Harley-Davidson 883 XWL Warboy

Is it because of nostalgia (if you were born before WWII), war tales told by your parents or simply because you consider it the best Classic Harley-Davidson? The WL and the WLA (A stands for Army) produced to US Army specifications from 1940 until the end of the war, continue to fascinate many of us. 90,000 were produced with many sold to US allies, including Canada (named WLC) and the Soviet Union which was sold over 30,000 WLAs. They were not used to fight but were on the front line of action, far ahead of the mechanized units, where US and allied soldiers were learning about enemy positions, spotting mines, traps and ambushes, and speeding back (45 cubic inches or 740 cc) to their lines or headquarters with valuable information. Most WLAs (nicknamed “The Liberator”) in western hands after the war would be sold as surplus and “civilianized”, with Europe still being the largest source of WLs and parts.

You can acquire and faithfully restore a WLA (not so easy to get all the original parts), or take the approach of a custom builder I know in France who decided to build from scratch this “883 XWL Warboy” look alike that you can ride every day without worrying because the bike is perfectly street legal and totally reliable thanks to its modern technology.

Builder’s objectives:” keeping the look but forgetting about the troubles.” I know that some purists among my readers are going to scream, but isn’t custom building being first about creating what is going to make you happy on the road? This new and improved version of the WLA is based on a 1994 sportster engine, 5-speed gearbox, of course is setup in 12 volts, with electric start, hand clutch and foot shift. All the rest of the bike is a quite faithful reproduction of the military WLA, from the body to the ammo box to the luggage rack (for radios) to the leather Thompson submachine gun scabbard to all accessories painted in a period correct olive drab. Trust me, a lot of research and fabrication hours… Built by Milwaukee Belle (his Blog, sort of biligual, contains some quite interesting historic WLA’s pictures).

15 Responses to “Harley-Davidson 883 XWL Warboy”

  1. 1 Delski Jul 2nd, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Very Very nice old meets new I like it looks like you could ride it to hell and back

  2. 2 Lance Dickwood Jul 2nd, 2010 at 9:50 am

    “War, what’s it good for, say it again . . .”

  3. 3 tattooeddmike Jul 2nd, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Way COOL reproduction of a 45 Army… but modern, and I’d presume lower maintainence. I dig the Army 45, but this would give a bike person a double take as it goes down the road, and while it is what it is, I have to say nice job! My humble opinion.

  4. 4 Seymour Jul 2nd, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Nice job, wish I could see more of the front end..

  5. 5 BarefootJerry Jul 2nd, 2010 at 4:02 pm
  6. 6 Joe Jul 2nd, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    A very cool bike. Nicely done.

  7. 7 Sheridan Jul 3rd, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Fantastic effort, why doesn’t HD do something like that!?!?

  8. 8 freedomlaw Jul 3rd, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Absolutely beautiful. I would love to own it.

  9. 9 martin Jul 3rd, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    I love it!

  10. 10 Curt! Jul 5th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Fran6 does beautiful work. You should also feature the white Sportster he did a couple years ago. He makes the most beautiful 45 frame on the planet.

  11. 11 Pa Jul 11th, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Fran6 is the artist of artists ! I own a solo wl 45 frame he built. All his creations are a must see.

  12. 12 barefootjerry Dec 3rd, 2010 at 3:08 am

    if somebody want to see bigger pics :


  13. 13 Big Jon Apr 8th, 2011 at 9:41 am

    How can I get one? can anybody help me out with info

  14. 14 everton bozza Oct 12th, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    i make a wl 883 like you … in brazil , but we have much to talk

  15. 15 Indio Jan 11th, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Very nice job guy!!

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Cyril Huze