Bonhams Pioneer, Vintage
& Classic Motorcycle Auctions

Bonhams Motorcycle Department

1953 BMW R51/3

Date Published:
14 Mar 2018
Los Angeles, California

This is a 1953 R51/3. It bears VIN 535202 on the engine and frame plate. There is no VIN on the frame itself. It is possible the number in covered under a re-paint or maybe the frame was replaced. Apparently, BMW replacement frames were unnumbered and it was left to the dealer to re-stamp the VIN if the tools were available. I obtained the bike from an 80 year old collector of vintage cars and bikes who was liquidating his collection. The prior owner reported that he obtained the bike approximately 20 years ago from a US soldier who brought it to the US. The prior owner rode the bike only a few times before storing it with the rest of his collection. He sold it to me in the same condition he bought it. It was reported that the US serviceman had it connected to a sidecar at one time, but eventually removed it. The bike still has the the sidecar final drive. The speedo reads 4460 km, but true mileage is unknown. BMW has confirmed the bike was manufactured on May 12, 1953 and delivered on June 9th of that year to the dealer Fleck & Rath in Metzingen, Germany. The bike has good compression and runs and shifts smoothly. The carbs are original and have been cleaned and have new floats. There are a few new parts including, a /2 petcock, battery and brake cable. The tank is pretty clean. The tank, fenders, headlight and other sheet metal are all in very good shape – there are some surface scratches but no significant dings. The handlebars and the valve covers are not original. The tires are older but appear unused. It appears the bike was re-painted, which also included the painting the wheels, mufflers and air filter black. As you can see from the photos, there are some aesthetics one might want to address. For the most part it is a pretty complete and ready-to-ride bike. It has a clear California title which is currently under non operation status.