The Redline Rebuild ’57 Harley Sportster is coming off a busy year


We have been doing our Redline Rebuild series for a couple years now—time-lapse videos documenting months of mechanical work in a matter of minutes. It turns out we have a propensity for finding projects that are way more involved than we originally planned for. Sound familiar?

Last year, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the iconic Harley-Davidson Sportster, we found a 1957 XL in Oregon to work on. The gentleman we bought it from had no idea why it didn’t run. Fortunately for us, we have a secret weapon: Davin Reckow, our master tinkerer. Now, as 2018 comes to a close, we thought we’d provide an update as to what the Harley’s been doing with its new lease on life.

1957 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL engine
Ben Woodworth
Hagerty Harley on the lawn at quail
Meg Bowen

Hagerty Harley davin quail
Meg Bowen

Quick refresh for those not in the know: Once he dug in, it didn’t take Davin long to discover the engine had chewed up and spit out a valve. He also found that somebody had cut the rear triangle off the frame and welded one on from another model—upside down. We left that abomination (it was the only way the drivetrain would line up), but Davin still had to attack the frame with a plasma cutter and welder. There were other hiccups along the way, and our three-month project stretched to eight. But Davin powered through every obstacle, and now we have a pretty cool custom bike to show for it. And me? I hid behind my cameras, dodged a few wrenches, and shot 30,000 photos to assemble into yet another Redline Rebuild.

Since then the bike has been running great. Back in May it got a hugely positive welcome at The Quail motorcycle gathering in Carmel, and not long after the Harley participated in a 100-mile tour around Laguna Seca that ended with three laps out on the historic circuit. Over the summer, Michigan Senator Gary Peters rode it on his motorcycle tour of the state and could not stop raving about it. The Harley also appeared at the The Quail during Monterey Car Week in August, and then later at the Barber Vintage Festival.

Tell us in the Hagerty Forums: Where do you want to see the Harley next?

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