German – Silodrome https://silodrome.com Gasoline Culture Wed, 20 Jun 2018 07:00:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 18077751 The Porsche 953 INK Print – 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally Winner https://silodrome.com/porsche-953/ Wed, 20 Jun 2018 05:00:20 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=78425 The Porsche 953 INK Print – 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally Winner

The Porsche 953 The Porsche 953, sometimes referred to as the Porsche 911 Rally or the Porsche 911 4×4, is one of the most famous skunkworks 911s to ever depart the Stuttgart factory. The car started life as a regular 911 SC before undergoing a comprehensive rebuild in the hands of Porsche’s best and brightest....

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The Porsche 953 INK Print – 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally Winner

The Porsche 953

The Porsche 953, sometimes referred to as the Porsche 911 Rally or the Porsche 911 4×4, is one of the most famous skunkworks 911s to ever depart the Stuttgart factory.

The car started life as a regular 911 SC before undergoing a comprehensive rebuild in the hands of Porsche’s best and brightest.

The unibody shell was reinforced throughout to handle the brutal forces generated when racing in the desert, a new manually controlled four-wheel drive system was fitted, and bespoke suspension was developed and installed – giving the car its characteristic high ground clearance.

The Rothmans-liveried Porsche 953 took overall victory in the 1984 Paris–Dakar Rally driven by René Metge and co-driver Dominique Lemoyne, with Jacky Ickx finishing 6th, taking 9 stage victories along the way. A Range Rover V8 would take second, followed by a Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution.

Today we remember the 953 as the testbed for the legendary Porsche 959, it would be the 959 that would race in the Paris-Dakar in 1985, and a year later it would take a 1-2 finish.

The Porsche 953 INK Print

The 953 you see here has been painstaking recreated with no livery – to showcase the car itself. It’s the work of INK, an award-winning creative studio based in England, and they’ve created a series of prints called the “Plain Bodies” series.

Each poster measures in at A2 size and there’s a series of three in total, showing the 953 from the front quarter angle, the side, and the rear quarter.

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Porsche 911 Rally Side

Porsche 911 Rally Rear

Porsche 911 Rally Detail

Porsche 911 Rally Side Detail

Porsche 911 Rally Rear Detail

Images courtesy of INK

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Elemental Custom Cycles BMW R80 Monolever Cafe Racer Project 4 https://silodrome.com/cafe-racer-bmw-r80/ Mon, 14 May 2018 06:01:14 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=77106 Elemental Custom Cycles BMW R80 Monolever Cafe Racer Project 4

The beautiful BMW cafe racer you see here is the work of Elemental Custom Cycles based in Neustadt, Germany just outside of Nuremberg. The core philosophy of the garage is “Life’s to short to ride boring motorcycles” – which sound like words to live by to me. This bike is the latest project from the German...

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Elemental Custom Cycles BMW R80 Monolever Cafe Racer Project 4

The beautiful BMW cafe racer you see here is the work of Elemental Custom Cycles based in Neustadt, Germany just outside of Nuremberg.

The core philosophy of the garage is “Life’s to short to ride boring motorcycles” – which sound like words to live by to me. This bike is the latest project from the German custom motorcycle garage, in true no-nonsense German style they named it “Project 4”.

Project 4 began when Andi, a new Elemental Custom Cycles client, rode 6 hours from Frankfurt to meet the team and discuss a cafe racer build. As luck would have it, they managed to find a BMW R80 for sale locally with just 7,000 kms on the clock while Andi was still in the shop.

The project outline called for a clean, minimalist BMW cafe racer that combined show bike looks, with real world rideability. This was no small task.

The build began with a full teardown and an inspection of all parts (you can scroll down to see a picture of the original bike before work began). It was decided that a new rear subframe would be needed so the team at ECC developed one and fabricated it, the rear of the fuel tank was then elevated slightly to follow the line of the seat base and rear cowl.

BMW R80 Monolever Cafe Racer

The frame was de-tabbed and the front end was lowered 50mm with a pair of Wielbers springs replacing the originals inside the fork tubes. A new adjustable rear monoshock was sourced from YSS, and a pair of Brembo brake rotors replaced the factory units up front.

One of the most challenging aspects of the build was the spoked wheels – it proved remarkably difficult to match hubs, spokes, and rims – giving Andi the 17″ wheels front and back that he wanted, with a 120mm tire upfront and a 150mm unit in the rear.

