shift Harleys around NJMP and that kind of thing is impressive as hell.

Besides, unrestored vintage motorcycles that look this classic and “fire right up and ride smooth as butter” are always cool.

1958 Harley XLH Sportster Dash

Introduced in 1957, the Sportster was HD’s solution when the British invasion forced The Motor Company to evolve or die. Powered by the evocatively-named “Ironhead” [three guesses as to why] overhead-valve 883cc engine, the XLH [the “H” was for “Hot”] featured a higher-compression engine and is relatively rare. On that subject: other than the recent “Twin Cam,” Harleys really do have the best-named engines. Who wouldn’t want a “Knucklehead” in their garage? Or a “Pan-Knuckle”?

Also: dual keys?! Any old Harley fans in the audience want to clarify for me the two keys in the dash and what they both do?

1958 Harley XLH Sportster R Side Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1958 Harley Davidson XLH Sportster for Sale

Here we have a 1958 XLH Sportster that is unrestored original paint. The white paint on the tank appears to be touched up at some point but all of the black paint is untouched. This is only the second year for the Sportster model and one of the most sought after ones with the one year only type plastic tank emblems and yes they are the original ones with the rivets and gaskets. This machine also has the 2 into one pipes with the rare original muffler.  Also has the original carb. with the correct air cleaner with the script on top. Rolling on its original rims and 3.50-18 Goodyear tires.  Same owner since 1960 up until this year. You just dont see many unrestored early Sportsters in this condition. This Sportster fires right up and runs and rides as smooth as butter. This bike also comes with the original tools, manual, old aftermarket signals, title battery tender, and other misc. papers.

Bidding is up to $8,500 and pretty active, with three days to go. It may look a bit rough around the edges, but the miles are relatively low and the seller claims it runs just fine. Patina isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but you’re unlikely to find a Sportster as original as this one.

-tad

1958 Harley XLH Sportster L Side

1967 Harley-Davidson rolling chassis

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This might be a first for Classic Sports Bikes For Sale, a 1967 Harley-Davidson Road Racing rolling chassis, add your own engine. Would you call it plug and play? Plug in your engine and go play?

$_3 (4)

From the seller

Believed to be Harley-Davidson KR, part #’s on Frame and Motor Mount indicate 1967 Vintage. Roller minus motor, cables, wiring, oil tank, etc., etc. Barn find project Never been completely assembled.  EBay fill-in forms made me say it had a clear title – there is NO title.  They also made me say it was new – it is NOT new.  It has been sitting for years and years.  Can help with shipping at buyer’s expense, International buyers welcome. Seller assumes No responsibility once the Item has left the sellers care and custody. I reserve the right to end this auction early

$_3 (1)

Now it is going to be a lot more then just plug and play to get this to the track. But there is so much here on this Harley-Davidson road racing rolling chassis; Full fairing, seat, front and rear tires and wheels. I would guess that you could take most years Sportsters and with little effort change it into a very nice road racing replica. BB

$_3 (3)

 

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From the Comment Section it was added that this frame will only accept K model engines. Road going K Sportsters, or maybe this K Flathead which appears to have a racing background.

$_57

1973 Harley Davidson Custom Cafe Racer

1973 Harley Cafe L Side

Now here’s something you don’t see all that often: a Harley Davidson café racer.  When I think of a “custom Harley”, I usually picture something far more overwrought, more about style than function, an “everything is better with chrome” mentality… Although the current trend towards a more baroque “steampunk” bobber vibe, while more aesthetically appealing, still doesn’t really fit in with this site’s mission…

Most Harley Sportsters really aren’t all that sporty, especially when we’re talking about modern models: heavy and underpowered, with relatively poor brakes and no cornering clearance to speak of.  But this bike certainly looks the business, and Harley has a racing heritage on the flat-tracks and the dirt tracks all across America that The Motor Company really seems to be neglecting these days, in favor of “bad to the bone” style over substance.

1973 Harley Cafe R Side

“Ironhead” Sportsters are reputed to be pretty underpowered and unreliable, but sound great and are very easy to work on.  So they’ll fit right in with the British bikes we feature on this site…  This particular Harley is lean and pretty mean, with what appears to be a genuine focus on performance: it even has a rear suspension!  And two front discs!

