1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246

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Lot 80
1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200
Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246
Sold for US$ 112,000 inc. premium

Lot Details
1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246 1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200  Frame no. 405X246 Engine no. 405X246
1974 Münch Mammoth TTS-E 1200
Frame no. 405X246
Engine no. 405X246
• Three-owner bike in original condition
• Verified by Münch Club, matching numbers
• Long-wheelbase chassis, mechanical fuel injection
• Just 15,000 miles covered from new

The motorcycle world is a richer place for the likes of Friedl Münch. Starting in 1966, working out of his shop in West Germany, he gave us one of the most interesting, charismatic motorcycles ever to roll a wheel. His Münch Mammoth – Mammut in German – can rightfully lay claim to being the world's first superbike. "It was simply the fastest, most powerful, most expensive bike of its time," wrote moto-historian Hugo Wilson of the outrageous machine.

Not content with the twin-cylinder motors powering most bikes of the day, Münch went to the automotive arena and plucked the engine from an NSU 1000 TT Prinz. In retrospect, this engine seems almost perfectly suited for motorcycle use. Four cylinders in line, 1,000cc, air-cooled, with a single overhead cam and a rugged five-main-bearing crankshaft. The Münch-designed frame was a robust twin-cradle affair, obviously inspired by the stellar Norton Featherbed, best of the day. Two years before Honda's blockbuster CB750, Münch produced the world's first modern inline-four.

Not that it was a simple drop-in operation. Münch would need to fabricate an oil pan, primary cover and gearbox case – the latter carrying a modified four-speed cluster from the defunct Horex operation. He wanted more horsepower than stock, so camshafts had to be developed, dual-throat Weber carburetors fitted. No problem for Friedl, engineer and inveterate tinkerer.

Everywhere your eyes fall on a Münch, you see components designed without regard to cost. Friedl Münch was an indefatigable one-man design team, not hemmed in by norms in his pursuit of weight savings, power or speed. Münch's metal of choice for his castings was electron, a magnesium-alloy lighter than aluminum, though harder to work with. Besides various covers and cases, he used electron for the one-piece seat base/rear fender, the double-leading-shoe front brake of his own design and the vaned rear wheel, also his own design and the first cast motorcycle rim to make production. Like the rest of the bike, the exotic metal was not cheap: At a time when a top-of-the-line BMW sold for $1,895, buyers had to part with $4,000 to acquire one of those first Münch Mammoths.
Only a handful of the Series 1 Mammoths were built, as few as 14, with just nine making their way to America, where they were sold as Clymer-Münch Mammoth IVs, thanks to a partnership with publisher and wheeler-dealer Floyd Clymer. Clymer's ad slogan for the bikes was, "Built up to a Standard, Not Down to a Price." Upon Clymer's death in 1970, importation of subsequent Mammoths passed through a variety of hands. Worldwide it's estimated that perhaps 500 bikes were built before operations ceased in 1975 – though as has been pointed out, bookkeeping was never Friedl's strongpoint.

As production continued into the Seventies, in effect every machine was a special order, no two alike. This 1974 TTS-E, built for Ford of Europe engineer Helmut Bickenbach, illustrates the point perfectly. With the Alps in his backyard, Bickenbach liked to sport tour, so ordered frame no. 246 as the foundation of a long-wheelbase chassis, some 2-3in. longer than the usual short-coupled Münchs. By '74 stock displacement had grown to 1200cc, but in search of 100bhp he specified the engine be bored to 1286cc, requiring separate cast iron cylinder barrels. Also added to the work order was a high-lift cam, bigger valves and a quad-port Kugelfischer mechanical fuel -injection sytem – making the bike an Einspritzer, hence the E in its model designation. In those days before electronic onboard computers, fuel injection had to mechanically mapped, accomplished here by a quaint ramp-and-ball setup.

By request the TTS-E was outfitted with a long-distance fuel tank holding almost 9gal., plus a well-padded solo seat complete with lidded tool compartment. The optional single 200mm Sportlich headlight was selected over the usual dual-beam arrangement. Leading the TTS down the road was a stout fork assembly made to Münch's specs by the UK's Rickman Brothers to accommodate Friedl's massive 250mm four-shoe racing brake. Also on Bickenbach's wish-list were twin oil coolers and a chromed luggage rack that also served as mounting point for a pair of saddlebags.

Second owner of this TTS-E was Perry Bushong, master mechanic, Münch aficionado and formerly the longtime BMW dealer in Fort Worth. He purchased the bike in 1986 from Bickenbach, who had been transferred to Detroit and taken the Münch with him. Bushong actually met Friedl Münch in the mid-'60s on a trip to Germany. The two remained in touch and became friends; in fact, on a visit to the U.S. Münch made a point of visiting Texas to see Bushong – and to lay hands on the bike's timing, which had been acting up.

Bushong enjoyed the Münch for 25-plus years and put on most of the 23,000 kilometers now showing. In 2012, John Landstrom of Blue Moon Cycle in Norcross, Georgia became the third and current owner of Münch TTS-E no. 246. In his care it was shown at the exclusive Hilton Head Concours in 2017, and now, with a new battery and fresh tune-up, is ready for a new owner to enjoy. Included in the sale are an owner's handbook, service records/receipts going back to 1974, original advertising poster and sales brochure, original German and Texas titles, and hand-written notes by Friedl Münch.

Mr. Münch is no longer with us, but his motorcycles remain – rare, quirky, charismatic, technically advanced, historically significant, a fitting reflection of the man who made them.

Footnotes

  • As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.
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