1953 BMW R68 with Royal Seitenwagen Sidecar

Highlights


• Rarest post-war BMW production bike
• Outstanding overall condition
• Rare Royal Seitenwagen sidecar
• Matching frame and engine numbers
• Not UK registered

The Background


Unveiled at the German International Motorcycle show in Frankfurt in October 1951, this new performance motorcycle was showcased as “BMW's first 100mph motorcycle”. Promoted as a road bike which was capable of 105mph as claimed by BMW at the time. 

Manufactured from the years 1952 and 1954, only a small total of 1,452 units were produced making this one of BMW’s rarest production run bikes.

The History


This beautiful R68 motorcycle and sidecar combination has been recently imported from Greece with the current owner, having spent the majority of its ownership over there being used on quite a regular basis. Thanks to the dry and warm weather where the bike has been kept for so long, it has been beautifully preserved and the paint and chrome work will have been professionally redone at some point over the years but looks as its original condition.

Manufactured in 1953/54 it was then imported to Greece and registered there on the 29th of December in 1965. The bike was purchased by the current owner back in 1997 and has been in his possession ever since, only recently imported over to the UK due to the owner wishing to bring it with him.

It should be noted that this bike, although here in the UK, has never been used on the UK roads or in fact registered. The current owner explained that this motorcycle's sidecar is located on the right side, as with all continental sidecars, with the standard sideways kickstart on the left, as to be expected from a BMW bike of this era. It seems some documentation may need to be approved before UK registration could be completed. 

The Paperwork


Originally manufactured in Germany in 1953/4 the motorcycle has with it the registration from when it was originally imported to Greece back in the 60’s - the owner has written on this to translate some parts of the documentation as of course, it was printed in Greek. The bike, as well as the documentation, shows matching frame and engine numbers …650865. 
 
Due to this vehicle not being registered in the UK, there is no V5C available. 

The Condition


The condition of this bike is simply beautiful. We could only really notice one small blemish located on the side of the sidecar, there appeared to be a scratch on the paintwork however it has since had some time with a polisher and some touch up paint and is right as rain again. Aside from that there isn’t much to pick on, especially for being a bike of this age. 
 
The bike itself is superb, the paint all in great condition with no signs of any big repairs, it seems to be completely original. The chrome handlebars , and the chrome supports for the front guard as well as the headlight still glistens wonderfully in the sun with no signs of fading - the same can be said about the beautifully polished exhausts and the mirrors. 

Even the spring under the Pagusa seat is in lovely condition with only very minor signs of age. Sitting atop of the headlight is the ignition switch and the speedometer which is still intact and fully functional, reading in kilometers as 31,863 which equates to 19,798 miles. Not much mileage for a vehicle of its age - each trip has been cherished and adored as it should be with such a beautiful piece of history. 
 
The tank still wears original style vintage BMW badges on both sides and the storage compartment just underneath the filler cap (which itself is still beautifully kept) still opens easily with no use of force. The original style white pinstriping is still apparent on the sides of the tank which compliments the shape excellently! There does appear to be some minor paint chipping just under the chrome filler cap, however being a high wear area it’s to be expected. 
 
Both front and rear wheels are in wonderful shape, finished in gloss black paint - even the white pinstriping on the inner lips is present. All of the spokes are intact and the centre hubs are in good shape. The same can be said about the shocks and rubber gaiters.  
 
Onto the sidecar - this is wonderfully presented in the original paint along with the original style pinstriping and badges. As mentioned previously, there was a small scratch underneath the BMW logo on the right side of the sidecar, now refurbished, apart from this there really isn’t anything else to pick apart. The paint is beautifully glossy and the pinstriping accentuates the curves of this rare sight. The renewed seat appears to be rarely used and all of the stitching is still present with no tears or rips throughout - after all these years it still is a luxurious chariot to be placed in. 

The storage compartment to the rear of the sidecar still opens with no use of force and there appears to be no signs of corrosion thanks to spending almost all of its life in Greece. All of the metal fasteners are still shining beautifully and the chrome clips are still in place for the cover. A black replacement sidecar cover clips on when it is not being used. 
 
Overall, this R68 is in absolutely magnificent condition. It truly is a rolling piece of history and a total time warp back to the 50’s. As rare as these bikes are it is an absolute pleasure to be in the presence of. 

The Mechanics


Powered by a 594cc, horizontally opposed boxer four-stroke engine, this was BMW's first road going 100 mph motorcycle. Producing 35bhp at 7,000rpm it was certainly an impressive feat for the German giants at the time. The two cylinder engine still fires up easily with a couple of kicks on the starter and purrs steadily and has benefited from a full engine rebuild just a few years ago. During this rebuild, the original cylinders, cylinder heads and crankshaft were replaced with later versions - an original set will need to be sourced if the lucky buyer wishes to ensure originality although it is a very usable machine as is. 

These engines are twin Bing carburetted with magneto ignition, accompanied by a 4-speed shaft driven transmission which today has absolutely no problem gliding through its gears.  

The brakes, 200mm duplex drums on the front and 200mm simplex drum on the rear still function perfectly well as does the single plate dry clutch. There are no unwelcoming rattles, knocks or creaks apparent throughout the bike which is a testament to how well the vehicle has been looked after throughout its lifespan - and rightly so with how scarce these bikes are!

The Appeal


Being the most rare post-war production bike from BMW as well as holding the title of “BMW's first 100mph Motorcycle”, this is without a doubt a wise investment for somebody. The gorgeously kept body and frame would embarrass many modern bikes - as demonstrated by the images. 

What are you waiting for? This piece of rare engineering certainly won’t hang around very long and you’ll be lucky if you ever see another one - especially in such lavish condition!

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1953
  • Make BMW
  • Model R68
  • Colour Black
  • Odometer 31,863 Kilometers
  • Engine size 594
  • Location Scotland
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
33 bids
  • kennedy•••• £30,500 06/10/21
  • cambian•••• £29,500 06/10/21
  • colin.j•••• £29,000 06/10/21
  • cambian•••• £28,000 06/10/21
  • colin.j•••• £27,000 06/10/21
  • cambian•••• £26,500 06/10/21
  • mohamme•••• £26,000 06/10/21
  • cambian•••• £25,500 06/10/21
  • colin.j•••• £25,100 06/10/21
  • cambian•••• £23,000 06/10/21

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