1938 DKW 250SS Supercharged Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 260420 Engine no. 429 378 (see text)
Lot 189
1938 DKW 250SS Supercharged Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. 260420 Engine no. 429 378 (see text)
Sold for £ 50,600 (US$ 70,657) inc. premium

Lot Details
1938 DKW 250SS Supercharged Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 260420 Engine no. 429 378 (see text) 1938 DKW 250SS Supercharged Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 260420 Engine no. 429 378 (see text) 1938 DKW 250SS Supercharged Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 260420 Engine no. 429 378 (see text) 1938 DKW 250SS Supercharged Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 260420 Engine no. 429 378 (see text) 1938 DKW 250SS Supercharged Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 260420 Engine no. 429 378 (see text) 1938 DKW 250SS Supercharged Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 260420 Engine no. 429 378 (see text) 1938 DKW 250SS Supercharged Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 260420 Engine no. 429 378 (see text) 1938 DKW 250SS Supercharged Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 260420 Engine no. 429 378 (see text)
1938 DKW 250SS Supercharged Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. 260420
Engine no. 429 378 (see text)
• One of an estimated 110 made
• Previously owned and raced by Roger Slee
• On museum display for the last 40-or-so years

DKW was founded in Zschopau in 1919 by Danish engineer Jorgen Rasmussen and built its first motorcycle power unit, a single-cylinder, clip-on engine for bicycle attachment, in 1921. The initials stand for 'Das Kleine Wunder' - 'The Little Wonder'. Designed by Hugo Ruppe, this 122cc motor was a two-stroke, and DKW would remain faithful to this engine type from then on, becoming world leaders in two-stroke design in the 1930s thanks to the prescient adoption of the Schnuerle loop-scavenge system. The latter used flat-topped pistons rather than the then-conventional deflector-crown type, relying on carefully angled transfer ports to direct the incoming charge around the cylinder.

Back in 1925 DKW had embarked on a racing programme with 175cc and 250cc machines featuring the Bichrone system of supercharging using a 'slave' pumping cylinder, significant success being achieved only after the Hermann Weber-designed split-single cylinder configuration, which enabled better control of port timing, had been adopted. Ear-splittingly noisy, the supercharged split-single 'Deeks' eventually overcame reliability problems to become the dominant force in 250cc racing in the late 1930s, works rider Ewald Kluge making history in 1938 when he became the first German to win an Isle of Man TT race.

From 1935 there were customer versions available - the 250SS and later 350SS - based on the works racers. When the latter switched to an upright pumping cylinder for 1938, the production racers kept the original arrangement but nevertheless were updated with the works bikes' Benelli-style rear suspension, as seen on the example offered here. Although reputedly sold at a loss, the DKW production racers were very expensive, costing the equivalent of £125 when a Norton International could be bought for £95 10s. Not surprisingly, they were sold in limited numbers, estimated at 110 250SS and 25 350SS models between 1935 and 1939 based on engine number records.

It appears that only two found their way to the UK during the 1930s, being linked with speedway ace Frank Varey and road-racer Noel 'Mavro' Mavrogordato, both of whom were noted devotees of the Scott marque. Two blown Deeks were entered in the 1946 Manx Grand Prix, one by Mavrogordato and the other by A J Wilkinson, though the latter did not show up and Mavro was forced to retire from the race when the gearbox seized. Other blown DKWs were raced in the UK by Bonnie Good (who later sold his to collector Bill Body) and future scrambles star Les Archer junior, whose bike was badged as an EMC by its owner Dr Joe Ehrlich. Archer won the 1947 Hutchinson 100 on Ehrlich's bike before the FIM's ban on supercharging rendered it and all its fellows obsolete.

Little is known of the history of this example, which was purchased by the vendor's father in 1976 and is believed to have once belonged to Ehrlich. Ehrlich is believed to have owned two such DKWs. This machine's immediately preceding owner was Roger Slee, who restored it and was pictured in Motorcycle Sport riding the Deek at the 'Vintage Race of the Year' meeting at Mallory Park in 1975 (see history file). The bike, though not with its rider, had been pictured at the same meeting in 1974. The Ariel girder forks were already fitted at that time.

