by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com
1972 Harley-Davidson XR750 Evel Knievel Is Not Quite the Real Thing, Comes Close
In 2020, Harley-Davidson celebrated the 50th anniversary of the XR750 in style by wrapping the entire racing hardware it fielded, including the team haulers, uniforms, and branded accessories, in the iconic Jet Fire Orange, the competition color used by the Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track team. But other hues are perhaps equally iconic for the model.
The XR750 was introduced as a replacement for the KR750 in 1970, and quickly became the dominant force in the AMA Grand National Championships. In fact, the model is to date the most successful in the competition’s history, having won 28 championships between 1972 and 2008.
The racing two-wheeler was ridden to success by the sport’s big names, including Jay Springsteen, Mark Brelsford, or Cal Rayborn. But an even more prominent name of the age is linked to it: Evel Knievel.
One of the most famous stunt performers in history, Knievel rode the XR750 from 1970 to 1976. On the bike, he set a new world record by making it airborne and literally flying over 19 cars, a stunt that was filmed for his namesake 1971 movie. The record stood for 27 years when it was taken to 20 cars by Bubba Blackwell, also riding an XR750.
Like all stuntmen, Knievel identified himself through several iconic elements, including the colors he used on his rides. And in charge of making his bikes and helmets stand out was his favorite painter, George Sedlak.
The bike you see in the gallery above is not one directly linked to Knievel but is painted as a replica by Sedlak—after the stuntman retired, the painter began working on such projects on request.
This one sports the colors red, white, and blue on the fuel tank, but also things like the bike maker’s name in big letters, stars all over, a golden horseshoe, and even an image of the rider jumping a canyon with a bridge in the background.
We uncovered this one on the lot of motorcycles going under the Mecum hammer at the end of the month in Las Vegas. We are not told who it was originally made for, nor how much it is expected to fetch.