1964 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson Sprint 250 H

1964 Harley-Davidson Sprint H

This sweet little ’64 Sprint is owned by Ted Kapner of Arroyo Grande, CA.

The first restoration attempt circa 1980. The Kapner's entryway.

The first restoration attempt circa 1980. The Kapner’s entryway.

According to Kapner, his dad bought him the bike in 1980, when little Teddy was just 13 years old. The Sprint served dutifully. It was completely disassembled by the 13 year old Kapner and put back together. It was ridden hard to say the least, surviving the young Kapner’s driveway long burnouts, max-RPM speed runs, a few crashes, and the daily duty of commuting to Palos Verdes High School and to work. Kapner received his first speeding ticket on the Sprint going flat out with the Lomita Sheriff right behind him (he still has the ticket).

Eventually, Kapner got a bigger bike (a BMW R100s) and headed off to college – leaving the Sprint behind in his parent’s garage. As space in the garage became scarce, the Sprint was relegated to out back behind the pool house under a vinyl tarp. Several years of ocean air took a major toll on the old Sprint. After college, Kapner re-discovered the little bike in his parent’s back yard, but it was sorrowfully weathered. The wheel bearings had rusted to a point of complete seizure. The bike was a mess.

Ted decided to restore the Sprint and completely disassembled the bike and sorted all the parts for paint, chrome, polish, welding, etc… In all there were about twenty boxes of parts. This included spares he had accumulated; some were given to Ted by the legendary Bill Bartel (take offs from Sprints that were converted to race bikes).

Well, this is where the complexities of life got in the way. Ted’s career took off and he relocated several times, eventually winding up on the Central Coast of California. All the while, the Sprint sat silently in the 20 or so boxes being schlepped from place to place and eventually settling in his attic.

Repairing seized wheel bearingsFlash forward to 2013, a full 33 years after Kapner’s dad acquired the bike from Long Beach Harley-Davidson. Ted and his teen-age daughter decided to pull the boxes out of the attic and put it all back together. The complete restoration took about 6 months and hundreds of hours of work. The rusted wheel bearings had to be machined out of the hubs. Many parts were sourced from Moto Italia, as well as special engine tools loaned (Thank you Leslie!).

If your thinking that all Aermacchi Harley-Davidson’s built prior to 1966 were red, you are correct. The proper color for this bike should be red, but Kapner claims that the bike was black when he acquired it. So he kept it that way. The paint is truly stunning, done by a local shop. The rest of the restoration and Kapner’s attention to detail is impeccable. The bike took second place in the American Class at the Central Coast Classic Motorcycle show in 2014.

The Sprint is ridden on the street frequently, so if you are ever cruising around Pismo Beach, you may see Ted with his signature handlebar mustache sprinting about on this amazing 64’.
Starting to come back togetherAt the Central Coast ClassicSecond Place American Classification

Chloe learns the basics of engine assembly.

Chloe learns the basics of engine assembly.

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