1945 Kettenkrad Sdkfz.2 Open Seater
Frame no. 118003
Certainly one of the rarest and most unusual vehicles to come out of World War II, the SdKfz.2 Kettenkrad offered here is one of very few survivors which fortunately made it to the United States, where it spent most of its post-war life in Southern California, seeing very limited use as a war re-enactment vehicle.
The name "Kettenkrad" is actually a contraction of its full military designation: "Kleine Kettenkrafrad" (literally: "small tracked military motorcycle"). It grew from a military need for a go-anywhere cost-no-object 2-3 man vehicle, equally at home in the burning deserts of North Africa or the bitter cold of the Russian Front.
Kettenkrads quickly gained a reputation for ruggedness and reliability. Driving a Kettenkrad is actually quite simple. Turning the handlebars automatically engages differential braking of the tracks; this means the only foot pedals are a standard clutch and brake. Throttle is motorcycle twist-grip. The transmission is a 3-speed shift with reverse, mated to a high-low transfer case.
Power is supplied by a water-cooled 1500cc rear-mounted engine derived from the pre-war Opel automobile, which gives a top speed of around 50 mph. In low gear, however, the advantage of the tracked system becomes obvious. Even in loose sand a Kettenkrad can easily negotiate slopes of 25 degrees, and much steeper on hard ground. We caution any rider to exercise judgment if this vehicle is used off-road; even though nearly 70 years old, it's capabilities may far exceed the rider's experience with modern ATVs.
The Kettenkrad offered here, #118003 is one of the last Kettenkrads produced by NSU before the cessation of hostilities. Over the last 2 ½ years, the vehicle was completely disassembled and restored using NOS parts. The engine was completely rebuilt; the transmission, differential, and rear end were all removed, checked, adjusted, and re-installed with new seals. Due to the low mileage of 3,649km, very little wear in the drivetrain was noted. The radiator is new, as is the complete wiring harness.
The all-important tracks received special attention. They were completely removed and disassembled down to the last nut and bolt, and powder-coated for durability. The old pin-type bearings were replaced with modern sealed bearings, and all the rubber cleats were replaced, as was all the rubber on the internal drive wheels. This work is very labor-intensive but is the key to a quality Kettenkrad restoration.
Because Kettenkrads run on rubber cleats, they can be made street legal in all 50 states. This is a rare opportunity indeed to own a ready-to-go example one of the rarest, original, and most fun vehicles ever built. Sold on a Bill of Sale.
- Please note that the engine number for this motorcycle is 4800069.