From Warr's Harley-Davidson, 1957 Harley-Davidson 883cc XL Sportster  Engine no. 57XL1211

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Lot 444
From Warr's Harley-Davidson, 1957 Harley-Davidson 883cc XL Sportster
Registration no. 554 XVA Engine no. 57XL1211

Sold for £ 17,250 (US$ 22,454) inc. premium
From Warr's Harley-Davidson
1957 Harley-Davidson 883cc XL Sportster
Registration no. 554 XVA
Engine no. 57XL1211
• Landmark first-year model
• Dating from the first month of production
• Recent professional restoration

'Insiders knew that another overhead-valve twin was in the works, and that the new cylinders would be bolted to the K model bottom end. Hopes were not exceptionally high. But the doubters were all but dumbstruck when the XL showed up lean, mean and ready for the green.' – Tod Rafferty, 'The Complete Harley-Davidson Encyclopaedia.

The evocatively titled Sportster has been a permanent feature of the Harley-Davidson line-up since its arrival for 1957. Intended to compete with the sportier British parallel twins, and those offered by home-based rivals Indian, the XL Sportster was leaner and meaner than previous Harleys and boasted an all-new overhead-valve v-twin engine producing 40bhp. This new power unit went into the chassis of the Model K. Introduced in 1952, the 45ci Model K was Harley's final 'flat-head'. Almost a complete break with the past, the K had adopted ideas from Europe: unitary construction of the engine/transmission, swinging-arm rear suspension, foot operated gear change, and hand clutch, but despite better handling than its similar-sized predecessor, proved little faster. The arrival of the 883cc overhead-valve engine would change all that. Progressively improved and updated, the ever-popular Sportster remains Harley's top-selling model today.

One of the first Sportsters manufactured, '1211' was completed in September 1956, the first month of production of the '57 Sportster. The machine features the 1957-only DC-1 carburettor, choke, and air cleaner assembly, and has the correct fully ribbed front mudguard brackets, original side stand, and rare Speedster handlebars. Benefiting from a recent professional restoration in the USA, the Sportster has had only four owners, the second from 1962 to 2014, a period of 53 years. It is offered for sale by renowned marque specialists, Warr's of London, Europe's oldest Harley-Davidson dealership. The machine was last run in March 2018 and is presented in excellent condition. Offered with a current V5C document, it represents a rare opportunity to acquire an early example of Harley-Davidson's iconic Sportster.

Footnotes

  • As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.
Contacts
From Warr's Harley-Davidson, 1957 Harley-Davidson 883cc XL Sportster  Engine no. 57XL1211
From Warr's Harley-Davidson, 1957 Harley-Davidson 883cc XL Sportster  Engine no. 57XL1211
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