With the production of the BMW R68 in 1952, the motorcycle manufacturer met the international demand to build a very sporty machine again. The 67cc overhead valve engine based on the R2/600 had modified cylinder heads and delivered 35 hp. This resulted in a top speed of more than 160 kilometers per hour, which gave the R68 the nickname "Hundert-Meilen-Renner". The sleek name of the famous '100 mph' designation that the British used for their 160 km/h fast toppers and their riders, the 'Ton Up Boys'.
A BMW R68 restoration
The bike was presented on October 28, 1951 at the first post-war motor show in Germany, in Frankfurt. The BMW R68 was the star of the show. Germany again had an engine to be proud of. A motorcycle, in other words, with a top speed of more than 160 km/h…
At that top speed, it turned out that the actual pre-war plunger rear suspension really couldn't handle the violence. The handling lagged far behind the performance, a phenomenon that we also encountered on Japanese motorcycles in the early 68s. The road-holding restrictions led to some accidents and angry reports in the press. These problems have undoubtedly been the reason why so few R1954s have been made and sold. And are left. The manual ignition timing adjustment was also a throwback to the past. In 68 the R66 got full hubs and aluminum rims. Like the pre-war top model R68, the BMW R1452 was produced in modest numbers, 1454 (or 68) units in three years. That rarity now makes the motorcycles true – and expensive – collector's items. The R69 was further developed in the sporty line to the R69 and the RXNUMXS.
Originality is an asset
This early example with steel bushings instead of harmonica rubbers around the front fork legs and with half hub drum brakes, has gone through a lot of wanderings before its rebirth. But eventually the owner ended up in Vorden with his BMW R68.
Restoring a BMW is relatively easy. BMW itself supports keeping its own history instant. And there will have to be a lot of money, but the brand still delivers a lot of new parts. A lot is not everything. And to find the missing parts, a global network is needed. A network that runs outside the Internet.
The engine was disassembled
All parts of the BMW R68 were classified and the engine block and gearbox went to yet another older craftsman who also gets his days filled without any advertising. He does not want to be mentioned by name. No photos are allowed in his modest, but fully equipped workshop. In fact, he only works for pleasure. For friends.
The BMW has been reborn in perfect mint condition
In the workshop he stands with the centerstand on a piece of cloth. Because there should be no scratches on the centerstand. The engine no longer goes on the road. The owner puts it inside, in the house. As a work of art and investment. Builder Theo Terwel, a recognized BMW enthusiast, is satisfied that the BMW R68 does not steer, does not brake and has no power. And that he is very small. But at the time it was made, the average height of a Western European was also only 1,72 m.
And what is such a machine worth?
Think of something like 40.000 euros. That is quite a lot. But if you consider that for that money you also have a new GL 1800 Goldwing, then the choice is not difficult, is it?
– How to get AMK on the bus every month with such a handy AMK subscription
- Restoration BMW R 68
- Restoration is investing in loss
- More stories about classic engines
- BMW vs IMZ and KMZ: What is in a name