Category: Uncategorized

1951 Maserati 125cc Prototype

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So using the great wide web, I Learned Today, that Adolfo Orsi was the patriarch of the Maserati industrial corporation that produced spark plugs, batteries, motorcycle, cars and probably a lot of other things. In 1953 the Fabbrica Candele Accumulatori Maserati S.p.A.  was divided from the parent company and give to a family member to run. This divisions core base for manufacture was in batteries and spark plugs, but with the purchase of Italmoto in 1953, a true motorcycle manufacture, it started to put the Maserati Trident on motorcycle gas tanks. This 1951 Maserati Prototype could well have been a study to see  if Maserati had the ability to manufacture motorcycles with their current, industrial production base. The answer seemed to be “No.”

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From the seller

This is a 1951 Maserati 125 Prototype Motorcycle. It has been completely restored and has been fired up after restoration. The engine is all sand cast aluminum, very fast and loud! This bike has all the hard welds as a prototype should. I was told that this was Bruno Lombardi’s motorcycle and his mechanic had serviced it, still researching for documentation on that.

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I tried to find some information on Brumo Lombardi, but was only able to find him listed as one of Maserati’s factory racers. It looks like the team was involved in many of the races which took place on the roadways of Italy. The Mille Miglia is the best know of these races, but other races with the title of Tour of Italy (Motogiro d’ltalia), and Milan to Taranto were also huge draws to manufactures and spectators. It was in 1957 that these spectacular races came to an end when multiple spectators were killed when a car went into the crowds who were watching the racers of the Mille Miglia.

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This 1951 Maserati Prototype is going to be unique in that it is one of one. The rear suspension is a “plunger” type, were there are two springs which suspend the frame above the rear wheel. This appears to have been replaced with shocks and swing arms when production started. This type of rear end was also called a “garden gate” because there was little to stop the side to side movement of the rear wheel and axel, and it would swing freely like a gate.  Small Italian bikes were produced for a nation who need to be transports for very few Lira, but today, those same motorcycles have asking prices which are far from their MSRP. BB

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1947 Velocette KSS

 

$_57There have been theories that say the development of the motorcycle is related to the horses that we rode. In the Americas, we had “western” saddles and the motorcycles we developed were more for cruising. The British rode “English” saddles, and their motorcycles were more sporting. I think it is more closely related to the roads we rode on. Long straight roads between towns in the US, and narrow curving single lanes in England. This 1947 Velocette KSS was developed at the same time as the racing KTT. Both took advantage of race development on the Isle of Man. I don’t think there are any narrower “race track” then the Mountain Course.

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From the seller

The Germans designed the motor and the British made the bike. KSS for those that do not know means Kamshaft (German for Camshaft) Super Sport.

This KSS is rock solid and has many things going for it that others do not from verifiable provenance of a long time ownership (40 plus years) by a well know Triumph Dealer and flat track racer in Detroit to the motor being built in the 70’s by Bob Strode.  The motor and frame numbers are as came from  the factory in 47. The frame is KDD 9099 and the motor is KSS 10670.

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I think the seller might be saying German design because the founder of Velocette is John Goodman, changed from Johannes Gütgemann. Designed by his sons, Percy and Eugene Goodman, the KSS was first offered to the public in 1925 and its racing brother was first raced the same year. The KTT was able to win the Isle of Man TT in 1926 with their pilot, Alec Bennett.

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More from the seller.

This was an original street version but the lights were removed back in the 50’s as the bike was a back up flat track racer that appears to have never been raced.

The bike has the original rebuilt BTH magneto and I have an original working Velocette / Vincent Miller Dynamo that if wanted by the new owner to hook up lights we could discuss.

The bike does not have a brook lands style fishtail exhaust ( which I am 100% fine with as I don’t much fancy them)  but rather a quite rare and Valuable BES Megaton reverse megaphone silencer which is in immaculate condition as is the header pipe and the rest of the bike to be exact.

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There have always been riders in America that looked to England to produce their motorcycles. The big races in the States, like Daytona, have always had British bikes on the starting grid. The owner of this bike wanted to go racing on the dirt ovals, American style. But they had chosen this 1947 Velocette KSS to do that. Lights, who needs them.BB

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1948 Norton International

This 1948 Norton International appears to have spent some time with the Rudge Ulster that we had just pointed out. That is probably why it jumped out at me as I was cruising listings this morning.

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From the seller

This came out of the same collection as the Ulster. The matching number engine was in another Norton in the collection !  So I put it back where it belongs. Doing an internet search revealed that the “sister” Inter to this beauty exists in California i.e. sequential serial number!  I have not done any work to attempt to start this bike. The indicated mileage is a guess as I can not read the first digit  and who knows if the speedometer was changed in all those years. The speedometer drive is not installed and the cable is missing. The engine appears to be in good condition without broken fins or other signs of abuse. Tail light is incorrect.

