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Patina Is Good, and This Harley-Davidson Barn Find is the Proof

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If you’re ever lucky enough to find something old and cool in a barn somewhere, this bike is proof that you should absolutely keep it as you found it, refreshing everything so it works again, and leaving well enough alone. Having sympathy for the machine and its hard years on this earth, that’s exactly what Full Moon Cycle did with this 1960 H-D Sportster drag racing bike. It’s exactly as they found it, except it runs and rides. More shops could learn something from their tactics with this project.

This drag racing Harley XLCH was modified in-period in the early 1960s with parts from various other Harley models, as well as some proper race components and custom machining. The wheelbase has been extended, the bike sits lower than stock, and the bars are obviously lower. The bike produced about 55 horsepower new, but the seller states they think the compression has been bumped from 9:1 up to 11:1. With the cylinder head work, a bored out carburetor, and a free flow true-dual exhaust, it’s probably up a decent amount from stock.


In period, everything from the chain cover to the rear fender was drilled with speed holes, and a big fat drag radial was added to the rear, while a skinny low-resistance front tire is there just to keep the bike rolling. This thing looks the absolute business, and aparently goes just as fast as it looks. From the listing, I guess it likes to lift that front wheel a lot, too.


The tires are just one of the many things Full Moon did to the bike to get it back up to snuff. The wheels were re-spoked and trued up. The transmission was given a full rebuild, while the engine was pulled open and treated to new gaskets and seals. It is said to run quite strong, but it apparently smokes as bad as its rider probably did in the ‘60s. Perhaps that engine needs have the cases split and the pistons re-ring’d.

What was an impressive race bike in the early 1960s has been turned into a piece of art by the sands of time. I applaud Full Moon for keeping that worn and ridden look intact while returning it back to ride-worthiness. It should definitely stay like this, as a testament to its longevity, until the heat death of the universe. It’s perfect, and now you can make it yours.

Following a good showing at the Meltdown Drags (a drag racing event for pre-1970 vintage equipment) and the Mama Tried custom motorcycle show, the bike has been placed for sale on eBay.


Harley is obsessed with the company’s heritage and history, but this is the piece of its history that it should really be focusing on. And leave the patina, please.