View Full Version : 1958 Ironhead

14th May 2005, 05:28
I have come upon a 58 which is about 90% original. Better still, it hasn't been cut or ground off in the important frame areas. I can get it for about $5000.

Still, to get it running, and repainted in original colors, and all the rest that it needs, will cost about another 5K. So, when completely resored, I will have at least 10K in it and about a years worth of weekend and evening work. I love old hogs, but wonder if I am over the edge on this project.

Would you do this ?

14th May 2005, 05:38
Cool, go for it.

If you want to see a nice 57, go to the XL-List rally in KC
Steve showed up last year with his 57 in great shape.

14th May 2005, 05:42
Wow, a 1958 in 90% all there.....it just seems to good to be true.
So many were cut up and chopped that this would be a rare bike, and in the second year of production.

I have no Idea what a fully restord one is worth, but concider this....
Buy the time you get this all done, lets say two year to be fair, that will be 2007, and the 50th year anni. of the Sportster, what a bike to take to the shows that would be.

I guess it comes down to this question....do you want it for your stable, or as a fun & profit bike?

If it's for you. then only you can answer that question, after all it's your money.

If it's to make a buck, then I think you have two years to Get-R-Done.

14th May 2005, 06:03
I guess I should also mention, that as far as the numbers go, there were about 1100 total Sportsters made in 58. As for this model, an XLH, the total production was 711.

On the other hand, I have worked my guts out in the past doing restorations, and never really made a dime. Of course, I really don't do it for the money anyway, but so far, at least, Sportsters have trailed all other old Harleys in value. Nowadays, I am seeing sort of crappy 45's (technically WL's) going for 10K, which blows me away as they were always slow, slower, and slowest.
But I really don't have a clue what a 58 will be worth in a few years, and I am not in a position to take a loss, if things don't work out for me job wise.

14th May 2005, 07:35
Panhead, Here's a '58 basket case (and I mean basket) on e-Bay for a 'buy it now" price of $5,500.00...your 90% complete one sounds more inviting to me! I have no idea what it would be worth when you were done with it. I know what you mean about not getting your money back selling a restoration...your labor is totally free, and usually it sells for almost less than what parts you've put in it...definitely not fair...wish I was filthy rich...my stable would be so full of bikes...I can think of probably twenty right now to get me started! Anyway, check out this e-bay one:


Here's a 1960, chopped, blown motor for $2,700...


14th May 2005, 15:24
The $5,000,00 for a 90% original and complete 58 Sporty is 'not bad'.....BUT, it depends on what comprises the missing 10%??

If you look at that E'bay basket case...it comes complete with some of the hardest parts to find for the early Sporties....namely:

The Original Speedometer (which appears to be NOS) This item can easily fetch $300.00

The Original Rear Chaindgaurd (again in excellent to NOS condition) This item can go $100.00 no problem

The Original Oil Tank with cover....$150.00 plus item

The original single shoe Half-Hub front brake and wheel with spokes....easily a $300.00 item and hard to get in good-excellent 'USEABLE' condition!! And make sure the brake cover is 'UNCHROMED' like the original....OR...maybe the '58 came with the 'FULL' front drum brake???....Hmmm...a good detail to note!!

And of course the list goes on.....Check out the early Rear Fender....if its Original or NOS...your talking a cool $300-$500 bucks....even the repros are expensive....last I seen about $200-$250.....oh and an original tailamp in excellent ot NOS condition is another $100.00 plus item

Well, you get my drift.....The more hard to find parts that are missing....the less your getting for that $5000.00 or should I say the closer your going to find yourself getting to the second $5000.00 you have to spend to restore...

Did I mention the cost for an original unmolested frame with all the tabs and mounts on it...and correct swingarm....or how about the orignal tank....I think the '58 XLH had that big round 3.5 gal gas tank with the special tank badges and fuel petcock.....don't even get me started on the Engine....but the correct cam covers and primary cover in excellent 'UNCHROMED' useable condtion comes to mind!!..... PHEWW!!

All stuff to look for when buying an old bike and good to know when negotiating a 'fair' price for it.....Good luck Panhead...I hope it works out for you cause the early Sportys are great looking bikes!!

15th May 2005, 01:23
planb and Jeffytune are you guys going to the OVM show next weekend? ill be there on my 62 also giong to FLorence that weekend too (Rhody Run)

15th May 2005, 06:55
Would you do this ?