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Harley Davidson Custom Cafe Racer

1973 sporty cafe built last year. Many hand built items on the bike, stainless exhaust, foot controls, handlebars,one off tanks and seat.Rebuilt motor with dual plug heads,cams, larger valves,s&s carb. GMA hand controls, 18 inch excel wheels with stainless spokes.Has won multiple shows and is in the current december issue of the horse backstreet choppers magazine. Solid bike that ive ridden all over the place. Selling to fund next project.

This is a simple, classic-looking bike.  I just wish the seller had included some more photos and details: he mentions “many hand built items” but doesn’t really go into much of an explanation.  There’s been no bidding on this and there’s very little time left, which seems a shame, considering what seems to be a low, low starting bid: if the reserve is anywhere near the $5,500 Starting Bid, it seems like a steal….

If you’re handy with a set of wrenches and want something that’s both fun to ride and a little bit different from all of those Triumph, Norton, and Johnny-come-lately Honda café bikes, this could be your machine.  I’m not often tempted by Harleys, but this is one I’d ride.  Someone go bid on it, quick!

-tad

1973 Harley Cafe L Rear

 

 

Impossibly Low-Mileage1977 Harley-Davidson XLCR Cafe Racer for Sale

1977 Harley XLCR L Rear

The sinister black Harley Davidson XLCR brings to mind Spinal Tap’s infamous Smell The Glove album cover: “It’s like, how much more black can it be?  And the answer is none.  None more black.” 

It’s a very menacing beast, and looks ready to tear your arms out the moment you twist the throttle.  But, although the bodywork was very racy, the XLCR was all show and not so much go: it was standard Harley underneath, meaning four speeds in the box and pushrods working the valves of the 998cc not-particularly-sporty Ironhead Sportster motor: internals and fueling were all standard.  An antiquated frame made of bits from several models, spindly forks, and fairly primitive suspension didn’t do it any favors in the corners either.  Aside from the exhaust and the triple-disc brakes, this was a very conventional parts-bin special.

1977 Harley XLCR R Tank

But that’s not necessarily a problem, since bikes made with proven, relatively inexpensive parts can be great to ride and good for the bottom line.  Ducati’s evergreen Monster is proof of that, the sales of which actually kept the company afloat for quite a few years.

And the XLCR certainly looks the part, so it’s surprising it didn’t sell well.  Or maybe not: Harley has become relatively notorious for endlessly looking towards the past for inspiration, and perhaps the cafe-racer trend wasn’t old enough at the time to appeal to the very traditional Harley enthusiasts, who didn’t want any European influences spoiling their rides…

1977 Harley XLCR R Front

Or maybe it was just the high price and limited performance that kept buyers of Italian, British, and Japanese performance machinery away.

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Harley Davidson XLCR for Sale

All original in new condition with 2 miles. Never restored or ridden. It’s been in my collection for the past 4 years and I have had it displayed my living room. I have clear title and comes with AMF keys. Your chance to own a piece of Harley Davidson History in museum condition.  This bike has never been on the road!!! It will need to have the carbs cleaned before taking her riding. Absolutely a gorgeous bike!

1977 Harley XLCR R Engine

Regardless of why they didn’t sell well at the time, there aren’t all that many of these around.  Which is a shame, since it’s a very handsome machine, with perhaps my favorite Harley exhaust.  I really dislike the traditional, staggered exhausts on sporty[ish] HD’s, but this unusual, siamesed treatment is graceful and tough at the same time.

1977 Harley XLCR L Cockpit

So the XLCR is not really a café racer in anything but name, but that’s okay: it’s a vintage machine, and riders should be expecting vintage performance. The XLCR’s dynamic limitations are a little more acceptable these days, and they’ve got style by the bucketload.  At the time, it was considered an odd duck, not accepted by Harley fans, not fast enough for the racer crowd.  Now, its classic style and rarity make it a collectors item.  This one is beautiful, although the extremely low miles suggest it might be better in your living room than your garage.

-tad

1977 Harley XLCR L Engine

1963 Harley Davidson KRTT Factory Racer

1963 Harley Davidson Racer L Side

With Harley’s current emphasis on chaps, vests, and attitude, it’s easy to forget that they were a real force in racing for many years.  When I first saw this bike, I thought it was an Aermacchi, but peeking out from behind the fairing is the rear cylinder and enormous air-cleaner of Harley’s iconic air-cooled v-twin.

1963 Harley Davidson Racer L Engine

Made between 1952-1969, the KRTT was powered by a side-valve, 750cc engine.  It was a brutal machine, the antithesis of the light, flickable superbikes of today, but it was effective.  They were fast, but tiring to pilot and were eventually outpaced by lighter and nimbler competition from Europe.