The eye-catching paintwork on the bike required over 40 drafts before the final design was settled on – the base layer is an Audi Daytona grey metallic with teal accents and 7 layers of clear coat to make it gleam. The final detail was the unique exhaust, the team at ECC couldn’t find an off-the-shelf unit that suited their needs, so they created one in-house, with a bespoke stainless steel muffler under the engine.

The completed bike is fully road legal, it passed the stringent German TÜV regulations and now carries full road registration – a rare thing in the country, with many customs needing to be trailered to shows.

If you’d like to see more from Elemental Custom Cycles you can click here to visit their website, you can also scroll down to read more about the BMW R80 Monolever.

BMW R80 Monolever

The BMW R80 Monolever

The R80 Monolever was built from 1982 to 1995 and enjoyed solid sales numbers, it was powered by a more-reliable-than-taxes 797.5cc boxer twin producing 49hp and 59Nm of torque. BMW built over 22,000 Monolevers during the life of the model, this means that they’re relatively easy to come by in many parts of the world and as they become a little older and a little less expensive we’re seeing a slow increase in the number of custom motorcycle garages that are taking them on as project bikes.

The “T” in “RT” stands for “Touring”, these models had a signifiant fairing added for highway and autobahn cruising at sustained speeds in excess of 100 mph. Many were fitted with hard pannier cases that made them ideal for long distance touring, a role they fulfilled in Germany, across Europe and further afield.

Although it isn’t known how many of the original 22,000 Monolevers have survived to the modern day, I’m willing to bet that the majority of them have survived in some way or other. The bulletproof boxer twin engine, reliable 5-speed transmission, and shaft drive are all renowned for their toughness, rivalling the best of the Japanese bikes for reliability.

Cafe Racer Headlight

BMW R80 Monolever Shock

Cafe Racer Seat

Cafe Racer Clip On Handlebars

BMW R80 Monolever Parking Garage

BMW R80 Monolever Rear

BMW R80 Monolever Tire

BMW R80 Monolever Custom Before and After

Photos by Christian Motzek Photography

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The First Mid-Engined BMW Supercar – The BMW M1 https://silodrome.com/bmw-m1-supercar/ Wed, 25 Apr 2018 07:01:42 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=76499 The First Mid-Engined BMW Supercar – The BMW M1

The BMW M1 was built almost entirely thanks to retired racing driver and head of BMW M-division Jochen Neerpasch, who wanted to challenge Porsche in Group 5 racing, but needed a new purpose-built car to do it. The BMW M1 The project to design and build the car was contracted to Lamborghini – as BMW...

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The First Mid-Engined BMW Supercar – The BMW M1

The BMW M1 was built almost entirely thanks to retired racing driver and head of BMW M-division Jochen Neerpasch, who wanted to challenge Porsche in Group 5 racing, but needed a new purpose-built car to do it.

The BMW M1

The project to design and build the car was contracted to Lamborghini – as BMW had no experience designing and building mid-engined supercars, the M1 was to be their first. The tubular steel spaceframe chassis was designed by Lamborghini’s Gianpaolo Dallara and the body was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro to be loosely based on the 1972 BMW Turbo concept car, which had been built on the BMW 2002 platform.

After the first few production prototypes had been built the decision was made by BMW to pull the project from Lamborghini and manage it themselves. Rumors about an impending Lamborghini bankruptcy had been a grave concern, and BMW didn’t want to risk having the M1 project mired in a company collapse.

BMW M1 Car Side

After pulling the project from Lamborghini the complexity of building the BMW M1 increased significantly. The fiberglass bodies were made by Trasformazione Italiana Resina outside of Modena, the chassis was built by Marchesi (also near Modena), and Ital Design in Turin was responsible for bonding the body to the chassis, fitting the interior, electrics, glass, and other parts.

The rolling chassis were then transported to longtime BMW partner Baur who installed the engine and gearbox, and the remaining trim. The completed cars were then sent to BMW Motorsport in Munich, for final tuning, wheel alignments, and fettling, before being finally delivered to the client.

In order to homologate the car for Group 5 a minimum of 400 examples would need to be made, by the end of production 399 road and 56 race cars had been built, but sadly the car would never race in Group 5 “Silhouette Formula” as the division was abandoned before the M1 was ready.

Despite this set back, BMW did a remarkable job promoting the M1, they developed the Procar Series which was entirely fielded by race-spec M1s, and landed the contract to run the series as support races at Formula 1 Grand Prix around the world. The first championship was won by Niki Lauda in 1979, and the second by Nelson Piquet in 1980. Over in the USA the M1 dominated the 1981 IMSA GTO Championship, with Dave Cowart’s example winning 12 out of the 16 races it entered.