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The Norton International is an OHC single cylinder bike which has a long and rich racing history. Beginning in the 1930’s and concluding with final production in 1958. Norton raced, and won far longer then should have been expected with a single cylinder. In the beginning the OHC design was supreme, later the featherbed frame kept the Norton Winning ways.

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Like all good manufactures, Norton saw that putting lights on their race winners would allow them to sell more bikes. So you could buy two bikes, this 1948 Norton International with lights to ride to work, and find another one without lights that you could race on the weekends. BB

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1935 Rudge Ulster

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The seller of this 1935 Rudge Ulster opens up with a line which I will steal for Classic Sports Bike For Sale.

WHEN IS THE LAST TIME YOU SAW ONE OF THESE ON CSBFS? HOW ABOUT NEVER ?

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Single cylinder, bronze head with 4 valves, single intake port and dual exhaust port. Open valve springs so you can get dirt and grime into the oil. Solid rear end, with small brakes front and rear. Go fast, stop slowly; the way to win races.

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 From the seller

This bike was purchased new by the previous owner and raced at Wasaga beach and other 1930 venues including an AMA Detroit speed trial where it won the award for fastest bike clocking 104 mph !  Rudges were FAST. The level of quality and engineering innovation is startling for anyone who is schooled in the more prosaic grey porridge of the era. Many are unaware that Enzo Ferrari chose to run a team of Rudge racers along with his Alfas.  And of course Rudge are famous for wheel building, supplying wheels for the most exotic of cars including  the legendary Gull Wing Mercedes Benz.  If you know Rudges then you know how desirable this model and year are. Open valve Ulsters were lighter than the later EMI models.  Read the Classic Motorcycle article.  Part of a collection I purchased last September. Unfortunately the racing plaque for this bike is not available as the gentleman’s grandson is keeping it.  This is a reluctant sale.   As far as I can see the engine could use a rebuild. Looks like standard bore with  nice valve seats and no apparent cracking.  I removed the top end and was pleased to see all looked well except for wear.  I made the decision not to get the bike running as is and potentially damage something. I arrested the surface rust which was beginning on the wheels as a result of poor storage . They were lightly bead blasted and sprayed.  I have also parkerized several small items to stop rust. Personally I think the bike looks  cosmetically great as it is and so do others who have seen it. There are plenty of shiny ones around BUT NOT OPEN VALVE 1935 ULSTERS!

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Rudge was a competitor, they were always at the Isle, at the North South, and (to this bikes name sake) the Ulster. All of these races were on the roadways around England, Ireland, and the Isle of Man. When they began saying Race on Sunday, sell on Monday, you could race on the road on Sunday, and take the same roads to work on Monday. You to can race around with this 1935 Rudge Ulster. BB

1978 Hercules W-2000 Wankel With 3 Miles for Sale!

1978 Hercules W2000 L side

The Hercules W-2000 is a curious footnote in the history of motorcycling, one of only a handful of machines powered by Felix Wankel’s liquid smooth rotary engine. Thanks to Mazda, the rotary has come to be associated with performance applications, but a major advantage of the design is that it has so few moving parts, making it reliable and very economical engine to manufacture. In theory, at least.

1978 Hercules W2000 Dash

And while the W-2000 does have an unusual, eerily-smooth character and a 6-speed gearbox, it’s pretty clear that this machine was never intended as a sport bike. Really, it was more of a sophisticated commuter, one that certainly appealed to people with an eye for unusual technology.

I’d bet people that collect these also like Citroens and air-cooled Volkswagens, stuff that’s cool without necessarily being particularly fast.

1978 Hercules W2000 L Engine

Unfortunately, that whole “reliable and economical to manufacture” thing didn’t work out too well, and then The Government decided to tax it as a much larger-displacement machine, making the whole exercise basically pointless. The W-2000 is largely forgotten now, but does have a following.

1978 Hercules W2000 Headlight

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Hercules W-2000 for Sale

Condition:

This is as nice as you will find. This bike is a true survivor. It is a 3 mile original. Look at the photos and decide for yourself. One not this nice sold down under recently for 15K US. It was not an oil injected bike. This is an EXCEPTIONAL example of an oil injected bike.

THIS BIKE HAS NEVER BEEN REGISTERED AND IS STILL ON THE MSO

This bike has been properly stored as part of a large collection and will need only the most cursory service to make it road worthy. These bikes are very rare in the US and worldwide as total production was 199. They are almost never seen in public and some in private collections are modified. The Wikipedia photograph W-2000 is a nice bike, but it is a custom. It is not even close to factory original. This is as close as you can get to stepping into a time machine and stepping back to 1978.

