When this interesting old classic BMW twin arrived at Bob’s, a third of the staff wanted to claim it for themselves, get it running and ride it just the way it looks right now – satin black cheap paint, dented front fender, rusty header pipes, aftermarket silver-painted silencers, riveted-on tank emblems, and an assortment of other patina based warts. (Some would call these examples of distinguished character!) Nevertheless, we are offering this PROJECT BIKE for sale to our customers exactly as you see it.
We received the manufacture and shipping dates on this bike from BMW Archives in Germany as it has no year filled in on the older title we received. Based on this information it is clearly a 1959 model year bike having been built in Germany on May 14, 1959 and shipped to Butler & Smith, the US distributor for BMW at that time, on May 19, 1959, for immediate sale. When we do the title processing (SOP) for the new owner we will have this corrected so that person will have an accurate title in their name.
Before we go any farther let us share that with all PROJECT BIKES we want the buyer to know as much as possible so we urge every potential buyer to ask questions if anything is not clear; we’ve got nothing to hide and our only goal is that the new owner for every PROJECT BIKE we find a new home for feels they paid fairly and got good, if not great value in the transaction.
We have a disclaimer about our PROJECT BIKES on the Bob’s website. We encourage serious potential buyers to call, schedule a time to visit, meet with one of our sales advisors and inspect each machine in person so they know all the facts involved in the offering plus our perspective on the refurbishing, servicing or restoration process with full clarity. We’re proud of the fact that we’ve even taken a few PROJECT BIKES back in trade as good used bikes once all the work was done and owners had enjoyed them for a number of years and miles.
If you don’t live within reasonable travel distance our staff, with a prescheduled day and time, will be pleased to walk this or any PROJECT BIKE while you are on the phone and address even minute details so that even a long distance buyer will be thoroughly informed and comfortable knowing exactly what they are purchasing. You can read more about Bob’s PROJECT BIKES and even pre-read the additional bill of sale involved in buying a Project Bike HERE.
A few of the staff thought this PROJECT BIKE would make for a great restoration project over the winter. Others felt it would be a great starting point for building a custom. And again there’s that group who just wanted to get it running, do only the minimum to make it safe and roadworthy and ride it just the way it shows. The author of this story feels there is merit in all three areas. so in the end that decision will be up to the next owner. So, take a look at the many images and then, let’s get into what we learned about this motorcycle after spending a good 90 minutes doing our thorough evaluation.
We’ll start with what we’ve identified as the worst issue on this PROJECT BIKE – the carbs. They most certainly need a full rebuild and they will need new tops and possibly a body as threads are damaged on at least one of the float bowls where the tops attach. The existing tops are interesting home constructed creations and we cannot tell you if the bike actually ran with these in place at any point in the past; they did not fit securely enough in our opinion to work properly but maybe when initially installed things were tighter and it ran well. The last registration and insurance documents that came with it date to 1993 and 1994 so we’re reasonably confident it’s been off the road for the last 20 years or maybe longer.
The engine, transmission, final drive, and wheels all turn over or roll just fine on this PROJECT BIKE and it feels like it has decent compression; we have not done a thorough leak down test. The steering head bearings are not way out of adjustment or obviously in need of service, but it would be on any smart “to do” list. The brake cable is missing and the clutch lever hits the Napoleon style left hand mirror. The wheels are from two different eras – one is a high shoulder version with thin spokes and the other is a lower shoulder with thicker spokes. The spokes and nipples are rusty to some degree but the original BMW/Weiman alloy rims are in pretty decent shape with only a few small tire iron marks. There is plenty of incorrect hardware along with some original items holding this machine together but it’s all solid and could easily be left in place unless a full restoration is the goal. And in case you didn’t already notice, this bike has no horn.
With the goal of enjoying this roughly 60-year-old BMW again, you’d of course want it to be 100% safe and roadworthy. Therefore, rubber from one end to the other on this PROJECT BIKE is tired and in need of replacement – especially the years-old and brittle Carlisle tires. One is essentially bald while the other has about 60% tread left. It could be used for that first ride down the street and back, but once this classic BMW is running again we’d strongly suggest new tires. Additionally, while the wheels are off, we’d recommend servicing the wheel bearings and taking a close look at, if not refurbishing of the brake linings.
We noticed that in addition to the dented front fender on this PROJECT BIKE (the wheel and tire easily spin clear this damage) the headlight brackets are mounted reverse or upside-down; this could be connected to when the headlight was likely replaced with a later original BMW offering that contains the extra indicator light as was common from 1967 forward. That would be easily fixed if you’re a stickler for correctness – even on this machine. This PROJECT BIKE has no frame ID plate but the engine and frame do match and the numbers are clearly original stampings; reproduction ID plates are available should you care about that small detail hidden behind the headlight bucket. The frame retains all three welded on factory sidecar mounting points.
The gas tank on this PROJECT BIKE is quite clean inside. The fuel cap is a later BMW offering with the scalloped edges and its gasket needs replacing. There do not appear to be any dents in the tank that we could locate under the non-original flat/satin black paint. This is the very first bike we’ve seen where someone took the time to rivet on the enamel tank logos which are in excellent condition. It would not take much effort, being careful to not damage the threads, to drill these aluminum rivets out and put the proper screws back in but these are not going to fall off either. The knee pads are in very good shape. The locking tool door, though the gasket is old and tired, functions easily with one of two original keys that come with the bike. Please note that while the same key fits the fork lock on this PROJECT BIKE we could not get the lock to actually depress and slide into the steering head stock, but the lock easily turns.
The trip meter in the speedometer turns easily but as noted at the start we don’t know what the total original miles on this PROJECT BIKE might be. The prior owner had no information from which we could speculate further. We are comfortable telling any prospective buyers that it must have more than the 1,507 miles showing on the odometer and this tells us the instrument was replaced at some point, possibly when the headlight was. Again, we have no old records to tell us more than this and the Federal Odometer statement we have attests to the fact that the actual mileage is unknown. There is what appears to be a functioning and cosmetically decent original horn dinner switch on the left side that’s included. Note that the final drive and front brake backing plate appears to be painted silver and the front fender chrome brace is missing.
On the very positive side the overall machine looks solid and straight. Other than the front fender, there are no signs of serious crash damage. Any other signs of wear and tear, generally superficial, can be seen in the photos. It is all there (except the OEM carb tops and horn) and the center stand works well. It has low European handlebars and stock bar risers, a chromed top yoke and pretty decent original valve covers. This PROJECT BIKE sports an original Denfeld solo seat top in good condition mounted to a reproduction “T” bar and rubber/steel spring suspension assembly that was likely sold by Bob’s Used Parts as this design was a fairly exclusive offering imported from Germany by Bob before BUP, Inc. became Bob’s BMW, an authorized BMW dealer.
This PROJECT BIKE comes with the two keys as mentioned above but no books, manuals, tools or tire repair kit. As its next owner, you could use the generous courtesy discount that every PROJECT BIKE is sold with to acquire those items from the vast, on hand inventory of original and reproduction vintage parts and spares (1950 forward) at Bob’s BMW carries. Along with new tires, tubes, rubber parts, fluids, gaskets and seals, brake linings, cables, carb rebuild kits, bulbs, the air filter and even a completely fresh exhaust system (several options here) if you choose to cast aside the existing components it has now for something more correct in appearance. You could even use your discount to buy some accessories or new riding gear! Contact someone from our certified BMW Sales Team TODAY!