BMW M1 Car Engine

BMW M1 Engine – Transmission – Suspension – Specifications

Whilst most supercars were fitted with either V12s or V8s, the M1 was fitted with an advanced inline-6.

This engine was in no way inferior to its more numerously cylindered counterparts however, called the “M88” the power unit featured double overhead cams, 4-valves per cylinder, a swept capacity of 3453cc, Kugelfischer-Bosch mechanical fuel injection, a Magneti-Marelli ignition, individual throttle bodies, and 277 bhp.

Later turbo-charged racing versions of the M1 would reach power outputs in excess of 850 bhp, but even the 277 bhp original version only needed to propel the car’s relatively light kerb weight of 2,866 lbs (1,300 kgs). The 0-60 dash took 5.6 seconds and the top speed was 160 mph – both very respectable supercar figures for the late 1970s.

Under the fiberglass skin and spaceframe chassis the BMW M1 wad fitted with unequal length wishbones front and rear, with disc brakes on all four corners, anti-roll bars front and rear, and near-perfect weight distribution thanks to the mid-mounted inline-6.

The 1980 BMW M1 Shown Here

The car you see here was purchased new in Belgium by a British diplomat, Mr J Wolfe, who brought it back to the UK and road registered it.

It was acquired by the current owner in 2015 in remarkably original and unrestored condition throughout, he then spent €60,000 with BMW Classic to bring it up to an impeccable standard, and the car is now accompanied by that all-important BMW Classic Certification.

Bonhams will be offering the M1 at the Monaco Sale on the 11th of May with an estimated hammer price of €540,000 to €580,000, if you’d like to read more about the car or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.

BMW M1 Car Rear Side

BMW M1 Car Front 1

BMW M1 Car

BMW M1 Car Vents

BMW M1 Car Shifter

BMW M1 Car Rear Light

BMW M1 Car Interior

BMW M1 Car Interior 2

BMW M1 Car Front

BMW M1 Car Books

Images courtesy of Bonhams

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The Art of Kathrin Longhurst https://silodrome.com/art-kathrin-longhurst/ Thu, 05 Apr 2018 02:00:30 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=75895 The Art of Kathrin Longhurst

Kathrin Longhurst is an artist born behind the Iron Curtain in East Berlin in 1971, she started art classes at 14, but they were interrupted when she escaped with her family to Sweden at the age of 15. After traveling widely throughout Europe, Asia and America, Kathrin settled in Sydney and pursued her passion for...

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The Art of Kathrin Longhurst

Kathrin Longhurst is an artist born behind the Iron Curtain in East Berlin in 1971, she started art classes at 14, but they were interrupted when she escaped with her family to Sweden at the age of 15.

After traveling widely throughout Europe, Asia and America, Kathrin settled in Sydney and pursued her passion for painting – frequently using the muse of the Soviet propaganda posters that were a common sight during her early years.

“Propaganda is all around us. It’s not specific to a period of time, a country or a regime… it’s everywhere” – Kathrin Longhurst

Since settling in Australia Kathrin has become a respected member of the Australian arts community, she served as vice president for Portrait Artists Australia and is currently founder and director of the innovative Project 504, an art space that fosters collaboration between emerging and established Australian artists.

She’s been a finalist in numerous awards including the prestigious 2012 Sulman Prize, the Mosman Art Prize, the Portia Geach Award, the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Prize, the Korea Australia Arts Foundation Prize and the WA Black Swan Prize. Her work is now collected widely in Australia and internationally.

See more of her work via her website here, or follow her on InstagramFacebookTwitter

Discovered via In Venus Veritas

Art of Kathrin Longhurst

Art of Kathrin Longhurst

Art of Kathrin Longhurst

Art of Kathrin Longhurst

Art of Kathrin Longhurst

Art of Kathrin Longhurst

Art of Kathrin Longhurst

Art of Kathrin Longhurst

Art of Kathrin Longhurst

Art of Kathrin Longhurst

Art of Kathrin Longhurst

Art of Kathrin Longhurst

Art of Kathrin Longhurst

Art of Kathrin Longhurst

All images ©2018 – Kathrin Longhurst

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The Hohner Marine Band Harmonica – King of the Harps https://silodrome.com/hohner-marine-band-harmonica/ Tue, 27 Mar 2018 04:00:31 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=75289 The Hohner Marine Band Harmonica – King of the Harps

The Hohner Marine Band Harmonica was first released in 1896, and it’s changed very little in the hundred+ years since. Although it was initially used in European folk music, it was quickly picked up by American blues and early rock n’ roll musicians, and it became the de facto harmonica for both these burgeoning music...