To help clarify, Hercules produced 2 versions of the W-2000. A pre mix bike (Total Production about 1800) and an oil injected bike, total production 199. The motorcycle has no oil sump in the engine (and no, it’s not a two stroke) the only oil for the mains and seals (rings) comes through the fuel system. On a pre mix bike, you must mix oil at 1:25. A premix bike does it for you.

Finding a Hercules W-2000 is rare. Finding a premix bike is rarer still.  Finding a premix still on the MSO is unheard of…

The good news:

It’s all good… just look at the photos. You will be hard pressed to find a better one anywhere in the world… period.

THIS BIKE HAS NEVER BEEN REGISTERED AND IS STILL ON THE MSO

OIL INJECTED

The bad news:

NONE

Well that’s good to know: there’s no bad news. Other than the price, that is.The starting bid is at $15,000 with no takers and four days left on the auction. With miles this low, the bike is probably worth it, but it takes a very specific kind of buyer willing to fork over that kind of dough for an oddity like this, with no racing history, that was generally perceived as a noble failure.

1978 Hercules W2000 R Rear

Hopefully, someone, somewhere is taking a break from the garage where he’s rebuilding the  four-cam Maserati V6 for his ongoing Citroen SM restoration, stumbles across this time-capsule bike and decides it would go perfectly next to his Art Deco furniture collection.

-tad

1978 Hercules W2000 Tank

1967 Harley-Davidson ERS Replica

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A full fairing, rear sets, and a racing number are all we need in life. This 1967 Harley-Davidson Sprint replica has all of those, so we are happy, more so because they added a license plate and headlight.

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From the seller

Full fiberglass fairing, gas tank and seat. Tank has been sealed with Caswell’s tank sealer. Neverthesless I typically use only non-ethanol fuel with this bike. She is also fitted with clip-on bars and adjustable rear sets. The bike is light weight and handles like a dream.

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The bike is track ready and safety wired, yet it is also street legal and has a clear California title plus current registration. The headlight is in the nose of the fairing and there is a side mount tail light/license plate bracket behind the right rear shock. The electrical system is OEM with a new voltage regulator and new battery. Wheels are shouldered Excel alloy rims with stainless spokes. The front brake is a dual leading shoe unit from a 1973 Sprint that stops like a disc with one finger operation. New rear shocks and a gold race chain.
The motor is a 1968 250cc short stroke with around 180 miles on it. It was built with a new top end, piston, valves and guides. Engine work was done by Don Thut, master technician who worked on the Bonneville speed record bikes for Glendale Harley Davidson.

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This 1967 Harley-Davidson Sprint is dressed up like a CRTT, with the TT being Time Trial. National championships were fought over short tracks, long short tracks, and road courses. For a couple of weekends a year, you would put a full fairing on your bike and make both left and right turns. You can take this one home and during the week, ride it on the street, and on the weekend take it to the Track. I call that a dual sport. BB

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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

 

Book Steeling Speed by Mat Oxley

stealing speed_

With my last post on the Suzuki Factory Racer, I dropped a little bit about Ernst Degner and his move to Suzuki from East German. A couple people commented on the fact he “stole” technology from designer Walter Kaaden. This is true, but there is also so much more. Steeling Speed by Mat Oxley is a great book tells the story of Walter Kaaden, his work on the V1 and V2 rockets during the World War and how he used those lessons and went Grand Prix Racing. Ernst Degner was a rider for Walter, and and engineer in his own right. But he was also a family man, and some one who sought fame and fortune. Degner stole the speed developed by Kaaden and took it with him to Suzuki.

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During WWII, the German Army was firing some of the first rockets at England, and some of the engineers working on those rockets had motorcycle back grounds. One of those was Walter Kaaden who had worked for DKW, the worlds larges motorcycle manufacture at the time. Kaaden’s work on rockets during the war transferred to 2-stroke engine development after the war.

Sideburn_walterkaaden

DKW was taken over by the government of East Germany, re-names MZ, but still had a racing department headed by Walter Kaaden and employed engineer/rider Ernst Degner. Walter Kaaden returned to the new East Germany, and right back into the the new MZ race department. With lessons learned during the war, the first development was the expansion chamber, then the rotary valve, and finally the boost port. These three developments behind the Iron Curtin first started showing up at the race track in the late 1950’s, and by 1960 MZ was starting to show its stuff to the rest of the world on the Grand Prix results list.

newego_LARGE_t_77761_73965 (1)

Then in 1961 Earnst filled his suitcase with engine parts, and had a friend put his wife and child in the trunk of a car, and by different routes the family made it to Suzuki in Japan and the course of motorcycle history was changed. It didn’t end well for Ernst with a firery crash and its aftermath effecting him for his final years.

