Extremely Rare 1959 XLCA

Classic short-frame models

Extremely Rare 1959 XLCA

Postby hennesse » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:36 pm

Here is a photo of the extremely rare - probably one of a kind - 1959 XLCA. Building on the success of the limited production not-street-legal 1958 XLC and XLCH, Harley followed up with another limited production not-street-legal bike. The XLCA was designed for longer California desert races, such as the Three Flags, and used the large capacity gasoline tank. A special racing frame eliminated the need for rear fender struts, so the frame horns where the struts would be attached were shortened. An ingenious method of supporting the rear fender was employed, but is hidden by the shocks in this photo. The primary cover was shaved to eliminate the "Sportster" wording, and has a very rough-cast finish. The gearcase cover on the other side has a similar shaved and rough-cast appearance. Although the bike otherwise appears like a stock 1959 XLH, we suspect hot cams, high-compression pistons, and big valves were inside. Little else is known about this bike, except the meaning of XLCA, which stands for Competition April, as the bike was released on the first day of April, 1959.
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Extremely Rare 1959 XLCA
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Re: Extremely Rare 1959 XLCA

Postby Simon » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:07 pm

LOL - that's a good one! April 2 where I am though!
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Re: Extremely Rare 1959 XLCA

Postby hayleyl » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:50 pm

That's about as rare as the drop bears and hoop snakes we get here in Australia. Nasty buggers too. Cheers Hayley.
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Re: Extremely Rare 1959 XLCA

Postby xlh59 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:09 am

Hilarious -- didn´t the XLCA also offer an optional oil cooler on the front fender?
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Re: Extremely Rare 1959 XLCA

Postby Mick johnson » Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:22 pm

Here is my 1960 XLA this bike came from indonesia
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Re: Extremely Rare 1959 XLCA

Postby Redpan » Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:25 am

I don't get it.
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Re: Extremely Rare 1959 XLCA

Postby hennesse » Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:23 pm

Redpan wrote:I don't get it.


The "XLCA" is the illustration from the lubrication section of the 1959 Service Manual. Your Webmonster surgically removed the arrows and numbers from the original, and created an April Fools Day hoax. The 1959 Service Manual probably wasn't released exactly on April 1, 1959, but it was 60 years ago.

1959-xlh-lube.jpg
1959 Service Manual Lubrication illustration
1959-xlh-lube.jpg (61.79 KiB) Viewed 2595 times


Totally unrelated in Mick's 1960 XLA - however, in gray primer paint, it kinda looks like the "XLCA". There were 400+ XLA created for the US Army in 1957. See our Gallery section for an example.

In the late 1950s and 1960s, there were XLA and XLB Sportsters in South Vietnam, Indonesia, and other countries in that area of the world. The XLA and XLB appear to be stock Sportster XLHs on the outside. We have found no documents except for a few photographs of these bikes used as Police or Military Police in those countries. Whether these were sold directly to the foreign governments or through some US Government department is unknown.

The XLAs and XLBs are very rare. The only thing more rare would be the "KL" - a one-of-a-kind Harley prototype, based on the 1953 K chassis, but with an all-new overhead valve engine. There was only one made, and I don't think it exists anymore.
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Re: Extremely Rare 1959 XLCA

Postby mikeslemmon » Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:22 pm

the KL exists (on this site is an article) in a museum. I believe there were 3 or 4. I believe the XLA and XLB are the same internally as 1957 XL . rotating exhaust valves 7.5 to 1 compression xl cams. I've heard the Torrance Ca. police used sportsters in the early '60s , maybe just a rumor
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Re: Extremely Rare 1959 XLCA

Postby Ferrous_Head » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:00 pm

I sold my XLB a few years back. They appear to be identical to an XLA. Why they were made as a separate model escapes me.
Harley probably could have done much better with an XLCA. All of the XLB's I have seen came from Indonesia. I suspect some escaped to Viet Nam. The guy who brought mine in from Indonesia (along with some others) told ne there ere at most two batches built, but probably no more than 24 in all.

Why then an XLB ?

Ok, here's what I know.

In 1959 Sukarno, the President, issued a decree reinstating a constitution from 1945. A grab for power was what it was. The American Government was alarmed at this turn of events and wanted very much to find a way to remove Sukarno. Much like Castro the CIA came up with various plots. Now Sukarno, like most tinpot despots LOVED parades. And just like all tinpot despots he surrounded himself with a loyal bodyguard. Not easy to get close enough to him to hand him an exploding cigar.
BUT ! The Parade Duty motorcycles with lights flashing and sirens wailing we always going to be very close to his car in the parade.
The bikes were equipped with radios and luggage carrier.top boxes. A perfect setup for a bomb.
Sukarno would be surrounded by motorcycles during a parade carrying bombs that could be triggered by the CIA.

But these would have been very dangerous machines to handle during construction and shipping to their final destination. The unions insisted the bikes have some identifiable marking. Hence the XLB (B for Bomb).
"I know only too well the evil that I propose, but my inclinations get the better of me."
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Re: Extremely Rare 1959 XLCA

Postby jOe » Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:31 pm

I remember seeing somewhere that some XLs were used by the U.S.Army in either the late ‘50s or 1960s. I suspect for MP stateside traffic control. I can’t remember the letter designation.
The rumor that one was spotted making a beer run into An Khe has not been verified.
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