Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe XLCR is painted a lurid, but still non-traditional red. It’s also a project bike, but will its price still have you breaking out the green?
In The Six Million Dollar Man, Steve Majors goes all Humpty Dumpty in a space plane accident. The powers that be rebuild him to be better than ever and he goes on to use his superpowers to fight for justice. In Robo Cop, (go Robo!) officer Alex Murphy gets shot all to pieces by some bad hombres. The powers to be rebuild him to be better than ever and he goes on to use his superpowers to fight for justice.
Are you sensing a trend here? Well, consider then yesterday’s custom 1971 Porsche 911 as a trend buster. That’s because after it was stripped by thieves and rebuilt using Strosek Design bodywork, the only justice it sought was in its selling price and in that instance, it lost in a 90% Crack Pipe vote. I’m guessing that means it won’t get a remake.
Quick, stop what you’re doing and think “Café racer.” What first comes to mind? Is it a Harley Davidson Sportster? Yeah, I didn’t think so. In fact, unless your name is Erik Buell you probably wouldn’t equate Harley’s loping lump of a V-twin with the speed-is-the-need track antics of the Café community. Except that someone at Harley once did.
The legend is that the someone was none other than Willie G. Davidson, grandson of Harley Davidson founder William A. Davidson, and at the time in the mid-seventies the design lead at the Milwaukee-based company. The story goes that Davidson originally wanted a Café-style bike as his own personal ride but was so taken with the slimmed-down Sportster built for him that a production version was commissioned.
The result was the XLCR 1000. The bikes were built between 1977 and ’79, and all featured black paint, a bikini fairing, siamesed dual exhaust pipes, gold badging, alloy wheels, and a Joan Jett-bad attitude.
The bikes were based on the XLCH Sportster but that bike’s fat gas tank and standard bars were tossed in favor of a dirt track bike’s tank and tucked-in grips. A fared seat and all-black trim added to the bike’s purposeful look.
Unfortunately it was all for naught. In total, only about 3,100 XLCRs were built over the course of its run and the bean counters at AMF—then Harley’s parent corporation—killed the model in ’79.
I should note that an XLCR is the only Harley model that I have ever ridden so I can’t really compare it to the brand’s other models, only to the contemporary Triumphs and Hondas that I have also experienced. Compared to those bikes, the Harley proved to be an enigma, too fat and with the wrong geometry to be a Café bike, but still too good looking and cool to be dismissed outright.
Here we have a 1977 XLCR that is unfortunately missing a good bit of what makes an XLCR and XLCR. The red paint looks great, but it’s not factory. The wrapped straight pipes also look pretty sweet and probably are louder than a fart on a first date, but where are the original conjoined twins? The oval air-cleaner has also gone missing, as has much of the badging.
Still, it looks tits, right?
What does this bike need? Probably everything, however the incredibly brief ad copy notes that it could be either restored or just ridden as-is. I’d vote for a restoration as I wouldn’t trust those creepy-looking brakes or the coprolitic tires. The ad also notes that the 1,000-cc OHV V-twin “runs good,” and that the four-speed gearbox “shifts good,” both compelling testaments in the bike’s favor. That engine by the way was good from the factory for 57-horsepower, and 67 lb-ft of torque.
The asking price for this one of 3,100 piece of history is $5,995, and it should be noted that nice ones go for twice that and more when they come up for grabs. This one however is in need of some work, so keep that in mind. What do you think, is this rare Harley worth $5,995? Or, is that too much for this not-so-nice Café?
Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a fixed-price tip, and remember to include your Kinja handle.