Lot 365 - 1955 BMW R50

Lot 365 - 1955 BMW R50

Lot 365 - 1955 BMW R50

Lot Number 365
Registration XXC 647
Chassis Number 4516131303
Engine Number 550110
Odometer reading 48,351 miles
Result Sold - £5,040

The first BMW motorcycle, the R32, was launched in 1923 and the flat-twin, or 'boxer' layout has become synonymous with BMW ever since. Designed by Max Fritz, it was very advanced for its day, being of unit construction and featuring a recirculating wet sump oiling system with a drip feed to the roller big -end bearings. This system was used by BMW until 1969, when they adopted a high-pressure oil system using shell bearings, which is still in use today.

The R32 was the basis for all future flat-twin BMW motorcycles, a distinctive feature of which was the transverse mounting of the engine where the cylinder heads projected out from each side to aid cooling, like the earlier British ABC. The R32 also incorporated shaft drive which BMW has exclusively used on its motorcycles ever since, until the introduction of the chain driven F650 in 1994.

With the introduction of the R12 and R17 in 1935, BMW pioneered the use of hydraulically damped telescopic forks on a production motorcycle and in 1937, Ernst Henne set a world speed record of 173.88mph on a supercharged 500cc overhead camshaft BMW, a record that stood for fourteen years.

Following WWII and the destruction of BMW's Munich factory, motorcycle production did not recommence until 1948 with the introduction of the 250cc R24. The flat-twins did not reappear until 1950 with the reintroduction of the R51, R60 and R68 models, all of which featured telescopic front forks, plunger rear suspension and chromed, exposed drive shafts.

With motorcycle sales falling in Germany in the 1950s and three of their domestic competitors going out of business, BMW introduced a new range for 1955 with enclosed shaft drive and 'Earles' type front forks. These were the 26bhp 500cc R50, the 30bhp 600cc R60 and the sporting 35bhp 600cc R69. BMWs of this period, due to their strong 'Earles' type forks with their inherent anti-dive capability, were considered ideal for sidecar use and were often attached to very stylish and attractive Steib sidecars.

According to our research, the engine number indicates this R50 is from the first batch of the production run and is in delightful, original and unrestored condition, save for the recent fitment of new stainless steel silencers and a renovated horn. The vendor purchased it recently from a business associate who had owned it for two years and prior to that, for over thirty years, was in the ownership of a Mr Kenneth Platton who, it is believed, sourced the bike from classic BMW expert Robert Porecha of London. The registration mark XXC 647 is a London number, for which records, unfortunately, do not survive. Ready to ride and enjoy, it comes with a V5/C registration certificate as well as some old MoT test certificates included in the file.

Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.

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