The Donington Park Wheatcroft Military Collection has welcomed another extremely rare example of a Harley Davidson XA motorcycle, as used by the USA military in World War Two.
Around 1,000 XA’s (Experimental Military) were built in period, but it is believed that only 12 of these bikes exist worldwide. With six examples now on show in the famous museum at the circuit, this is the largest known collection in the world. Donington’s diverse collection of XA bikes includes one sidecar derivative and two with ‘disk’ type wheels.
During the Second World War, the US Army requested Harley Davidson to design a motorcycle similar to the BMWs used by the German forces, incorporating features including shaft drive and a boxer engine that gave the BMWs exceptional reliability and required low maintenance.
Unfortunately, by the time production had begun, it had become clear that the Jeep was the Army’s general purpose vehicle of choice, and production of the XA was halted after only 1,000 had been built.
The Wheatcroft Military Collection now has a major presence in the famed Donington Park Grand Prix Collection. The stunning assortment of restored military tanks, armed vehicles and motorbikes takes up the first two halls of the museum, and is constantly expanding.
Donington Park Chairman and owner Kevin Wheatcroft commented: “The Wheatcroft Collection of WWII military vehicles, part of which is now displayed at the Donington Grand Prix Collection are very pleased to be able to showcase our newly restored Harley Davidson XA. This is the sixth such bike to join the collection and as such is the largest gathering of these incredibly rare machines anywhere in the world. Each one of our examples differs in some way as these rare XAs were very much developing work in progress. They can be seen alongside our ever growing collection of WWII military motorcycles from around the world. We are pleased to be able to report that the collection is expanding on a monthly basis with rare and interesting survivors of this period.”
Entry to the Donington Park Grand Prix Collection, incorporating the Wheatcroft Military Collection is available throughout the year, with admission for adults costing £10 and £4 for children aged 16 and under. Opening hours are from 10am-5pm with last admissions at 4pm. For more information visit www.donington-park.co.uk.