To Germany this week, or more specifically Bavaria for a rare six-wheeled sporting combo spotted amongst the list of lots in Gooding & Co’s Amelia Island catalogue.
Reviewers at the time reckoned the BMW R69S to be the two-wheeled equivalent of a Rolls Royce. They were considered to be the pinnacle of two-wheeled engineering; the finest machine that money could buy.
The smoothness came from a superbly engineered, horizontally opposed 600cc twin-cylinder motor which transmitted its healthy 43bhp to the rear wheel through a shaft-drive system, and not the usual chain and sprockets. The esteemed Cycle World magazine said of it ‘…it is still the smoothest, best finished, quietest and cleanest motorcycle it has ever been our pleasure to ride.’
Today, over fifty years since most of them were made they still look wonderful – typically presented in black with tasteful white pinstriping – and so evocative. There were a number of similar vintage BMW machines at last year’s Revival meeting and they rightly commanded many covetous glances.
This one is supposedly an expertly-restored, matching-numbers example and one of the finest available. Certainly, judging by the available image it looks just right and ready to go. It’s likely to get somewhere near its top estimate of $40,000, which is a lot, but add to it some vintage Gold Top boots with submariners socks, a retro Davida helmet in silver, and a set of black two-piece Lewis leathers and you’d be within sight of the summit of two-wheeled vintage cool.
The R69S is a rare item, but not nearly as rare as the four-wheeled side of this week’s combo. Originally sold as the Glas 1300GT, the car became known as the BMW 1600GT after Glas’s acquisition by BMW. The famous Bavarian firm fitted its own 1600cc motor and replaced Glas’s rigid rear axle with an independent system.
Despite appealing styling by Frua and extra power and control thanks to BMW’s intervention, the car was built for only 14 months in which time just 1,255 rolled off the production line. As such, they are extremely rare today. This one is a matching numbers car, has a know history from new, and was in the same ownership from 1982 to 2013; exactly the kind of thing buyers want to hear to put them in the mood to spend big on a classic.
You’re likely to need the neck-end of $75,000 to make the 1600GT yours, which again is a lot. But at least its acquisition won’t require you to get fitted-out in a set of leathers!