Ernst_Degner_750

Mat Oxley rides a thrilling spy novel, one that is real. John le Carré meets Kevin Cameron. We highlight some great motorcycles here on CSBFS, ones that you can oogle at, but Steeling Speed is something that will help you understand how many of these motorcycles came to be. BB

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1965 Bultaco TSS water cooled

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If you missed out on this 1963 Bultaco TSS road racer we had highlighted early, you now have a chance at another TTS. This 1965 Bultaco TSS 250cc water cooled racer is now for sale from Japan.

$(KGrHqJ,!rYFHo-B5O87BSBeVbW-Zg~~60_3

From the seller

1965 Bultaco TSS 250 Watercool. Bike was in museume past 15years. Frame and engine no. does match. I do not have any doccument but I heard EX-owner was Jim Redman. Bike has compression and sift thru all gear. Will help worldwide shiping. Shipping will be $1500(crate, fright, doc fee, export custom) to CarsonCA.

 

$(KGrHqV,!ncFH2OtpYNSBSBeVbJqmw~~60_3

The seller doesn’t really give an idea of how the bike has spend its last years. Just looking at the bike, it may have just been in the back of someones garage after coming off the track. Check out the the Gardner carb.

$(KGrHqV,!rkFHoIVoi3MBSBeVip89w~~60_3

As noted with the previous 125cc TSS, these Spanish smokers could put out some horse power. Not to the level that came just a few years later from Japan, but still enough to put it too 4 stroke bike to get to the podium on a International level in both GP and Endurance events.

$T2eC16V,!yEE9s5jFKNIBSBeVftfU!~~60_3

So if you really want a TSS, this 1965 Watercooled 250cc model if not the pinnacle of Bultaco’s road racing developement, this its sure close, but you need to be quick. BB

$T2eC16J,!zUE9s38-J!IBSBeVfq35g~~60_3

Rotary-Powered1976 Hercules W2000 for Sale

1976 Hercules W2000 R Side

This is a weird one: there haven’t been very many rotary-powered motorcycles like this W2000, and Hercules is certainly a forgotten marque.

Producing a mere 32hp from its single-lobe rotary, the bike was more of a commuter than road-burner, although a six speed transmission and the rotary itself indicate that something more than simple efficiency were the goal here.  Parts of the design are fascinating: that little clear feed tube for the oil-injection system is a pretty cool detail and the large cooling fan at the front of the motor is distinctive.

1976 Hercules W2000 Engine

Unfortunately, the bike was plagued by poor finish, relative unreliability, and a motorcycling community that wasn’t sure what to make of it.  In addition, the typical rotary questions with regard to “how do you quantify displacement” reared their ugly head: insurance and taxation were [and generally still are] determined by displacement, as a relative measure of the power that can be generated.  But rotaries can’t really be classified in quite the same way as piston engines and, when insurers decided to categorize it as a much larger-displacement machine, it drove a final nail into the coffin of what was intended to be a technologically sophisticated, lightweight and economical commuter.

1976 Hercules W2000 Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1976 Hercules W2000 for Sale

This is a 1976 Hercules W2000 Rotary powered motorcycle in excellent condition.  It is an extremely rare motorcycle and very few 1976 W2000s were imported into the United States. This 1976 model has the oil injection system so you don’t have to premix the oil with gasoline like on the 1974 and 1975 models. This is one of a very few that is in excellent running and can be driven on a daily basis. 

The bike has new tires, battery, and transmission oil.   All functions on the bike work well. The bike looks new, the chrome shines brightly, and the seat is soft with no tears.

1976 Hercules W2000 Tank

The W2000 isn’t all that sporting a motorcycle, but it’s pretty darn rare, and also very classic.  From an engineering standpoint, a rotary engine makes perfect sense: very few moving parts and none of that jerky, up-and-down piston stuff that’s so inefficient.  But in the real world, manufacturing hasn’t caught up with the dream, and fragile apex seals remain the Wankel’s Achilles Heel to this day.  In the 70’s?  Things were much worse: in the automotive world, warranty claims on the stylish, but rotary-powered NSU Ro80 basically sank that company…

So, not very fast or practical, but pretty interesting and collectable.  And, from this video [not the bike for sale], pretty neat-sounding as well: Hercules W2000 start up and ride away.  Not much time left on this auction, so all you engineering-nerd types, go check your bank statements and get to bidding!

-tad

1976 Hercules W2000 L Side