Ex-Navy – 1972 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLA

In America, Cruiser by AbhiLeave a Comment

Post Sale Update: Bidding originally did not meet reserve with 3 bids up to $12,000 on eBay in Walnut, California. The seller then relisted the bike and sold it for a BIN of $15,000.

5-13-20 Update: Three years later, this XLA is back up for sale. The seller includes an appraisal from Jeff Hyman at Classic Auto Appraiser, who claims that documentation from “the Harley-Davidson Archive and Heritage Service confirm that this was the only XLA that was delivered to the US Navy.” I’d love to see that paperwork!

Find it for sale in Walnut, California with an unmet opening bid of $9,000 here on eBay.

Post Listing Update: This XLA was pulled off of eBay because there was an error in the listing.

One of the rarest motorcycles that Harley-Davidson ever built, the XLA was produced in response to a request from the US Government for a patrol bike. Just 418 were sold, and according to the seller this is one of the final 30 because ’72 was the last year for the XLA.

Harley started production of XLAs in 1957, and as you’d expect it was fairly similar to the civvy XL. Changes included larger fuel tanks without HD branding, Firestone tires, enclosed shocks, wider handlebars, and a few other pieces that were optional on the XL. For more information on this rare Harley, check out this write-up on the XLA from Riding Vintage. According to the seller, this is possibly one of one example built for the Navy, who specified an example with no chrome. He says he’s got some documentation to back up these claims, and I’d definitely be taking a close look at them before pulling the trigger.

How the bike looked pre-restoration.

This example (VIN: 4D52301H2) is now claimed to be museum quality thanks to a year long restoration that included over $20,000 in parts. It’s now said to be just like it came out of the original crate. I just wish there was a photo of what this bike looked like when it was new. If you want to do a little more research, you can start by finding this XLA for sale in Walnut, California with bidding up to $18,200 and the reserve not yet met