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The Hohner Marine Band Harmonica – King of the Harps

The Hohner Marine Band Harmonica was first released in 1896, and it’s changed very little in the hundred+ years since. Although it was initially used in European folk music, it was quickly picked up by American blues and early rock n’ roll musicians, and it became the de facto harmonica for both these burgeoning music genres.

Over the years the Marine Band has been played to sold out stadiums by the likes of John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Butterfield, Little Walter, Neil Young, and dozens of others. Many (if not most) harmonica experts recommend the Hohner Marine Band Harmonica in the key of C as ideal for beginners, but still well and truly full-featured enough to be seen on stage around the world being played by the best in the business.

Harmonicas can be ordered in a range of keys, the Marine Band is offered in 13 keys (and tunings), and many professional players will have a case that contains 5 to 10 different harmonicas to suit all possible requirements. For players just starting out the key of C is ideal as it will match almost all of the harmonica tutorials on YouTube and elsewhere, and it has the range to be played in a wide variety of musical genres.

Hohner designed the Marine Band to last, with a double lacquered pearwood comb, 20 reeds, 0.9mm brass reedplates, and stainless steel covers. There are examples of the Marine Band that are now over 100 years old that are still in regular use.

It’s possible to become a passable harmonica player with a few weeks of practice, though mastering it will obviously take years. There are thousands of free lessons available on YouTube, not to mention countless books, so it’s probably the easiest (and cheapest) time in history to pick it up as an instrument.

The video below includes ample footage of the Hohner Marine Band Harmonica being played by some of the world’s foremost experts, and it includes a discussion including the history of the harp, and some examples of the harmonica being used to play a wide variety of music styles.

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Hohner Marine Band Harmonica

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The DKW W2000 / Hercules W-2000 Rotary – A Wankel Rotary Motorcycle https://silodrome.com/dkw-w2000-wankel-rotary-motorcycle/ Tue, 13 Mar 2018 07:00:52 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=74604 The DKW W2000 / Hercules W-2000 Rotary – A Wankel Rotary Motorcycle

The DKW W2000 is a rotary-engined motorcycle that was sold under the name “Hercules W-2000” in all world markets outside the United Kingdom – it was the first rotary motorcycle (in full production) in the world and its engine would go on to form the basis of the Norton rotary-engined motorcycles that would be produced...

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The DKW W2000 / Hercules W-2000 Rotary – A Wankel Rotary Motorcycle

The DKW W2000 is a rotary-engined motorcycle that was sold under the name “Hercules W-2000” in all world markets outside the United Kingdom – it was the first rotary motorcycle (in full production) in the world and its engine would go on to form the basis of the Norton rotary-engined motorcycles that would be produced well into the early 1990s.

The Origins of the DKW W2000 / Hercules W-2000

In the 1960s the Wankel rotary engine must have seemed like it was poised to take over the world. The emissions concerns that would help sink the design decades later weren’t even a consideration at the time, and the promise of the Wankel concept seemed almost unbeatable.

For those unfamiliar with the internal workings of a rotary engine there’s a video below which is the best basic introduction I’ve seen, although you will need to mute it as the creator has added a stock electronic music clip to it that’ll have you stabbing pencils into your ears to make the sound stop.

As you can see, the engine has as very few moving parts, no cams, valves, conrods, crank shaft, or other parts you’d find in a normal piston engine. The advantages of a rotary engine are its light weight, high power to weight ratio, minimal vibration, a much lower possibility of catastrophic engine failure, cheap production costs, high-RPM operation, and and a smaller engine size resulting smaller engine bay requirements.

There are some downsides to the rotary engine too, namely, they consume quite a lot of fuel, they need oil added to the fuel in small amounts to lubricate the apex seals (bad for emissions), they produce lower torque figures, and apex seals can be prone to issues. There are other benefits and drawbacks of course, but this is just a basic outline for the sake of context.

The DKW W2000 / Hercules W-2000 came about when the engineers at Fichtel & Sach (later known as (ZF Sachs AG or just “Sachs”) were tasked with seeing if it was possible to bolt a rotary snowmobile engine into a motorcycle frame. The company had been purchased by Fichtel & Sach in 1963, and it was decided to release this new rotary motorcycle under the Hercules name, except in the UK where the DKW name was used for reasons that are lost to history.

The engine is an air-cooled, single-rotor 294cc Wankel unit capable of 27 to 32 hp at 6500 rpm, and the power was sent to the 6-speed wet-clutch gearbox via a 90° bevel gear. Although rare, Wankel engines are ideal for motorcycles as they’re almost entirely vibration free and they weigh far less than a comparable reciprocating internal combustion engine.

