1937 BMW 494cc R5 Frame no. 501571 Engine no. 500678

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Lot 416
1937 BMW 494cc R5
Registration no. FPJ 262 Frame no. 501571 Engine no. 500678

Sold for £ 29,900 (US$ 38,082) inc. premium
1937 BMW 494cc R5
Registration no. FPJ 262
Frame no. 501571
Engine no. 500678
• Present ownership since 1975
• An older restoration
• Requires re-commissioning

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 494cc, 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.

An important step forward in the development of BMW's long-running flat-twin occurred in 1936 with the introduction of the 494cc R5. Prior to that the BMW engine had been recognisably related to the first of its type, the 1923 R32, and like those of its (494cc) predecessors, the R5's engine dimensions were 'square' at 68x68mm bore/stroke. However, the overhead-valve R5 engine broke new ground by adopting two chain-driven camshafts, a move that permitted shorter pushrods and higher revs. Maximum power increased to 24bhp at 5,800rpm while the top speed was an impressive 87mph (140km/h).

First registered in August 1937, this R5 comes with an old-style continuation buff logbook (issued 1958) showing that it was first registered to the vendor in 1975. According to his family, it was purchased as a restoration project and subsequently restored over a lengthy period. 'FPJ 262' is the original Surrey registration, and according to BMW records the R5 was first owned in 1937 by a Mr I J Fox. Apparently in good order throughout, although not ridden for some time, this highly desirable BMW sports roadster will require re-commissioning and the customary safety checks before returning to the road. The machine is offered with a history file containing the aforementioned logbook; sundry bills; a V5C document; and a quantity of photocopied marque-related literature.

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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Contacts
1937 BMW 494cc R5 Frame no. 501571 Engine no. 500678
1937 BMW 494cc R5 Frame no. 501571 Engine no. 500678
1937 BMW 494cc R5 Frame no. 501571 Engine no. 500678
1937 BMW 494cc R5 Frame no. 501571 Engine no. 500678
1937 BMW 494cc R5 Frame no. 501571 Engine no. 500678
1937 BMW 494cc R5 Frame no. 501571 Engine no. 500678
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