Rare Project – 1942 Harley-Davidson XA

In America, Cruiser by AbhiLeave a Comment

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Post Sale Update: This XA sold for $33,544 after 6 bids on eBay.


During World War II, the US Government asked HD to build a motorcycle similar to what BMW was making for the Germans – with shaft drive, boxer engine, and other features that made the bikes low maintenance. The Harley-Davidson XA was born. XA stands for eXperimental Army, and 1000 units were built for evaluation purposes. By the time the run was completed, however, the Army decided that the future of personnel transport was the GP – or what we now know as the Jeep. Harley was already making a simpler bike for the military called the WLA, and that was determined to be sufficient for the basic motorcycle usage needed by the military.

The XA featured a 740cc flat twin (boxer) engine that produced 23 horsepower. This was good fro a top speed of 65 miles per hour. Interesting tidbit of info from the AMA Hall of Fame museum – because the boxer twin puts cylinders out into the air stream, the oil temp of the XA engine was 100 degrees (Fahrenheit) cooler than the standard Harley V-Twin of the time. Estimates state that there are possibly 300 of the original 1,000 left, with possibly just 60 remaining as functional units. Want to learn more? Check out this page on Jeff Dean’s BMW site!

This example is not one of the 60 remaining functional XAs as it’s going to need some work. The good news is that it’s mostly complete and it runs (poorly). It was sitting in a dealership for over 35 years and has just made its way to the seller, the Wheels Through Time museum. They note that it has the original military speedometer, the mufflers “appear to be NOS”, and it’s missing the front engine cover. They also note that this is one of 60 examples that came with the solid disc wheels.

Find this Harley-Davidson XA for sale in Maggie Valley, North Carolina with an unmet opening bid of $17,900

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