DKW W2000 Hercules W-2000 Rotary - A Wankel Rotary Motorcycle Top

The Production and Sales of the DKW W2000 / Hercules W-2000

The prototype of the Hercules W-2000 was first shown at the German trade show Internationale Motorrad und Fahrrad-Ausstellung in 1970 where it garnered much interest from the general public – both for its unusual engine and its unique appearance.

Production began in 1974 and ended in 1977, the production bike offered 40 mpg (US) and a top speed of 140 km/h (90 mph) with a dry weight of 173 kilograms.

Sales weren’t particularly brisk, and period reviews were largely negative – but many of the bikes survived because most of the people who bought them were a little unusual, and they bought them because they loved the engineering rather than any specific positive attribute or magazine review.

The Hercules W-2000 wouldn’t die in 1977 when production ended however – the tooling was bought by Norton who had been impressed by the mule rotary motorcycle developed by David Garside using a BSA B25 ‘Starfire’ frame. Norton produced a number of low-volume rotary motorcycles and a series of very successful racing motorcycles including the Norton RCW588 – which won the 1992 Isle of Man Senior TT and the 1994 British Superbike Championship, a final vindication for those German engineers all the way back in the late 1960s.

The 1978 DKW W2000 you see here is wearing its original black on red paint work and is ready to ride away. The estimated hammer price is £3,500 to £4,500, which actually seems rather affordable for an interesting piece of history like this – and I guarantee that this bike could be parked at literally any motorcycle gathering in the world and draw a crowd.

If you’d like to read more about this DKW or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing on Bonhams.

DKW W2000 Hercules W-2000 Rotary - A Wankel Rotary Motorcycle Side

DKW W2000 Hercules W-2000 Rotary - A Wankel Rotary Motorcycle Rear

DKW W2000 Hercules W-2000 Rotary - A Wankel Rotary Motorcycle Front

DKW W2000 Hercules W-2000 Rotary - A Wankel Rotary Motorcycle Engine

DKW W2000 Rotary - A Wankel Rotary Motorcycle Engine 3

DKW W2000 Rotary - A Wankel Rotary Motorcycle Engine 2

DKW W2000 Rotary - A Wankel Rotary Motorcycle 1

Images courtesy of Bonhams

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The Rare 1.2 Liter 1970 Clymer Münch Mammoth https://silodrome.com/munch-mammoth-motorcycle/ Fri, 09 Mar 2018 07:00:50 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=74532 The Rare 1.2 Liter 1970 Clymer Münch Mammoth

The Munch Mammoth, or more correctly the “Münch Mammoth”, was a superbike first released in the late 1960s with a 1.2 liter 4-cylinder car engine fitted to a custom frame and capable of up to 104 bhp depending on the model. The Mammoth was released at a time when one of the world’s leading sports...

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The Rare 1.2 Liter 1970 Clymer Münch Mammoth

The Munch Mammoth, or more correctly the “Münch Mammoth”, was a superbike first released in the late 1960s with a 1.2 liter 4-cylinder car engine fitted to a custom frame and capable of up to 104 bhp depending on the model. The Mammoth was released at a time when one of the world’s leading sports bikes, the Norton Commando, had an engine that was 745cc and produced 58 bhp.

It’s often referred to with a “u” instead of a “ü” for the simple reason that many don’t know how to make the character (including me until this morning).

The Mighty Münch Mammoth

The project to develop the Münch Mammoth began in 1965 when Freidl Münch who formerly worked in the Horex racing department was contacted by the affluent French sidecar racer Jean Murit. Jean laid out a plan to create the world’s most powerful production motorcycle, essentially a superbike though that term wouldn’t be coined for a few more years.

Freidl set to work immediately, he knew that developing their own engine from a blank sheet would wipe out their budget, so he sourced an engine from the NSU Prinz 1000 – a German compact car designed to compete with the likes of the Mini and the Beetle.

The new engine for the NSU Prinz was a 996cc air-cooled unit with a chain-driven single overhead cam, 4-cylinders, and a choice of one, two, or four carburettors. Although it must have seemed like madness at the time, this engine was actually well-suited to motorcycle use, and it would only be a few years later that the same basic layout (and approximate size) would become the power unit of choice for the globally dominant Universal Japanese Motorcycles.

Münch Mammoth

Obviously there was no pre-existing frame on the market that would match the engine, so Friedl Münch took the best handling motorcycle frame of the time, the Norton Featherbed, and created his own version from scratch.

