1955 NSU Sportmax

NSU has always been the lost Motorcycle manufacture from Germany, at least in the US public mind. There has always been BMW, and then some others. It might be that NSU specialized in the 250cc and smaller bikes, but what they did with those limited cc has always been amazing. As the seller points out this 1955 NSU Sportmax has a pedigree that once dominated the Bonneville Salt Flats here in the US, and road racing courses across Europe.

 From the Seller

The NSU Sportmax was not only a looker, but add the period ‘dustbin’ fairing and it’s transformed into a thing of beauty. The same machine that propelled Hermann-Paul Müller, first-ever Privateer to become world champion as he powered his way to the 250cc world championship in 1955 –  a feat all the more remarkable given that he was in his mid 40s at the time.

After WWII NSU, began to focus on Race Bikes specifically in the 125 & 250cc classes.  These lightweight racers, RennMax and RennFox, were world beaters; consistently winning world championships until NSU officially withdrew from racing in 1954.  Their street bikes were no laggards either – the SOHC Fox and Max were high output and durable bikes.   This fact was not lost in the racing department, who fiddled with a Max engine until it produced nearly the same power as the DOHC twin: 30 hp at over 9000 rpm.

The seller has given a lot of information about the history of NSU and its racing bikes, but it takes a little bit to figure out exactly what you are getting. Are you getting an original, factory race bike? Are you getting a collection of NSU cast off race parts gathered together for this build? Or is it more then that?

More from the seller

In spite of having officially withdrawn from racing, the engine was installed in a Max street bike frame, fitted with aluminum bodywork and a dustbin fairing, and given to Herman-Peter Mueller, the 1954 250cc World Champion. Named the Sportmax, the bike was ridden by Mueller to another World Championship in 1955, making it the only streetbike-based motorcycle to ever win a world GP title.

NSU did some amazing things with motorcycles during the 1950’s. With a manufacturing base which produced many road going bikes for the public, the money was used to great advantage buy the factory race department. When NSU went to Bonneville, they took so many different combinations of engine sizes, frame designs, stream liners and such that they were able to throw a blanket over most land speed records for motorcycles sized 50cc to 500cc. Some of those records still stand to this day.

Fast forward to 2001. . . Erhard Melcher , yes that is the M in AMG Mercedes fame, Dieter Almers, the master builder who recreated a BMW RS for the British Private museum, a racer name Sigi and an engineer from Daimler named Manfred set out to build the ultimate NSU SportMax continuations.  Starting with an original camshaft and amassing parts either meticulously fabricated or reconditioned, the four “Masters of Motorworks” created 3 of the finest, safest and most original SportMax’s in existence.  NSU world record setter, Wilhelm Herz, laid his eyes on these in amazement and stated, “Are these real or recreations?”.  The biggest compliment Dieter Almers ever received.

So what you appear to be bidding on is a re-creation, resto-mod vintage racer. The seller quotes 30hp at at 9000rpm, but reading closely it looks like this is what the factory DOHC engine produced, and not this 1955 NSU Sportmax. With some heavy hitters in moto sports involved in this re-creation,  I am sure that you will be getting your moneys worth for the buy it now price of $55,000. Really with the huge aluminum dust-bin fairing, I think you get all your moneys worth right there. BB

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