Bonhams : 1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723
1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723

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Lot 619N
1929 BMW 735cc R16
Registration no. not registered Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723

Sold for £ 39,100 (US$ 49,801) inc. premium
1929 BMW 735cc R16
Registration no. not registered
Frame no. P540
Engine no. 75723
• Landmark of motorcycle design
• Present ownership for some 40 years
• Described by the vendor as in working order

Following the collapse of its aero engine business after WWI, BMW turned to other areas of manufacture, motorcycles among them. Its first two models, marketed as the Frink and Helios respectively, were failures, but a successful proprietary engine was supplied to other manufacturers. Launched in 1923, the first motorcycle to be sold as a BMW - the R32 - featured a 493cc, twin-cylinder, sidevalve engine having horizontally opposed cylinders, and this 'flat twin' layout would forever be associated with the marque. Setting a pattern that endures to this day, the first BMW motorcycle was relatively expensive but superbly engineered and constructed, while the quality of finish was of the highest order.

For 1928 BMW reorganised its range of engines, which for the first time included a brace of 750s: one sidevalve, the other overhead-valve. A stroke of 78mm was used for the sidevalves and 68mm for the OHVs regardless of capacity, with different cylinder bore sizes depending on the model.

Shortly after venturing into car manufacture for the first time by acquiring the Dixi works at Eisenach, BMW introduced a major innovation to its motorcycle range in 1929. The transversely mounted 'flat-twin' engine was already a BMW trademark but for the first time it was installed in a pressed-steel frame, the first models to incorporate this landmark of motorcycle design being the 735cc R11 and R16. BMW's relatively vibration-free engine was already a byword for smoothness and refinement, and this, coupled to a three-speed shaft-drive transmission, made the overhead-valve R16 one of the finest large-capacity sports motorcycles of its day. Progressively improved, the R16 was built in five series up to 1934, a total of 1,106 machines being built.

Purchased by the vendor some 40 years ago for his private collection, this R16 has been restored and is described by the vendor as in working order, having been looked after by the owner's in-house mechanic. The machine is offered with Italian ASI homologation papers.

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.
Contacts
1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723
1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723
1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723
1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723
1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723
1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723
1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723
1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723
1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723
1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723
1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723
1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723
1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723
1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723
1929 BMW 735cc R16 Frame no. P540 Engine no. 75723
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Lot symbols
N NOVA declaration

If purchased by a UK resident, this machine is subject to a NOVA declaration, undertaken by Bonhams upon a successful sale, to facilitate the registration of the machine here in the UK.