It's borderline...I found a very nice restored original '58 XLH at trader online for $12000.You should be in the ball park value wise when done if your willing to do all that labor.I don't think it would be worthwhile as a money making venture or investment but if you really want a classic bike and can't afford to shell out $10K to $12K for one that's all done, it could be just your ticket.
Y2K :smoke

15th May 2005, 17:48
It's borderline...I found a very nice restored original '58 XLH at trader online for $12000.You should be in the ball park value wise when done if your willing to do all that labor.I don't think it would be worthwhile as a money making venture or investment but if you really want a classic bike and can't afford to shell out $10K to $12K for one that's all done, it could be just your ticket.
Y2K :smoke

I agree...as an investment bike to restore, I would choose a B/T over the Sportster....that said...its still a gamble to make money on any motorcycle unless you can get the bike for next to nothing...thru inheritance, barn find, great trade or just plain 'CHEAP' thru dumb luck!

Throw into the mix your own mechanical capabilities, your time. your trading/bargaining savvy. patience and plain old fashion good luck, mix it up and you may make some money....'MAY'.

I'm a member of the AMCA and I have seen a lot of great rare, very early, pre-1950's. low production numbers and even lower survival rate motorcycles command top dollar when sold privately or by auction. But that's not the same as the relatively newer, high numbers of production bikes. The rare and old bikes can command the prices because of their rarity, low parts availability and mechanically knowledgeable owners/restorers...but a lot of the others can't re-coup their owners investment capital...

Personally, I would do it because I enjoy the process of restoration in the first place. Do it as a hobby and you won't be dissappointed when you go to sell, for whatever reason, down the road and you can't get back what you put into it.....and forget about you time invested!!

If I had $5,000 and the 1958 Sporty was truly 90% Original and complete...and the really hard to find parts intact....I'd buy it in a heartbeat!! But only because I would like to have it in my garage or collection....because I am also a Sportster 'Enthusiast'. :smoke

15th May 2005, 18:01
you got it hrdly, its just for the pleasure of working on bikes there is no real profit in restoreing old bikes unless its very rare or a land mark year, this goes for all makes and models even in the auto industry it must be a desirable car to be worth dropping the restore on it

ya don't hot rod a 70 ls6 chevelle, but ya do chop a 70 ls5 chevelle and they have basicly the same engine (but not the same internals)

my 72 xlch would be slightly worth restoring (first year 1000cc) but not worth putting mega bucks in to do it

15th May 2005, 21:17
I reallly appreciate this thoughtful advice. Really, thanks. Well, my cut off day for this machine is Friday, and whatever happens then, I'll post the results. Iffin I get it, I'll try to post a picture also.

Thanks to all.

23rd May 2005, 23:23
Well, I went and did it, so I am now the proud owner of a non-running 58 XLH !

If I can ever figure out how to post a photo here I'll put her up.

This bike came with loads of parts I will not need. For example I today removed a forward shift and brake control set, which look brand new, but is not right for a period restoration. I figure I'll put that stuff on eBay unless someone here needs it.

Anyway, will keep updates on real progress. Probably nothing soon.

23rd May 2005, 23:56
Cool man, I can't wait for the pics :smoke

24th May 2005, 03:48
are the forward controls in working shape? if so how much do you want for them?

24th May 2005, 13:29
They look brand new to me. Please send my your email address and I will send you more information and can probably do a bunch of high point digital photos to mail you also. If you don't want to post your email address here, send me a private message.


24th May 2005, 13:32
I'll give wicked time to reply but if he's not interested I am

25th May 2005, 05:41
This bike came with a new S&S carb, but I will want to go back to the original which was a Tillitson I guess. Does anyone know which model Tillitson was used and where I might find one ?

Oh yah, I'll be needing a 2 piece set of buckhorn handlebars too.

26th May 2005, 02:05
Best of luck with your new (well, not so new) sporty. We all await photos of the machine. rob76xl may be interested in the S&S carb, he's looking for one now. Tilly is going to be hard to find (most are just plain worn out) and will cost you. Keep checking ebay and try posting want ad on this fourm and sportster.org fourm. You may also wish to post for sale ads for extra parts on these two fourms and recoup a few bucks to help with restoration.

27th May 2005, 00:59
To reply, the forward controls are up on eBay as item # 4552791062.

As far as a carb goes, I'm hearing that parts for those old Tilleys are hard bo come by, and other negative information on them too, so I am thinking of going to a Bendix/Zenith, there are some for sale of eBay and elsewhere.
I think I can get an adaptor to run a vintage HD air cleaner on one, so perhaps this would be a good compromise. Anyone think this is not a good idea?

My other restoration work called for Linkerts, but I don't see a manifold to make this switch, and it might be overly retro anyway.