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Lot 301: BMW 590cc R60 & Steib Sidecar

Motorcycle and Motorcars, Bonhams & Butterfields (14 November 2009)

BMW recommenced motorcycle production in December 1948 with the R24 single, but it would be another 12 months before a twin-cylinder model became available again. Based on the pre-war R51, this was the R51/2, a stopgap model that got production under way while BMW developed something more modern. The replacement R51/3 arrived in February 1951 and despite the similarity in designation had an entirely new and much neater looking engine incorporating a single gear-driven camshaft and crankshaft-mounted generator among a host of other advances.

At the end of 1954, BMW dropped its existing trio of flat twin models - the R51/3 included - replacing them with the R50 and R69. The engines were little altered, significant changes being confined to the frame and cycle parts, which now featured an Earles-type leading link front fork and swingarm rear suspension. The R67/2, a lower-compression model much favored by sidecar drivers, was not replaced until the arrival for 1956 of the R60, which used a low-compression version of the 590cc R69 engine. The sidecar market remained an important one for BMW, and the new front fork's bottom link incorporated alternative mounting points giving suitable trail should a 'chair' be attached.

Perfectly complementing this R60 is Steib's much-copied 'Zeppelin'-style single-seater sports model, which to many enthusiasts is the quintessential Steib sidecar. As well as its beautiful 'chair', the combination boasts a multitude of desirable period features including bar-end turn signals, front spotlight, chromed rear-view mirrors, twin sidecar lights, large-capacity touring gas tank, sprung pillion saddle and matching VDO speedometer and rev counter. There can be few, if any, better presented BMW/Steib motorcycle combinations currently available.

Lot Details
Auction Motorcycle and Motorcars
Bonhams & Butterfields, Los Angeles
Lot Number301
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$25000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$29250
Condition rating0
Registration number
Chassis number624094
Engine number624094
Engine capacity (cc)590
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors