1950’s Horex Twin Cam road racer

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Whenever I look at a vintage racing bike, I am always  interested in how it has reached its current state. Some have had a concourse restoration, brought back to an original date in time. Others, like this 1953’ish Horex Dual Overhead Cam road racer seem to have evolved to its current state. By nature factory bikes usually have a shelf life, and their evolution come in the form of a new bike with new design features. Privateers may start with a factory bike, but like this Horex, the major components  have to grow, evolve, and survive.

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From the seller.

I bought a collection of bikes from a retiring rider.  Kurt was a pilot stationed in Germany and traveled there frequently as his wife is also German.  I know some of his bikes in his collection were not available in the US.   This is one of those bikes.  I’m not a Horex expert but here goes!!

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With an opening like this I always hope for the best, an ex-factory ride with exciting history of wins and famous riders. I will check back to see what people say.

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What the seller knows.

So what I have in this auction now is:

  • an early 1950’s Horex road racer

  • this bike was campaigned on the West Coast of California in the 1980’s and 90’s and perhaps in the early 2000’s by Kurt Yeager AHRMA number 128.  Kurt does not recall those times too clearly now but recalls he bought the bike from the factory or from someone who bought it from the factory.

  • I contacted the Horex factory in an effort to document the bike and their response was “Your motor cycle looks – at a first glance – as a Horex Regina 350, in the version modified by Mr. Apfelbeck – with its two overhead camshafts.” They are in the process of investigating the bikes history from other German road racers.

  • If it is truly an Apfelbeck modified bike it is a “one of one” or maybe a “one of two or three” bike and would be very, very rare.  If not, then I’d love to know who created it!

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There are a few times when a seller has something that is really special. Something that was lost to the world, and with the help of buyers find out what they really have. And then there are the other times when a seller has something unique, but not special. There are some great items on the bike. The front fairing has a nose like a dolphin, and was a design that could be seen on GP bikes of the time. When the FIM banned the Dustbin fairing in 1958 over safety concerns, these “Dolphin” fairings became a popular alternative.

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A few things that the buyer will get

Since I cannot document the bike completely the pictures need to do the talking.

  • Obviously a very original bike which was updated in the 1980’s as a vintage road racer with Works shocks and lots of safety wire.
  • Lots of interesting period features:
  • Leading link front forks
  • Borrani rims
  • Bosch distributor at the rear of the cylinders
  • Domi Racer tachometer seems to be driven off the left side of the crank
  • Double Double leading shoe front brakes
  • Road Race gas tank
  • Road Race exhaust system with megaphones
  • I cannot find an engine number
  • The frame number is 081681 (one knowledgeable ebay just told me it is a Horex Resident frame?)
  • Amal carbs with velocity stacks – slides were stuck so I removed them and cleaned the carbs up a bit.  That is all I have done besides washing it.
  • I have not yet tried to start it but it does turn over with good compression
  • Bike has been sitting in a California garage unridden since the early 2000’s as far as I can tell

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The Domi Racer tachometer is very likely a replacement item added when the bike arrived in the U.S. The Amal Carbs might also be a later addition, used because they were available, and easier to get replacement part. The Leading Link front fork was popular during a time in international racing, its design kept the front end from diving under hard braking.

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This 1950’s Horex Twin Cam road racer is a great example of a racing bike which evolved over time. The seller is asking for help to gain insight as to where it began. Any buyer will get a unique motorcycle. BB

 

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9 Responses

  1. Just to be clear, and so nobody gets their panties in a twist, Horex produced a few factory road racers in the 1950s, which are very special machines, and this is not one of them. This is a privateer racer, which has been heavily modified with the addition of a home made DOHC cylinder head. I remember seeing this bike at the Dick Mann Days back in the mid-80s, and marveling at it, and did investigation over the years to sort out what I’d seen…my memory is clear with those very thin tubes which presumably hide the cam chain. When I saw actual Horex factory road racers in Germany, they never looked like this!
    It’s an interesting machine, but of course, a genuine ex-Factory Horex racer would have a ‘1’ in front of the price tag. What the buyer gets here is one of hundreds of home-brewed specials from the 1950s, when privateers competed with factory teams in national and international competition. Without access to the ‘real thing’, they made their own.
    I’d much rather see this bike using a proper chronometric Manx-type tacho and Amal-Fischer TT carbs; the current setup looks kinda cheap, because it is. As for value….that’s up to the buyer.

  2. Brian says:

    Thanks as always for your insight.
    I was curious about those tubes to the head; really big for oil, too small for bevel shafts.
    Curious about Amal-Fisher and their history after the War? Most post war racing bikes seem to have Dell’orto, so I assumed that Amal-Fisher didn’t make it to the other side of the conflict.

  3. Brian, that’s a good point: BMW factory racers of the mid-50s used Dell’Ortos, which are also Amal TT copies (at least Fischer took out a license!), but NSU racers used either Amal TTs or their Fischer variants. I actually don’t know if Fischer survived WW2, as most German road bikes of the 50s used Bings, but I’ve never seen a Bing racing carb. I’ll ask my carb expert and get back to you!

    In any case, finding a matched set of Amal-Fischer TT carbs would cost as much as a restored Horex Regina – the market for them is very specific, and very well-heeled!

  4. Brian says:

    Finding anything other but Bings for BMW is near impossible (pre-R90S that is)
    I do know that a 26mm Bing can be opened up to close to 28mm for a /2, little things like that help PPV bikes go a little faster at Bonneville.

    I count myself lucky to have been able to aquire a matched pair of SS1 cast with the correct mounting flanges and bowl angle to fit up to my R51/3

  5. Stephen Keast says:

    If people are interested in the bike this one is styled to look like, head to the internet (Google.de is best for German info) and type in Jutzi+Horex 350 GP and you’ll see the original Horex GP bike from 1954 with its unique Apfelbeck-designed engine. The cam drive is the feature “copied” on this homebrew machine. The engine in this case looks to be of Japanese origin with altered cam drive detail. There’s nothing Horex about it. The frame, however, judging from the “08” number and the form, is a stock Horex “Resident” with some slight mods to the rear.

  6. Stephen Keast says:

    Horex enthusiasts,
    This link shows the other side of the HOREX 350 GP engine:

    http://greasengasoline.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/horex_1954_350.jpg

    Searching for HOREX 350 GP without the “Jutzi” may make things easier.

  7. Brian says:

    Now that is a nice road racer

  8. Brian, I’ve consulted experts in Germany, who assure me Fischer still produced TT carbs on the Amal pattern after WW2, which NSU used on the Rennmax and Rennfox machines. Also, BMW initially used them on the RS54, but switched to Dell’Ortos soon after.

    When you consider the huge holes in motorcycle factory documentation (i.e. books, researched articles, etc), the serious lack of scholarship around ancillary component factories is understandable. Sometimes the factories themselves put out publications, and I have books from JAP and Dowty, etc, but even these are little help, as they are slim on dates and specifics, and big on hagiography.

    I started a thread with Dennis Quinlan on Borrani rims and the first use of alloy rims on motorcycles in the 30s, have a look see: http://thevintagent.blogspot.com/2008/11/history-of-alloy-rims-beginning.html

  9. Brian says:

    Thanks Paul for the research, both for my own knowledge and for our readers.
    I enjoy reading Dennis Quinlan and seeing his scans of component manufacturers. And although he is a Velo man to the bone, he shares a lot of information on BMW’s, and other makes