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.
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.
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?
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.