1963 Harley Davidson Racer L Rear

Not much information in the ad, but this one is certainly worth your curiosity. From the very emphatic original eBay listing: 1963 Harley Davidson Factory Road Racer

1963 KRTT, RESTORED SOME YEARS AGO BY JEFF GILBERT, MOTOR BY GARY BRAY
BEEN IN A PRIVATE MUSEUM FOR YEARS, AND IN MY COLLECT FOR A COUPLE AS WELL.. ALWAYS IN CLIMATE CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT!!
ONLY A HAND FULL BUILT, AND NOT MANY REMAIN.. 1ST YEAR FOR THE FAIRINGS USED IN R/RACING, PER AMA.. MR-4 CARB., RIBBED BRAKE DRUMS,H.D TACHOMETER,FAIRBANKS MAGNETO,19″ ALLOY RIMS,GELL COAT FUEL TANK, ETC-ETC-ETC..
RESTORED AS THE 1963 DAYTONA 200 WINNER, RALPH WHITE #15 BEHIND THE CONTROLS! CAN NOT LOCATE WHAT MOTOR # WAS ON THAT WINNING MACHINE, SO NOT SURE IF THIS IS IT OR NOT.. BUT, I DO HAVE RECORDS SHOWING WITH THIS ENGINE #, THAT EDDIE WIRTH, MANHATTAN BEACH, CA. RACED THIS KR@ THE SPRINGFIELD MILE,50-MILE EXPERT EVENT, IN DIRT TRACK FORM, WITH # 94X-IN 1966..
DISPLAYS WELL, POSSIBLY MORE HISTORIC THAN WHAT INFORMATION HAS BEEN FOUND SO FAR.. I HAVE GONE THROUGH THIS MACHINE TO THE POINT, WITH FUEL AND OILS, SHE RUN!
1963 Harley Davidson Racer Dash
This is a very rare machine and appears to be in beautiful shape.  Painted up in what is, I think, the best interpretation of HD’s iconic orange and black paint scheme ever, this KRTT is perhaps too collectable to see actual use, especially since the listing implies that more research is necessary to determine the bike’s full racing history.  Seems a shame though: I’m sure it vibrates like a dryer full of hammers, but it’d be worth the numb hands to turn a couple laps on a bike like this.

-tad

1963 Harley Davidson Racer R Side

1952 Harley-Davidson K Model

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The way that I have heard the story is that men who had served over seas came home and were looking for those great bikes they rode over there. So Harley-Davidson wanted to give them that, and this 1952 Harley-Davidson K Model is what they gave them. A unit constructed Flat Head. Really? A Flat Head? Same design since the dawn of time? Harley had an OHV racer since the ‘20’s. Their Knucklehead had overhead since the 1930’s. So why a sporting Flat Head? There was that whole AMA rule about 750cc flat heads able to race head to head against 500cc OHV machines. Hmmm?

$T2eC16R,!wsE9suwydiQBRzLiYs3w!~~60_3

From the seller

Here’s my 1952 Harley Davidson K Model . This was a original converted to dirt track model .This has the original alloy frame that always broke at the lower head ,you can see a Frankenstein bracket there could be cleaned off ,but looks like they reinforced it to help with racing service.  I rode this around 5 years ago and it ran real well. Stored since and looks to need magneto work . Kicks through and all gears work and has a good working clutch. belly numbers match. It also has a bombsight carb correct.  I’ve gathered most of the original missing parts like ing. switches and fender, covers and a Harley correct generator.. No broken fins, Everything in nice condition. Speedo works and i have the original headlamp bulb! being sold as is,   NOTE with a notarized bill of sale only.

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Now I might be wrong on the reasons behind the design that would come to be known as the Sportster, but it is something different. The Sportster has always had a unique place at Harley-Davidson, one that appears to have been like that of a foster child, and not one of its own. But an informal survey of the inter-web shows an apparent warming to the Sportster line. More custom bikes, more aftermarket parts? This 1952 Harley-Davidson K Model started it all and looks good now, patina and all. This may be the right time to get ahead of the trend. The K Model is really a bike I would like to own, old Flat Head, new sporty look. And yes, I would start looking for a KR TT full fairing.   BB

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1972 Harley-Davidson XRTT

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Are you ready to go all the way to Germany to get a piece of America? This 1975 H-D XRTT is located in Germany and the seller hints that there might have been a magazine write up on this bike in 2011. Hinting also that the frame my be European in design, drive by the massive American air pump.