The Mammoth was fitted with ample braking front and rear, a large fuel tank, and its now-famous twin headlight arrangement.

The first Münch Mammoth prototype was ridden by Jean Murit at the head of a motorcycle procession through the Val d’Isère to Col de l’Iseran mountain pass. This new, gigantic motorcycle attracted an enormous amount of attention, and a production version was developed for public consumption.

Over the next few years the Mammoth would be produced in a number of variations, including the 1177cc NSU engine released in 1968 – this proved so powerful that it would break the spokes of the rear wheel under heavy acceleration. A new cast magnesium rear wheel was developed, and it was used on all models from then onwards, including the most powerful iteration of the Mammoth – fitted with Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection and capable of 104 bhp.

A special US-only version was developed in collaboration with company investor Floyd Clymer, these were named the Clymer-Münch Mammoth IV and the motorcycle you see here is one of them. Over the course of its production it’s thought that about 500 units were made – many of which have survived due to their rarity and value.

The 1970 Clymer Münch Mammoth Shown Here

The red and black Clymer Münch Mammoth you see here is an all-original 1970 model fitted with the highly desirable 1177cc engine and twin Weber 40DCOE carburetors. It was originally sold in New Jersey but over the course of its life it made its way back to Germany – where it was sold to the current owner in November 2014 from Fuchs Motorrad of Osnabrück.

The Mammoth has been recently restored to a very high level using only original parts, and it comes with its previous German registration document, HMR&C correspondence, SORN paperwork, V5C Registration Certificates, some record of servicing and parts bills, and two MoTs.

If you’d like to read more about this bike or register to bid you can click here to visit Bonhams.

Munch Mammoth Engine 3

Münch Mammoth Engine

Münch Mammoth Headlight

Münch Mammoth Main Picture

Munch Mammoth Rear

Munch Mammoth Brake

Munch Mammoth Engine

Images courtesy of Bonhams

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1961 Volkswagen Type 2 Single-Cab Pickup https://silodrome.com/volkswagen-type-2-pickup/ Wed, 28 Feb 2018 07:00:04 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=71420 1961 Volkswagen Type 2 Single-Cab Pickup

The Volkswagen Type 2 Single-Cab Pickup was based on the iconic VW Bus, a vehicle that revolutionized the automotive industry almost as much as the little bug-shaped Beetle it was based on. The Origins Of The Volkswagen Type 2 Funnily enough, the now legendary VW Type 2 was invented almost entirely by accident. Volkswagen factory...

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1961 Volkswagen Type 2 Single-Cab Pickup

The Volkswagen Type 2 Single-Cab Pickup was based on the iconic VW Bus, a vehicle that revolutionized the automotive industry almost as much as the little bug-shaped Beetle it was based on.

The Origins Of The Volkswagen Type 2

Funnily enough, the now legendary VW Type 2 was invented almost entirely by accident. Volkswagen factory workers had built a rudimentary boxy van based on the flat platform used by the VW Beetle to transport parts within the factory, and it was seen by Dutch VW importer Ben Pon on a visit to the plant in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Ben immediately recognized the potential for such a vehicle, and sketched out a more elegant design of the VW van. At the time, production was at capacity. It was just two years after the end of WWII, and VW production was was running at capacity providing the cheap and versatile Beetle for consumers in Germany, and around the world.

Two years after Ben’s eureka moment in 1947 the first VW Type 2 rolled off the production line, the development phase had taken about three months, and it was realized quickly that the stock Type 1 Beetle floorpan wasn’t going to be strong enough. A ladder type chassis was created, then fitted with a unitized body that sat the driver and passengers at the very front, and the cargo in the rear.

As with the Beetle, the Type 2 had a rear-mounted, air-cooled flat-4. The location of the engine allowed the rear cargo bay to have a flat floor all the way back which made loading and unloading simple,  though the rear section could get a little toasty on long drives.

The Volkswagen Type 2 and the Technical University of Braunschweig Wind Tunnel

The original Type 2 prototype had appalling aerodynamics. There was limited engine power, so the engineers used the wind tunnel at the Technical University of Braunschweig to experiment with methods for lowering the drag coefficient and improving both fuel efficiency and cruising speed.

The target was to match or exceed the drag coefficient of the Type 1 at Cd=0.48. This was a little ambitious as the Type 2 was essentially a steel brick on wheels, with the original prototype testing in at Cd=0.75.

