1968 Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster

Carl Fronk’s ugly green Sportster

| January/February 2008

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    Carl Fronk aboard his 1968 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLCH.
    Photo by Phillip Tooth
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    The green doesn't look so bad today, does it? Original but ridden, Carl Fronk's 1968 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLCH is a solid performer.
    Photo by Phillip Tooth
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    Carl Fronk's 1968 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLCH .
    Photo by Phillip Tooth

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Harley-Davidson Sportster
Years produced:
Total production: 4,900 (XLCH, 1968)
Claimed power: 50hp @ 6,300rpm
Top speed: 120mph
Engine type: 900cc (55ci) overhead valve, air-cooled 45-degree V-twin
Weight (wet): 205kg (452lbs)
Price then: $1,600
Price now: $4,900-$11,000
MPG: 40-50mpg (est.)

When Carl Fronk returned from his tour of duty in Vietnam in June 1968, the first thing on his mind wasn’t finding a job — it was finding a new Harley-Davidson Sportster.

“I walked into Chico’s Harley-Davidson in Trenton, N.J., which was right over the bridge from where I lived. I tried to cut a deal, but he wasn’t having any of it. But then he pointed to this Harley-Davidson XLCH and said I could have that for $25 off list price because nobody wanted an ugly green Sportster.

“It didn’t matter to me what color the bike was because I was going to take it home and paint it anyway,” says Carl. A week later, he was riding around on his shiny new black Sportster.

When Carl shipped out to Vietnam, he left behind a 1961 XLCH Sportster that he’d bought in 1963 with 900 miles on the clock, and used every day to ride to school. And two or three times a week, he’d have a blast at the local drags. He was 16 when he bought it, and Carl rode his Sportster until the day he got on the bus to boot camp at age 18. No wonder he dreamed about owning another Harley every day he was in Vietnam, and couldn’t wait to get his hands on a new one when he got back home 21 long months later — even if it turned out to be the ugly green one.

Order the January/February 2008 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read this article in its entirety. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email.  

Frank Spero
2/16/2012 3:12:43 PM

way to go carl i had a 69 pictured to the right above loved every minute of it i've got an 09 nightster now

11/14/2011 9:40:58 AM

Motorcycle Classics is my favorite cycle magazine of all time. If somehow that could get Peter Egan to write for them, I dare say it would be the perfect magazine. I must say though that it is just about perfect right now. I love the stories about the personal histories of the bikes and their owners. They take me back to my childhood when my older brothers were buying Triumph Tiger Cubs from a man named Morey who had his Triumph dealership in a barn on his farm near Fox Lake in Southern Wisconsin near the Illinois border. I went there once with my brother Jimi Collins and it was quite the place. Not like the boutiques of today.

Stan and Kathy Jakubowicz
8/15/2009 10:40:52 AM

I bought my new 1969 XLCH from Chico's also( His name was a nick name. It was something like Armand Checchio or something close to this. He had a mechanic with the long straight hair combed back for the time in 1965-1969 time frame.His show room was small on Broad street with well worn wooden floors and when i went in there were 3 or 4 XLCH's close together. One Blue and one Sparkling Burgandy (Kathy nad my future machine). We just got married and I offered him cash and he reduced his asking price from $1856 to $1775.He sold me my Harley helmet that i still use today. Kathy and i bought it on my birthday on 12 may 1969.The guy who wrote this article did not mention that i think Chico lived up stairs with his Mother or his Grand Mother and when he left the store, this little old lady sat in the show room and watched the business and sold parts!!! Real nice. Another thing,,,, Chico was a "real" motorcyclist!!! he raced them, dirt etc and he had pictures hanging on the wall of the store to prove his participation in the sport. He looked cool for the time in the dated for the time riding leathers head to toe and looked quite dashing!I wish i asked for one of the pics.He retired to Florida i think and Harley of Trenton took over his enterprise i believe.When I had a few problems(technical and minor) with the new motorcycle,you could walk outside and watch and Chico would actually get involved in any and all repairs if his imput was needed. Chico did some handle bar adjustments on our 1969 XLCH.I have the XLCH color poster off of the wall showing a 1968 XLCH and proclaining.Can you controll 900CC's of pure power? Kathy and i bought ours in the Spring of 1969,12 May "69" andthat also was 3 months before woodstock and 2 months before the lunar landing. A lot of history in our machine and i still have in in very original parts condition. There is only 4-10,000 miles on it and the original tires are still on it that have only recently begun to

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