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From the seller

Harley-Davidson XRTT 750

you are bidding on an original Harley-Davidson Bike

factory racer from Harley-Davidson build date 1972

one report, see the classic Moto 6/2011

full function Bike , a true rarity

The American way of drive share with European chassis

The first one its kind that had aluminium cylinders and cylinder heads.

Enclosed you will find the original scan obsolete

Location is Germany

Please only serious persons who are interested

Good Luck with your offer!

$T2eC16FHJGYE9nooiJfTBQyg75mi+g~~60_12

The XRTT was designed to be competitive after the 1969 AMA Grand National rule changes. Prior to 1969 the 750cc Harley-Davidson had a size advantage over its 500cc competitors. The rules allowed Flat Head motors to run up to 750cc to compete against 500cc max OHV engines. H-D did not have to invest in “New” OHV technology, and could use basically the same design from before WWII. Wonder who wanted to keep those rules?

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Harley had the basic design of the new for 1970 XR in the Iron head Sportsters offered to the public. Modifing the cylinders, the heads and improving the oil flow were all needed to produce a racing engine from a street engine. The basic frame was held over from the flat head KR bikes. This one offered up is dressed up in the sexy TT configuration. AMA Grand National points were earned on short and long Flat Tracks, as well as left and right turning road courses, called TT. I am guessing that there are not that many Flat Tracks in Germany where this bike is located.

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This Harley-Davidson XRTT is both sexy and a piece of history. There are other motorcycles that show a technological jump of a manufacture, but few seemed to be forced. The big company in Milwaukee had major influence over the American racing scene since the beginning of the century, being able to control the racing rules, and effect sales on Monday. With the XRTT H-D had to change its tune and develop a motor similar to those used around the world since the 1930’s. The fact that they didn’t have to do it until 1970 is both a victory, and a tragedy. This 1972 Harley-Davidson XRTT is new technology, just a few decades late. But that didn’t stop it from putting some large trophies on some riders mantles. BB

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XL Cafe Racer Project

The term Cafe Racer has been used a lot lately, almost to the point of annoyance. Just put some clubman’s on your Honda, paint it flat black and call it Cafe Racer. Back in the 60’s and 70’s that was not the case though. Many Americans did not know what a Cafe Racer was nor did they care. When Harley saw the popularity in other countries they must have thought they could hitch their wagon to that term and makes some profits. The problem was, Harley riders wanted big, loud, 2-up, cross country bikes that reminded them of the ol’ days so they didn’t buy the XLCR. The people who were buying Sport bikes associated Harley’s with big, loud, 2-up cross, country bikes so they didn’t buy them either. That caused the XLCR to only be produced for 1977-78 and it was considered a flop. Well, yesterday’s flops are today’s collectables.

1978 Harley Davidson Sportster XLCR Cafe Racer for sale on eBay

Here’s what the seller has to say.

1978 Harley Davidson Sportster, XLCR Cafe Racer.  These rare bikes were designed by Wille G. Davidson himself and only produced for a couple of years (77-79) with less than 3500 total ever produced for sale.  A rare find and a piece of true USA motorcycle history, not to mention one very cool ride.  This exsample is a barn find and will need some work to fully restore but “everything” is orignal and the motor is free, so should not involve too much to bring her back to her former glory.  I have manuals, parts book and some spares to go with her to assist in the restoration.  On a scale of 1 to 10 for the foundation of a project bike I would rate this XLCR as an 8+.  She is not missing any of the impossible to find parts, sheet metal is good, bike is in good overall condition and has a clear title, ready to go.  Email me with any questions.  I reserve the right to close the auction early as this XLCR is for sale localy as well.

I just read that these bikes are worth about $9000 for a nice one. The seller claims that this one has all the rare goodies that you can’t find and that it’s all original. Saying “the motor is free” means it doesn’t run so keep that in mid if you’re thinking of bidding. Does have a title though. I think his starting bid is about what it’s worth based on how much work you’d have to put into it. You won’t accidentally find yourself going a 140 mph on this or be dragging your knees on the first corner. They only go about 100 mph and they handle just ok. For some reason I find myself wanting one of these though. Maybe it’s because my Dad has been riding HD’s for 50 years. Anyway, the XLCR is guaranteed to go up in value and be a very fun project so go get it. 

