Tagged: pre-war

1940 BMW R66

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As we know motorcycles have been around since before the turn of the century, the last one. Most Classic Sports Bike enthusiast divide bikes into now, and pre-war. The years 1939-1945 had a great effect on the production of motorcycles, and when the need for metal was necessary for the greater good, lots of motorcycles ended up being melted down and re-cast as something else. So when we talk about pre-war bikes we often think rare, and expensive. This 1940 BMW R66 was one of 1,669 manufactures in Germany, so think how few of these made it past 1945?

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From the seller

I decided to downsize my collection an offer few of my bikes for sale. So please check my other auctions. All bikes are fully restored, they went thru a complete ground up restoration including engine rebuild, frame, wheels, seat, paint and plating. New battery. I put about 30- 50 miles on each bike since restoration to ensure everything is OK. They all have fresh oil and spark plugs. Ready to ride. In storage for last two years.

This auction is for BMW R66. This model was manufactured in 1938-41. It is overhead 600ccm engine. Runs like a dream.

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The R66 was rolled out to the public in 1938, and was the top of the line bike offered by BMW. With its 597cc engine, front telescopic forks and plunger rear end, you had the softest ride, and the most powerful engine from BMW. Though it comes with sidecar lugs so you can attach a people carrier, with 30hp at 5300 rpm, it could also push the solo rider to 90mph. With these number, I am sure that there were one or two prepped by weekend warriors for the track or hill climb.

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This 1940 BMW R66 is a pre-war motorcycle, something many classic owners feel is out of reach. The dividing line that the World War created for collector motorcycles is sometimes very large. If you head over to the auction site, the reserve has not been met as of this writing, but a pre-war bike might be yours for less then a “Retro Classic” offered at your local dealer. Oh, and if you don’t like the complication of an over head valve engine, the same seller has a Flathead BMW R6 for auction as well. BB

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1936 DKW ex Works Supercharged 2-stroke

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There is a stereotype that the Germans are an engineering nation, measured, meticulous, and calculating. Looking at this 1936 DKW Works Supercharged race bike, that stereotype is perpetuated. During a time when race bikes still had rigid suspension the heart of this racer was a 3 cylinder, water cooled, two stroked supercharged engine which screamed, a real scream. The seller of this work of art gives a very good history of the bike and a look into the history of the times in which it raced.

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From the seller

Possibly the most aesthetically pleasing, most advanced & fastest prewar motorcycles of all time..The supercharged deeks led to the banning of supercharging in racing grand prix & TT machines.This was Kluge’s own bike, before being left with a Victorian DKW dealer awaiting a new ordered production racer, being imported from Germany, which arrived in 1939..(the surviving production racer is also pictured below)..Champion, Ewald Kluge was coming to Australia with new machines & factory team, to repeat their 37/38 winning feat, when war intervened.. They made it as far as South Africa.. “The Baron & Baroness, already in Australia, just managed to leave before the internment net closed around them.” (Full article in “the Classic Motorcycle /Hamish Cooper Sept 1991 Edition”). Leaving this bike behind, a truly amazing, well documented, unique history..

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DKW was the larges motorcycle company during the 1920’s and 1930’s and they were not afraid to spend their money on racing. Never straying from their production bikes, DKW raced light weight bikes in 175cc, 250cc and 350cc two stroke bikes. With this money DKW was able to develop a supercharged racer that was the bike to beat in Europe and Australia. The supercharged engine is elegant in that the Supercharger is not some big lump attached to the engine as an after thought. A third cylinder, driven by the same crank as the powered cylinders would pressurize an chamber within the crank case, and it was this forced air which would charge the two power chambers.

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Quotes from the time

“The machine sounds like a shotgun when it fires, with unbearable pressure waves pounding your chest, when you stand 5 metres behind.”

Deeks first raced in the Isle of Mann TT in 1935, “the screaming DKW’s shattered the island “~ (Bob Holliday Keig collection vol 1).

A sound you could hear 60 miles away across the water in Liverpool.