Roger Slee's type-written notes concerning the machine's dimensions and specifications are on file, there being a reference therein to 'Erlich' (sic) which would seem to indicate that this machine did indeed once belong to him. Its headstock VIN plate records the frame number as '260 420' and the engine number as '429 363'; however, the machine is currently fitted with engine number '429 378'. '429 363' is currently in another DKW 250SS in the UK, pointing to the conclusion that both these DKWs once belonged to Ehrlich and that the engines were swapped before they were sold on.

The vendor recalls that, when a youngster, he heard the 'very noisy' DKW being run once on the driveway at home. It is currently a non-runner, there being no spark from the flywheel magneto, and has spent the last 40-or-so years on static display in a private museum. One of only 110 made, of which only a small proportion is estimated to survive, this rare DKW 250SS represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire one of the most exotic production racing motorcycles of all time, ripe for sympathetic restoration.

Saleroom notices

  • Bonnie Good sold his blown DKW to collector Henry Body, and not Bill Body as stated in the catalogue.
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For Motor Cars and Motorcycles a 15% Buyer's Premium is payable on the first £50,000 of the final Hammer Price of each Lot, and 12% on any amount by which the Hammer Price exceeds £50,000, VAT at the standard rate is payable on the Premium by all Buyers, unless otherwise stated.

Buyers Premium on all Automobilia lots will adhere to Bonhams group policy, 25% up to £50,000 of hammer price, 20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 of hammer price, and 12% on the balance thereafter. This applies to each lot purchased and is subject to VAT. Some lots may be subject to VAT on the hammer price. These lots will be clearly marked with a dagger (†) printed beside the lot number in the catalogue.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, cheque with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveller's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Storage Notices

Collection and Storage Information

Motorcycles
Vehicles must be collected from the sale venue by 7pm on the day of the sale. Buyers should satisfy themselves that they have collected all relevant log books, documents and keys relating to their Lot(s) at time of collection. Otherwise Lots shall be removed to local store in Stoke-on-Trent at the Buyer's expense (see below). Lots are at the Buyer's risk from the fall of the hammer. It is strongly advisable that overseas purchasers and absentee bidders make arrangements regarding collection with Bonhams in advance of Sale.

Removal and Storage of Vehicles
All Lots not removed in accordance with the above will be transported by Polygon Transport to local store in Stoke-on-Trent. Please contact Polygon Transport to make arrangements for the collection/delivery of your lot:

Polygon Transport
+44 (0) 2380 871 555
+44 (0) 2380 862 111 fax
polygon@polygon-transport.com
www.polygon-transport.com

Purchases can only be collected once full settlement (inclusive of all charges) of all invoices issued to the buyer is received in cleared funds. Lots will be available for collection from local store in Stoke-on-Trent from 12pm Tuesday 20 October, by appointment with Polygon
Transport.

Vehicle Removal charges to local store
£74 + VAT per motorcycle
£120 + VAT per motorcycle combination

Storage charges
£8.50 + VAT per day per motorcycle
£15.00 + VAT per day per motorcycle combination

Limited transport is available to the South of England, Marchwood (Southampton) by request with Polygon Transport at
£99 + VAT per motorcycle
£145 + VAT per motorcycle combination

Storage charges
£8.50 + VAT per day per motorcycle
£15.00 + VAT per day per motorcycle combination

Transport and Shipping
A representative of Polygon Transport, Bonhams' preferred carriers, will be at the Sale and can arrange national and international transportation as agent for the Buyer or the Seller (as the case may be).

Contacts
  1. Motor Cycles (UK)
    Auction administration - Motorcycles
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work 0208 963 2817
    FaxFax: 0208 963 2801
  2. James Stensel
    Specialist - Motorcycles
    Bonhams
    Work
    Banbury Road
    Oxford, United Kingdom OX5 1JH
    Work +44 20 8963 2818
    FaxFax: +44 20 8963 2801
  3. Bill To
    Specialist - Motorcycles
    Bonhams
    Work
    Banbury Road
    Oxford, United Kingdom OX5 1JH
    Work +44 20 8963 2822
    FaxFax: +44 20 8963 2802
  4. Ben Walker
    Specialist - Motorcycles
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 8963 2819
    FaxFax: +44 20 8963 2801
Similar Items