BMW R12 motorcycle and sidecar combination

Place Europe: Germany
Accession Number REL/16441.001
Collection type Technology
Object type Vehicle
Physical description Leather, Rubber, Steel
Location Main Bld: World War 2 Gallery: Gallery 1 - Mediterranean: Floor
Place made Germany
Date made c 1941
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Fully restored BMW R12 750cc motorcycle, sidecar combination in operating condition. The vehicle has been finished in the early German war scheme of dark grey and has black upholstery. The engine is finished in polished bare metal with black and silver cylinder heads and a black exhaust sustem. Most detail items have been fitted. This includes the front headlight with built in speedometer, rear tail lights and reflectors, front and rear number plate brackets. Three small aluminium discs depicting the BMW logo of the quartered circle are mounted on each side of the fuel tank with the third fitted to the side car. The frame is made from built up steel pressings and some steel tubing which connects the sidecar with the motorcycle. The front end suspension uses telescoping forks with hydraulic damping while the rear end is rigid. The sidecar has leaf springing. The drivers seat uses two vertical coil springs to assist in shock absorbtion while the pillion seat is dampened using a horizontal coil spring. A black ring handhold is fitted for the pillion position. The sidecar has a grab bar mounted for the passenger and behind the passengers compartment is a small storage boot with hinged lid. A tan coloured, leather pannier bag is also fitted. Rivetted to the front top of the sidecar is a small rectangular white metal plate titled 'Krad B' which specifies three different weights in kilograms. The rear and sidecar tyres are Dunlop Universals 4"x18". The front tyre is a Barum 3.5" x 19".

History / Summary

The BMW R12 was (with the R17) the first production motorcycles to be equipped with hydraulically damped telescopic forks. The R12 was also BMW's first motorcycle to come with a four-speed gearbox and the large capacity boxer motor proved ideal for sidecar work. The R12 proved a great commercial success, with 38,000 made in the years 1935 to 1938. It also did extensive service with the German military before the R75 was introduced.

The provenance of this item is unknown.