1938 BMW 597cc R66 Frame no. 506011 Engine no. 660255
Lot 189
1938 BMW 597cc R66 Frame no. 506011 Engine no. 660255
Sold for £12,075 (US$ 20,098) inc. premium
Lot Details
1938 BMW 597cc R66
Registration no. EKR 765
Frame no. 506011
Engine no. 660255
Among four new models introduced in 1938 was the one that represents BMW's overhead-valve sports roadster in its ultimate, pre-war form – the R66. Intended as a sporting sidecar mount, the latter joined the existing ohv 500, now typed 'R51', but did not feature the smaller model's two chain-driven camshafts, using instead the single gear-driven camshaft of the sidevalve-engined twins. This new engine went into the updated cycle parts introduced at the same time, which featured a telescopic front fork and plunger rear suspension. Although the sprung frame resulted in the R66 weighing more than its un-sprung predecessors - 187kgs (412lbs) - the exemplary power output of 30bhp more than made up for the increase, endowing the bike with the top speed slightly in excess of 90mph. In total, 1,669 R66s were made between 1938 and 1941.

This BMW R66 would have been one of the most expensive - and exclusive - motorcycles on offer in the UK market when it was first registered in 1938. In April 1956 'EKR 765' was purchased by its (recently deceased) owner from BMW importers MLG, the UK agents of that period. The machine was restored soon afterwards and used by the BMW-enthusiast owner (a teacher) to commute from his Edgware home to Harrow until he purchased a car in the early 1960s. It was also used for various BMW Club hill climbs and other events. Last ridden in the late 1960s, 'EKR 765' has not been touched since and is offered ripe for a second restoration. One of the most modern and capable of all pre-war roadsters, this rare and desirable R66 comes with the 1956 purchase receipt, sundry bills and correspondence, instruction manuals and old-style Swansea V5 document.
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