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The Von Dutch 1953 BMW 500cc R51/3 Frame no. 539141 Engine no. 539141

Sold for US$32,760 inc. premium

The Von Dutch
1953 BMW 500cc R51/3
Frame no. 539141
Engine no. 539141

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 recognizably related to the first of its type, the 1923 R32, and like those of its (500cc) 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. In 1938 the model was up-dated as the R51, gaining a telescopic front fork and plunger rear suspension, and continued in production until 1940.

BMW recommenced civilian production in December 1948 with the R24 single, but it would be another 12 months before a twin-cylinder model became available again. This was the R51/2 based, as its designation suggests, on the pre-war R51. Improvements incorporated into the R51/2 included a two-way damped front fork, gearbox main-shaft damper and strengthened frame. In truth, the R51/2 was only a stopgap model to get production under way while BMW worked on something more modern. Its replacement, the R51/3 - arrived in February 1951, and despite the similarity in designation had an entirely new and much neater looking engine incorporating a single gear-driven camshaft and crankshaft-mounted generator among a host of other advances.

Acquired by the current owner in 1997, this BMW R51/3 was restored in 1966 by noted painter, customize and all-round craftsman, ‘Von Dutch’ (Kenneth Howard). The machine comes with two gas tanks: a Hoske painted by Dutch (but unsigned) and another (believed Ducati) signed, ‘Von Dutch is still alive '66.’ Believed last registered in 1979 or 1984, the machine features various chromed components and non-stock front fender, and is offered with old bills of sale and California Certificate of Ownership.

Saleroom notices

Lot 840, a 1954 BMW 500cc R51/3, is incorrected listed as a model year 1953.

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Exempt from tax
Zero rated for tax, no tax will be added to the Hammer Price or the Buyer's Premium.

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