The earliest known Harley-Davidson Sportster in existence could be yours.
The first-year model believed to be the 10th XL883 produced in 1957
is being auctioned in Las Vegas by Bonhams next January.
The Sportster is one of many rare bikes to go under the hammer.
Also on the block will be a restored 1933 Harley-Davidson VLE police bike that saw duty on the streets of Chicago before being cast in the Kevin Costner gangster movie The Untouchables.
But don’t expect these and other bikes to be a bargain as last year’s $2.6 million Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction at Bally’s Hotel & Casino featured a world record price paid for a bike – the 1939 BMW Rennsport 255 Kompressor – at nearly $500,000.
Next January’s auction features more than 50 bikes from the extensive Wayne Pierce family museum, all offered at no reserve.
In business for 55 years, Pierce Harley-Davidson was one of the last remaining true “Mom & Pop” motorcycle dealerships. Wayne “Pappy” Pierce started his shop in the 1950s in a one-room tin shed in DeKalb, Illinois, with wife Eleanor tending the books. The Harley dealership quickly grew and at one point Triumph motorcycles were added to the showroom, several of which are included in this sale.
The earliest machine in the collection is a 1926 Harley-Davidson JD with unique canoe-style sidecar (pictured).
Among the rarest is a 1971 Harley Sportster XLH with the controversial Willie G. Davidson-designed “boat tail” bodywork that was available for just two model years. This restored bike also wears the optional 4-gallon long-range gas tank and stock Siamesed exhaust system, both very hard-to-find items.
Barn-find aficionados will be interested in the Pierce’s authentic and unrestored 1947 Knucklehead wearing period aftermarket accessories. And for military collectors there’s a fully outfitted 1942 WLA, complete with gun scabbard and rifle, shovel and stocked first-aid kit. There are also two virtually showroom-fresh Baja 100 racers from the 1970s will also be offered.