London,The Jack Barclay Showroom
10 September 2002
c. 1960 BMW R69S MOTORCYCLE COMBINATION
Registration No. Not UK Registered
Frame No. 657 332
Engine No. 632 949
Black with white lines and black seats.
Engine: four-stroke flat-twin cylinder, 594cc, 42hp at 7000 rpm; Gearbox: four speed, with foot shift; Suspension: front and rear by coil spring with oil-pressure dampers; Brakes: front and rear drums. Left hand ride.
The successor to a series of renowned R Series models that had begun in production in the late 1930s, the R 69 S made its debut in 1960. The fastest boxer engine that the company had yet built it provided a top speed of 109mph, and an exceptional level of refinement throughout. The 'S' designation stood for sport, an apt title and omen for the wealth of competition success that the machine would achieve. At the beginning of the following year it set a new World 24 hour record at 95.4 mph, then won the Barcelona 24 Hour and Thruxton 500 mile races. By the end of the year it had earned the company world acclaim, breaking further records at Montlhery for 12 and 24 hours at 109.24 and 109.34 mph respectively.
Due to the sturdy nature of the chassis frame, many R69S's were fitted with sidecars, usually being those manufactured by Steib of Nürnberg. This combination has a TR 500 Steib sidecar fitted, which features a rear boot area and proper detachable windscreen for the passenger, at the time of cataloguing we have been unable to ascertain whether the sidecar is an original unit, owing to its unusual frame fitting and suspension. The combination has resided for many years in Japan, where it clearly saw use as among the 34 year old 'Japan Sidecar Community' group as it proudly wears a sticker from this club stating 'We love Sidecars'!
The combination appears to be to standard specification, with the exception of its fibreglass 'Ranger' fairing, which was produced by Wixom Bros. Co. of Long Beach, California USA, suggesting that it was purchased by the current owner in America.
On a cursory inspection by a member of Christie's staff, there were no obvious items missing, and in general its presentation is good. From its condition it would appear to have been restored at some stage. Its speedometer notes a mere 340 kilometers, which we would suggest is post restoration. The engine turns over freely, but we have not tried to start or run the machine, so would recommend careful re-commissioning before road use.
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