1972 Harley-Davidson XRTT Roadracer Frame no. 47675-7 Engine no. 1C10179H2

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Lot 291
1972 Harley-Davidson XRTT Roadracer

Frame no. 47675-7
Engine no. 1C10179H2

Sold for US$ 43,700 inc. premium
1972 Harley-Davidson XRTT Roadracer

Frame no. 47675-7
Engine no. 1C10179H2

Harley-Davidson's XRTT will always hold a high place in American motorcycle history, remembered as the motorcycle that brazenly informed the rest of the world that Yanks could roadrace. That it happens to be one of the most handsome competition bikes ever certainly doesn't hurt.

The XRTT's distinctive shape burst onto the world stage in the spring of 1972 when team rider Cal Rayborn accepted an invitation to ride in the Trans-Atlantic Match Race series, a yearly six-race tilt on the UK's short circuits that had America's top racers, primarily dirt-trackers, lined up against England's best pavement artists. Nobody gave the Americans much of a chance, and even the Harley-Davidson factory wasn't crazy about Rayborn's participation. This was before the all-alloy version of the XR-750 V-twin was ready for prime time, so Rayborn went into battle with the old iron-barrel XR, an engine that ran so hot it was nicknamed the "Waffle Iron." Cool English weather helped keep the tired motor together, though, and Rayborn put in masterful performances on tracks so unfamiliar to him that he only knew their layouts from hastily drawn diagrams on the back of cocktail napkins. Slack-jawed Brit crowds numbering as high as 70,000 saw Rayborn set lap records and take the checkered flag in three of the six contests, tying for top scorer of the series. In the coming decades Americans would come to dominate international roadracing, but it was Cal Rayborn in 1972 on an aging Harley-Davidson who first served notice.

The XRTT was a much better machine with the redesigned alloy XR-750 in its engine bay, and Rayborn gave Harley-Davidson its last-ever AMA Grand National roadrace win at Laguna Seca Raceway later that year, but the bike's days were numbered. Multi-cylinder Japanese two-strokes would come to rule American roadracing, relegating the XR-750 engine to dirt tracks where it became – and still is – almost unbeatable.

Factory XRTTs were never built in great numbers, no more than two dozen, with some experts estimating only half that amount. Those few that survived their racing days are now in museums or well-funded private collections. Genesis for this bike was a genuine early alloy engine, which was then entrusted to noted XR specialist shop Hi-Speed in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Longtime Harley dirt-track tuner Carl Patrick went completely through the motor, which was then installed in a frame built to Hi-Speed specs using factory blueprints. Sourcing the rest of the parts and final assembly took Hi-Speed the better part of two years, and shop owner John Steel is justifiably proud of the results. "To the best of our ability, this is what a brand-new XRTT would have looked like as it rolled out of the factory doors," he says.

Under present ownership this truly immaculate XRTT has been on display only, stored without fluids and not started.

Footnotes

  • Offered on a bill of sale.
Contacts
1972 Harley-Davidson XRTT Roadracer Frame no. 47675-7 Engine no. 1C10179H2
1972 Harley-Davidson XRTT Roadracer Frame no. 47675-7 Engine no. 1C10179H2
1972 Harley-Davidson XRTT Roadracer Frame no. 47675-7 Engine no. 1C10179H2
1972 Harley-Davidson XRTT Roadracer Frame no. 47675-7 Engine no. 1C10179H2
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