~Buck

A Tasty Buzz and Some Flat Tracks: 1980 Harley Davidson XR750

95 BHP + 300 lbs = Awesome! Why HD stopped making race bikes is something I will never really grasp. These bikes dominated the flat track circuit and still do in some cases. I know Rotax is building an engine that can beat the XR750 on the track now but we’re not talking about engines being built today. We’re talking about classic sport bikes. Bikes that people grew up watching make history. The XR750 is the one bike that brings a lot of MC enthusiasts together. It’s the bike that even the biggest HD hater appreciate. To me it’s one of the coolest bikes ever made. Perfect styling, great power to weight ratio and carries with it a lot of racing history. This bike is ready to ride or put on the mantel above your fireplace. I’ll give you one guess as to which option I’d choose.

Here’s the sellers info:

1980 HARLEY DAVIDSON XR750 FLAT TRACK RACE BIKE. SERIAL# 1C10002J01. THIS WAS THE FIRST 1980 THAT WAS ASSEMBLED ON JANUARY 30TH, 1980 AND WAS SHIPPED TO GEORGE ROEDER, A GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPION AND LAND SPEED RECORD HOLDER OF ROEDER HARLEY DAVIDSON, SANDUSKY, OHIO. THIS IS CERITIFIED WITH A LETTER SENT FROM HARLY DAVISON THAT GOES WITH THE BIKE. MOTORCYCLE HAS BEEN RE-DONE, ENGINE DOES RUN & CAN BE RODE, HAS BEEN IN CLIMATE CONTROL BUILDING SINCE. PAINT SCHEME CHANGED SINCE RESTORED. DID RUN NUMBER 66 AND 94 PLATE. I HAVE MORE HISTORY.

I subtract some points for the custom paint because part of the deal for me is the stock XR750 logo but I wouldn’t kick it out of bed for eating crackers. The 2011 Mid America auctions sold one of these from the same year a $22 000. That one didn’t have the history of this one and wasn’t as clean. Be prepared to plunk down some serious coin for this one.  

-Buck

1975 AMF Harley-Davidson Aermacci RR250

What do you get when you combine the style of Italy, a manufacture in Wisconsin, the money from bowling alleys and a little smoke? You get a 1975 AMF Harley Davidson Aermacci RR250 two stroke. A World Champion motorcycle that dominated for 3 years and then disappeared. The seller says that it is museum quality, and offers a bill of sale from The Chandler Museum, so you get a good idea what the bike has been doing for the last few years.

From the seller

This is one of the only Road Race bike’s that Harley Davidson Won A World Championship with, they dominated until the Japanese caught up on the design, anyone looking knows the history, the bike has compression and spark, compliance fittings are dry rotted as is the tach mount(just a large o ring), does have tech stickers, not sure who raced it but it was raced, comes with the Bill Of Sale From the Chandler Museum, and a title. The front brake calipers are; Motor -Scrab-Mozzi

Walter Villa was the Harley Davidson factory rider who took the RR250 to three consecutive World Titles in 1974, 1975, and 1976, and a 350cc Title in 1976 as well. The first Title coincide with the first year that the RR got its water jackets. First put to work in 1971 the RR250 and its brother the RR350, were Works racers only, no companion bikes offered to the public. The first air cooled short stroke 250’s produced 50hp at 10,000rpm. The engine and transmission design was unique in that you could quickly disconnect the engine, and simply plug in another 250cc unit, or the 350cc unit.

In 1974 Aermacci added the water jacket and the power jumped to 58hp at 12,000rpm. This combined with a light 230lbs was a factor in Walter Villa’s victory. While looking into the RR, I found an interesting way to stop the bike. Unlike this RR250 offered up on eBay, the factory bikes had an internal disk wheel by Campagnolo. Only being able to look from the outside, I am still trying to figure out how this might work.

By 1975 Harley started to offer the RR to privateers, but had poor technical support, and a poor parts supply. It was about this time the Aermacci and Harley started a 500cc two stroke project. The plug was pulled by AMF, the money at Harley during this time, because road racing was not necessary to win AMA National Championship in the US. There was no incentive to put money into a discipline that would not generate money in the showroom.

With the emergence of the Japanese in the two stroke power struggle, and the cash conscious managers at Harley Davidson, this RR250 offered up on eBay is a window into The Motor Company history. With the purchase of Aermacci, the experiment that was Italian bikes in the land of Hogs, this 2-stroke smoke generator did not last long. But while it was on the track, 3 World Titles are not a bad resume. If you are looking for a Vintage racer, you will not find many like this. That is if you see any. BB