 

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As you can see the twin Carburetors stuck out the sides with there large velocity stacks taking in air as it rushes past the bike and rider. A British privateer, L.R. Higgins wrote in his book Private Owner that the DKW would be a world beater on sunny days at the Isle of Man. But he tells that if it was raining, or the road or track wet, these exposed stacks would pull in more water then air, and the world beater could be found at the side of the road.

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As the seller tells, the works riders and the DKW’s themselves were effected by the world at war starting in late 1938. The riders returned home before they were interned for the duration of the conflicts to come. The bikes were left behind and were not treated much better. When found the engine was blown, not in a good way. Check out the auction for this 1936 DKW Supercharged racer, there are more stunning pictures, and the added history lesson is worth the read. BB

1928 Zenith Racer

Having looked through the auction catalogues in the last couple of days I have been leaning towards bikes made previous to WWII. There is just something in the design of the early motorcycles with just the basics; Engine, Wheels, Frame, Tank. This was not a conscience effort to be minimalist, it was a technological reality that limited builders. This design was best seen in the racing bikes of the 1920’s when all the rider needed were two wheels an engine and gas to make it go. This Zenith from 1928 offered on eBay has these simple components.

Zenith was a company that started making motorcycles in 1904, but like many manufactures of the time, they would purchased engines from engine manufactures. What put them on the scene and ahead of the game was their chief engineer Freddy Barnes. He developed the Gradua gear, an adjustable diameter engine pulley, which when expanded, increased the overall gear ratio. This gave a great advantage over fixed ratio competaters, and got them banned from competition, a fact that they advertised as a badge of honor.

Some information on the Zenith for sale

This GENUINE 20s frame was located and united with this fabulous VINTAGE racing running gear.  Frame number is 10424 and simply turned up some time ago at a swap meet …We have no idea of the history of the frame but it is genuine & I would think further research will uncover the numbers on both the engine and frame to be of the finest pedigree. APPEARS FRAME CRADLE EXTENDED AT SOME TIME TO ACCEPT THIS FABULOUS ENGINE, CRAMBED IN ~ IN TYPICLE  20’s RACER STYLE.. The machine will require further fettling to bring to optimun standard

JA Prestwich was a London based engine manufacture who first built their own motorcycles in 1904. Soon afterward they began to offer their engines to any and all Manufactures. With names like Brough Superior, Triumph, AJS, HRD all using JAP engines at one time in their history, you can see that JAP was doing a good job. This was most apparent when Bert Le Vack became the first motorcyclist to round the famous Brooklands racetrack in a JAP powered Zenith at over 100mph, and later set a speed record in 1928 at 124.62 mph on a Zenith/JAP.

Some info on the engine for sale

This machine is fitted with the rare VINTAGE 1928 680 JAPLONDON RACING ENGINE GTO Y/C /1955.. with top oil spray to valves. AS FITTED TO BROUGH SUPERIOR & ZENITH..THE ENGINE HAS BEEN THROUGH BOLTED FOR RACING AND APPEARS EXCELLENT IN EVERY WAY. NEW PISTONS VALVES ETC.. FITTED WITH A RARE TWIN  BOWL AMAL CARBURETOR, NICKLE TANK & BROUGHSUPERIORCASTLE FORKS WITH DAMPENING. FRAME IS THE EQUALLY DESIRABLE ZENITH CRADLE TYPE, VERY RIGID VERY STRONG & USED FOR RACING FOR MANY YEARS..6 BOLT STURMEY ARCHER GEARBOX, HAND MADE ALLOY PRIMARIES COMPLETE THIS REMARKABLE RESTORATION.

Collecting and riding racing bikes from the 1920’s would be a wonderful pass time, but it might also be difficult. Where could you ride this bike other then a racetrack. And I would guess that the number of people who have the skill to keep the bike running would be small. The seller looks to have a thing for racing motorcycles as you can see a 19’teens board track racer, and a pre-war DKW two-stroke in some of the pictures. If you are in on the bidding for this Zenith, be prepared to wait on delivery, as it currently sits in Australia.BB