1964 Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster

The Sportster's powerful engine earned it the nickname "King of the Drags." See more motorcycle pictures.

The 1964 Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster motorcycle's impressive 883-cc V-twin engine outpowered most competitors of the era.

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After its 1957 introduction, Harley's XL Sportster gained a more sporting version called the XLCH in 1959 -- "CH" supposedly standing for "Competition Hot."

These were stripped-down models oriented toward on- and off-road work with magneto ignition, high exhaust pipes, solo seat, smaller "peanut" tank, and lighter overall weight.

It also featured the now-famous "eyebrow" headlight cover that remains a Sportster trademark. Harley-Davidson also offered the XLH, a dressed-up, touring-influenced version that was outsold by its sportier sibling.

Power rose steadily over the years, earning the fleet Sportster the nickname "King of the Drags" -- an unofficial title it would hold until the late 1960s.

Of course, this was at a time when most of its competitors were British 650-cc twins, which spotted considerable displacement to the 883-cc Sportster. And in drag racing, size matters.

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1964 Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster Pictures

The XLCH Sportster boasted a powerful 883-cc V-twin engine.

The 1964 Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster introduced the Sportster's "eyebrow" headlight covers and shaved weight via a solo seat and small "peanut" gas tank.

The XLCH introduced the "peanut" tank and "eyebrow" headlight cover that would become Sportster trademarks.
Despite its high-performance aura, the Sportster lacked a tachometer, providing only a speedometer.
Playing on the 150-mph top speed of slightly modified XLCH Sportsters, this Harley-Davidson ad claimed "Nobody builds a faster stock motorcycle."

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