1953 NSU Sportmax

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If you were to guess who the largest motorcycle manufacture in the 1950’s was, would you guess NSU? Would you then believe how influencial that company would be on the track? A company which started out making sewing machines and came to an end in 1969 when it was absorbed into the Volkswagen Group made the Sportmax for both the road and track. This 1953 NSU Sportmax with full dustbin fairing traveled the world, and took some hardware home from the tracks.

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From the seller

Here is a very rare NSU Sportmax, 250cc production racer. To my knowledge there have been only 30 built in the early 50s by NSU in Neckarsulm, Germany,. In 1956 there have 17 of them racing actively in Germany. It is a masterpiece of German Engineering. The fairing itself is a beautiful piece of workmanship.

Chassis # is 171710, engine# is 791629R.

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What I was able to glean from the world wide web is that the road going Sportmax had some unique ways of generating the power. The overhead cam was not driven by chain or gears, but by connecting rods, linking the cam to the crank. I would guess there are some more modifications on this race prepped bike. The road going Max also had a pressed steel uni-body frame, but it is hard to tell from the pictures if that transferred to the racing frame work.

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More from the seller

It has a well documented history:

From Germany it was sold to Guatemala . Their racing star Luis Giron took it to Willow Springs in 1954 and won the Lightweight class. He then raced it in the 500cc class blowing off most of the Manxes. He finished 2.nd. I have the original article from “Motorcyclist”. Then it was bought by Sonny Angel a well known figure from California in the motorcycle racing scene. I bought it from Sonny in 1986 and had it in my Racing Department, Bley Vintage , a Division of Bley Engineering , Elk Grove /Il completely restored. All parts came from Germany , crankshaft by Hoeckle . It was kept in our private museum and I ran it in a few AHRMA events such as Laguna Seca, Road America, Steamboat Springs without fairing, and in Daytona with fairing. Because of being such a rare bike it was never pushed for winning but rather keeping it as a show piece.

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When ever these ex-factory racers come up for auction I always hope that and ex-factory mechanic would come with the bike. With such limited production, limited documentation on improvements and upgrades, you need more then a set of wrenches to turn on these bikes. The seller drops a few names from past racing glory, and current vintage racing names. I am guessing that the number of bidders looking at this 1953 NSU Sportmax as a display bike is going to be higher then those looking for a bike to make lots of noise on the weekends. BB

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