It was realized that by splitting the windshield into a “V” (when viewed from overhead) and curving the front of the vehicle smoothly back from the centerline, the aerodynamics could be improved significantly. By the time the wind tunnel testing was complete, the new VW Type 2 had a drag coefficient of just Cd=0.44.

The 1961 Volkswagen Type 2 Single-Cab Pickup Shown Here

The Type 2 you see here is an original Pickup model, far more rare than the Microbus and Van variants. All three sides of the tray back fold down, and there’s additional storage under the centre section. It’s finished in a highly desirable two-tone red and white, with chrome accents, and white bumpers front and back.

The vehicle was restored in 2009 with Paul Willison of Brumos Racing fame contracted to complete the mechanicals and final detailing. The vehicle is now described as “needing absolutely nothing and can be driven anywhere with confidence.”

If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid, you can click here to visit the listing on RM Sotheby’s.

Volkswagen Single-Cab Pickup

Volkswagen Type 2

Volkswagen Type 2

Volkswagen Type 2

Volkswagen Type 2

Volkswagen Type 2

Volkswagen Type 2

Volkswagen Type 2

Volkswagen Type 2

Volkswagen Type 2

Volkswagen Type 2

Volkswagen Type 2

Volkswagen Type 2

Volkswagen Type 2

Volkswagen Type 2

Volkswagen Type 2

Volkswagen Type 2

Images courtesy of RM Sotheby’s ©2018

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1958 BMW 507 Roadster Series II https://silodrome.com/bmw-507-roadster-car/ Fri, 02 Feb 2018 07:00:36 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=70957 1958 BMW 507 Roadster Series II

In 1959 Elvis Presley shipped out to Germany for his military service, while stationed off base he bought himself a white BMW 507 Roadster to use for getting to and from the base, and for getting around town. The young women of Friedberg were just as in love with the singer as those on the...

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1958 BMW 507 Roadster Series II

In 1959 Elvis Presley shipped out to Germany for his military service, while stationed off base he bought himself a white BMW 507 Roadster to use for getting to and from the base, and for getting around town.

The young women of Friedberg were just as in love with the singer as those on the other side of the pond, and before long they began leaving little love notes and the phone numbers written on his car in red lipstick.

His solution was simple and elegant. He had the little V8 convertible repainted in the same shade of bright red as the lipstick, and the messages stopped.

Despite the low production numbers of the BMW 507 with just 252 made, it’s a car that often had interesting owners, and many of the surviving cars have fascinating back stories.

Max Hoffman And The Roadster Suggestion

The idea for the BMW 507 Roadster came from the mind of hugely influential US automobile importer Max Hoffman – an Austrian immigrant to America who would become one of the most important men in the automotive world in the mid-20th century.

Hoffman’s European roots combined with his life in the USA gave him good insight into the minds of car makers and car buyers on both sides of the Atlantic. He’s the man who suggested the production of the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, the Porsche 356 Speedster, the BMW 507 roadster, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider, the BMW 2002 and many more cars now considered highlights of the age.

Hoffman suggested a roadster design to BMW that would be based on the platforms used by the BMW 501 and 502. The car would be targeted directly at a gap in the market he had noticed between the high-end Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, and the far less expensive convertibles being built by Triumph, Sunbeam, and MG.

The BMW 507 Roadster And (Nearly) The End Of BMW

On the face of it, Hoffman was right. If BMW had been able to keep costs down and out out the 507 Roadster at a price point halfway between the less expensive British roadsters and the high-end German Gullwing, they would have almost certainly had a success on their hands.

Designer Albrecht von Goertz was contracted to design the body, and he created one of the most beautiful cars of the time by many accounts. Costs began to get a little out of hand, a problem that was exacerbated by the fact that each 507 Roadster was fitted with a body hand-formed from aluminum by highly skilled craftsmen. A very slow and expensive process.

BMW used their pre-existing aluminium-alloy OHV V8 to power the 507, with a capacity of 3168cc and 150 hp, resulting in a car capable of a very respectable 122 mph.

When Hoffman had suggested the car to BMW, he had told them to target an MSRP of $5000 USD. Costs had spiraled during development, and by the time it hit the market it cost $9000 and quickly went up further to $10,500 USD.

As a result of this, just 252 were sold, BMW lost millions of dollars, and very nearly bankrupted themselves. Decades later the punchy little 507 Roadster would become a major source of inspiration for BMW’s new generation of designers, and cars like the Z3 and Z4 would borrow heavily from the styling of Albrecht von Goertz’s original.

The 1958 BMW 507 Roadster Series II Shown Here

The car you see here has its own special backstory. It was bought brand new on the 23rd of April 1958 by Wilhelm Bartels, the owner of a footwear store, for his beloved wife Elisabeth. She fell in love with her new car and it became one of her most treasured possessions.

