The ex-Helm Gloeckler,1958 Abbate-BMW Sportsboat
Lot 172
The ex-Helm Gloeckler, 1958 Abbate-BMW Sportsboat
Sold for € 150,000 (US$ 174,195) inc. premium

Lot Details
The ex-Helm Gloeckler,1958 Abbate-BMW Sportsboat The ex-Helm Gloeckler,1958 Abbate-BMW Sportsboat The ex-Helm Gloeckler,1958 Abbate-BMW Sportsboat The ex-Helm Gloeckler,1958 Abbate-BMW Sportsboat The ex-Helm Gloeckler,1958 Abbate-BMW Sportsboat The ex-Helm Gloeckler,1958 Abbate-BMW Sportsboat The ex-Helm Gloeckler,1958 Abbate-BMW Sportsboat
The ex-Helm Gloeckler
1958 Abbate-BMW Sportsboat
Length: 5.85m (19' 2")
Beam: 1.85m (6')
Draft: 0.35m (1' 2")

The BMW Abbate V8 runabout could be considered as a successful collaboration between the Marine Division of Bayerische Motoren Werke in Munich and the Italian speedboat champion and boat builder Giulio Abbate, brokered by the Frankfurt-based gentleman driver, Helm Gloeckler.
By 1958 Wilhelm 'Helm' Gloeckler had become famous developing his own Porsche specials, which ultimately resulted in Porsche's own sports-racer: the 550 Spyder. Running a major BMW dealership at Frankfurt, Gloeckler was also instrumental in delivering the BMW 507 to Elvis Presley, then stationed at the nearby US Army base in Friedberg.
A keen speedboat driver and water skier, Gloeckler was convinced that combining the potent and lightweight all-aluminium BMW V8 engine with an elegant mahogany runabout of Italian provenance would constitute an ideal match. As BMW was already developing further applications for their advanced V8 engine, the time seemed right for a marine version.
The project, carrying the code '401', involved converting the 503/507 twin-carburettor motor to make it suitable for propelling high-performance water craft of the kind Gloeckler had in mind. With the addition of a second cooling system circulating in specially designed exhaust headers, an enlarged sump and further modifications to facilitate the required inclined installation, this engine proved ideal for Gloeckler's dream boat.
In Giulio Abbate, a member of one of Italy's most famous boatbuilding families and a successful offshore racer, Helm Gloeckler found the perfect partner for his ambitious project. When finished, his boat not only satisfied his personal ambitions but also served as a showpiece and demonstrator for BMW technology. Keen to promote their V8 engine's derivatives, BMW exhibited the runabout at trade fairs, among them the Hannover-Messe, and at international boat shows.
Built by Abbate of Lake Como, Italy, the craft is constructed of mahogany - seam battened on sawn frames - and a double diagonal marine plywood bottom, bright varnished to the waterline and painted below, with laid timber deck. The BMW 507-series 401 marine petrol engine produces 150hp at 4,500rpm and drives via the original Paragon converter (giving forward/neutral/reverse gears) to a special high-speed bronze propeller. Instrumentation is housed in two large BMW 507-style multi-function roundels.
The foredeck features chromed cleats and spotlight, windscreen to the large cockpit, with bench seating for three and wheel steering to starboard. There are BMW two-tone mattresses on the aft sundeck and access to the engine compartment beneath. The inventory includes oars, fenders, lifesaving equipment, BMW V8 toolbox and the original road trailer with cover.
With hindsight, Gloeckler's naming the BMW Abbate 'Fata Morgana' ('Mirage') seems to reflect the enterprise's flawed economic vision. Only one other BMW Abbate was ever made, a prototype exhibited at the Milan Motonautica, and the planned small production run never materialised.
According to Dr Lange, head of BMW's engine division, only 80-or-so of the 401 type engines were made; very few ever found their way into a boat hull, the majority being converted to stationary applications such as jet engine starter motors. Practically all of the surviving units have since been reconverted for automobile use.
The limited success of some of BMW's most ambitious projects of the difficult 1950s - the 507 sports car included - has only served to make them all the more alluring in hindsight. Arriving at the wrong time, the BMW Abbate was doomed to failure. Fortunately it survived and today this rare sportsboat represents a unique opportunity for the discerning collector.

An der erfolgreiche Zusammenarbeit von BMW und dem Italienischen Speedboat-Champion und Bootsbauer Giulio Abbate, trägt der renommierte Frankfurter BMW-Händler Wilhelm 'Helm' Glöckler, aus Frankfurt am Main, einen bedeutenden Anteil. U.a. massgeblich an der Entwicklung des Porsche 550 Spyder beteiligt, war er als Rennfahrer, Speedboatfahrer und auf Wasserskiern aktiv. Glöckler war überzeugt, dass der potente, recht leichte BMW V-8 Motor sehr gut zu einem eleganten, italienischen Mahagoni-Motorboot passen würde. Das Projekt erhielt die Bezeichnung '401' und beinhaltete entsprechende Modifikationen am 503/508 V8, zum Einsatz auf einem Sportboot. In Abbate fand Glöckler den idealen Partner für sein ambitioniertes Vorhaben, und BMW war mit dem Resultat sehr zufrieden. So wurde die BMW-angetriebene Abbate auf der Hannover Messe und auf diversen Bootsausstellungen gezeigt. In der Abbate-Tradition wurde das 'Schiff' aus doppelt-diagonal-verleimtem Mahagoni Bootsbau-Sperrholz gefertigt, oberhalb der Wasserlinie mit Klarlack überzogen, darunter mir 'Antifouling' lackiert. Die BMW 507 Serie 401 Marine-Motor leistete 150 PS bei 4.500 U/min. Die Kraftübertragung erfolgte durch einen 'Paragon-Wandler' an eine Hochgeschwindigkeit-Schraube. Die Armaturen befinden sich in zwei, dem 507 Armaturenbrett nachempfundenen, Instrumententräger. Auf dem Vordeck befinden sich verchromte Belegklampen und ein Suchscheinwerfer. Die Sitzbank bot drei Personen Platz, mit der Lenkung an Steuerbord. Auf dem Achterdeck lagen zweifarbige Matratzen zum Sonnen. Darunter lag der Zugang zur Maschine. Zum Inventar gehören Paddel, Fender, Rettungsausrüstung, und BMW V8 Werkzeug, sowie der originale Trailer mit Abdeckung. Leider wurde nur noch ein weiteres BMW-Abbate-Boot gebaut und die geplante, kleine Serie kam nie zur Verwirklichung. Von den ca. 80 gebauten Motoren fanden nur wenige den Weg in einen Bootsrumpf. Die meisten wurden für die stationäre Verwendung modifiziert, so z.B. als Anlassaggregate für Flugzeug-Düsentriebwerke. Nahezu alle übriggebliebenen Aggregate wurden inzwischen zu Automotoren umgebaut. Der seinerzeitig geringe Erfolg dieses Projektes, machte es heutzutage – wie den BMW 507 – nur umso exklusiver und begehrenswerter.
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