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1956 Harley Model KHK Sport  (Part 1)

Joe from Pacific Palisades, California, United States, made available these pictures of his gorgeous 1956 Harley KHK Sport Model. While this is not a true Sportster, the Harley Model K is an essential part of Sportster history. And you will discover that the design of our beloveth Ironhead engine has deep roots into the Model K's Aluminum Flathead engine.

Basically, the Harley Model K is the mother of all Sportsters. But we are not only showing Joe's KHK for reference, or to do justice to history. First of all, we show her because she is beautiful!     Check her out for yourself:

Photo of 1956 Harley Sport Model KHK 55 cubic inches Aluminium Flathead by Joe.

Joe gives us the following description of this classic bike:

"1956 KHK. 56KHK2243. Matching belly numbers (556-2160). 4B frame code. Good numbers and valid Nevada title.
I don't ride anymore, but I still love to work on these things. I was inspired to build a copy of the King's KHK after a trip to Graceland last year.
I took this out on a few test hops around the neighborhood and everything seems real good. It runs and idles well. I probably have about an hour and a half running time on it since completion.
New crank pin and bearings, sleeved cylinders with std. sized pistons, valves and springs OK. Cams were unmarked and I couldn't tell by the profiles if they were KHK or not. I put a Linkert DC-12 on it which is working out really well. I had an adaptor made and put one of the new Wilderness rebuild kits into it, works very well. I had to go with a later air cleaner which is why the choke lever is reversed.
Oil pump is somewhat later vintage and there's lots of flow and pressure. Usual case repairs below the primary, not visible and they're reasonably good so I left them alone. Electrical and charging systems are totally functional and operates correctly, lights, horn, key switches, etc. The spark advance control is operational.
Transmission is later vintage, all the gears and internals looked good, I've found no shifting issues. Clutch is smooth,nothing unusual noted.
Dunlop tires,almost new on aluminum rims with stainless spokes. For you purists out there, the brake shoes on this are the early, early aluminum ones, with the original early springs. Those are very rare.
All the sheet metal are new replica pieces. Pepper Red with Birch White panels."

Photo of 1956 Harley Sport Model KHK 55 cubic inches Aluminium Flathead by Joe.

The first Model K Sport was introduced by the Harley Davidson Motorcompany in 1952 in response to the invasion of the American motorcycle market by lighter and faster British bikes like BSA, Norton and Triumph. The 1952 Model K featured a 45 cubic inches (750cc) side-valve V-twin engine of pre-war design.

In 1954 the Model K's engine was upgraded to 54 cubic inches (883cc) and the bike was named the Model KH. The following year, Harley introduced the high performance Model KHK which featured a speed kit: roller-bearing bottom end, hot cams and polished ports.

In 1957 the Model K was followed up by the Sportster XL, which looked very similar to the Model K Series except that the 54 cubic inches (883cc) side-valve V-twin engine with its aluminium heads and cylinders was replaced by the 54 cubic inches (883cc) overhead valve (OHV) engine which featured iron heads and cylinders.

Photo of 1956 Harley Sport Model KHK 55 cubic inches Aluminium Flathead by Joe.

Photo of 1956 Harley Sport Model KHK 55 cubic inches Aluminium Flathead by Joe.

Photo of 1956 Harley Sport Model KHK 55 cubic inches Aluminium Flathead by Joe.

On this page we show you the first part of Joe's pictures.

Click HERE to view the second part of Joe's KHK photo album


Every Harley Model K, KH or KHK - no matter in what condition - deserves a place in history.

Email your photographs with description to:

info at sporty-ironheads dot com

(June 2008)

MORE Ironhead Classic Sportsters Photo Albums:


Clymer Service and Repair Manuals

Even if you have no intent to get your hands dirty - these books are a joy for every Harley Davidson fan!