A few years after it was purchased, the Bartels had it upgraded with new front disc brakes by their local authorized BMW mechanic. Astonishingly, this same mechanic would work on the car whenever it needed attention from new in the late 1950s to the present day.

The current owner first came across the car when he met Elisabeth in 1983, he tried to buy the car but she adamantly refused, and she wouldn’t relent for decades. Finally in 2004 she agreed to sell the car, and the current owner made a point of going by to visit her in the 507 until her passing in 2006.

Overall the car remains in remarkable condition throughout, the new owner only fitted new carpets, a new soft top, a set of Rudge wheels, and some new seat upholstery – everything is as it was from the factory.

The car is now due to be sold by RM Sotheby’s on the 7th of February in Paris, if you’d like to read more or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.

Images courtesy of RM Sotheby’s ©2018 Dirk de Jager

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An Amphibious Classic: The 1963 Amphicar 770 https://silodrome.com/amphibious-classic-car-amphicar/ Wed, 24 Jan 2018 06:01:22 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=70504 An Amphibious Classic: The 1963 Amphicar 770

The Amphicar is a 100% amphibious car built by the Germans in the 1960s, and lovingly described by their owners as “the fastest car on the water and the fastest boat on the road”. This joke is a reference to the somewhat stately 7 mph top speed on water and 70 mph top speed on...

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An Amphibious Classic: The 1963 Amphicar 770

The Amphicar is a 100% amphibious car built by the Germans in the 1960s, and lovingly described by their owners as “the fastest car on the water and the fastest boat on the road”. This joke is a reference to the somewhat stately 7 mph top speed on water and 70 mph top speed on land – hence the name “770”.

The Designs the Amphicar

The design of the Amphicar was based on lessons learned in Germany from the aptly named Volkswagen Schwimmwagen, a WWII era amphibious car designed by Erwin Komenda – a man who would later design the Porsche 356 and Porsche 550 Spyder alongside Ferry Porsche.

Hans Trippel became fascinated with the Schwimmwagen and believed fervently that there would be a large market for an amphibious “fun” car in the United States. This turned out to be incorrect, but fortunately he didn’t know this at the time, and as a result we now have a few thousand Amphicars dotted around the world.

The Engineering of the Amphicar

Trippel developed the Amphicar with a steel unibody design, a folding soft top, two doors, a rear mounted engine, and twin propellers. The nose of the car needed to be rather boat like for hydrodynamic reasons, but also to ensure it would clear a boat ramp when driving out of the water.

A series of engines were tested in the Amphicar, and the best suited turned out to be a British design, not German. The little 1,147cc inline-4 from the Triumph Herald fit neatly into the engine compartment, and could produce 43 hp that was sent either to the wheels or to the propellers.

Rather than adding the complexity of rudders, steering is achieved using the front two wheels in exactly the same way that the car steers on land. This does work, though rather slowly, so some forethought needs to go into turning when out on the water.

The Amphicar In Popular Culture

The Amphicar launched at the 1961 New York Auto Show to much fanfare. Breathless newspaper articles wondered if it represented the future of all cars, and some even wondered if cars with fold out wings would be next – so people could fly themselves to work and avoid traffic.

In September 1965 a pair of Amphicars crossed the English Channel from France to England, tackling waves that were reported to be 20 feet high and gale force winds in the process. In the same year two other Amphicars would navigate the Yukon River in Alaska – proving conclusively that the little floating car was nothing if not hardy.

The most famous owner was doubtless US President Lyndon B. Johnson, who used to delight in terrifying his passengers on his ranch in Texas, by rolling down a hillside into a lake while yelling something about his brakes not working.

Sadly, the Amphicar didn’t sell particularly well. The manufacturers in West Germany had estimated that sales would be in the order of 20,000 per year, but by the end of production just 3,878 had been sold worldwide.

The 1963 Amphicar 770 Shown Here

The Amphicar you see here is currently residing in France, and it carries a French Carte Grise (a certificate to sail), meaning it can legally be piloted up almost any waterway in the country.

It’s recently been fitted with a new soft top, it had some recent work done on waterproofing the body, and it comes with invoices totaling almost €8,000.

Although only a few thousand were produced, there’s a thriving community of Amphicar owners around the world. Providing an invaluable resource for acquiring parts and advice, and swapping tips and tricks.

If you’d like to read more about this car or register to bid, you can click here to visit Bonhams.

Images courtesy of Bonhams

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