The R68 is probably the most sought after post-war BMW motorcycle. Only 1,149 were built between 1952 and 1954. The numbers ranged from 650211 to 651360 and span that three year period. I remember buying the bike in Panama, NY, maybe in 1982, but I am not totally sure. I paid $750 for it which was all the money I had to my name at that time.
Every bike has a story and this one is no exception. I went with a friend to look at it as he was planning to buy it. Weeks later, I asked if he planned to buy the bike and he said no, so I went down and purchased it. The tires were flat and the color was green. It was dirty … it was beautiful/ugly. Like most BMWs it started and ran. So I put tires on and rode it for two years. At this point in time, I knew nothing about this bikes heritage and following.
I was approached by two friends with an offer to restore the bike for only the cost of parts. One was a great painter and the other a great mechanic and since I trusted them, I gave them the bike. They hauled it off to Boston, MA and I started to get requests from them for parts. This was before the Internet and finding rare parts without knowing anything about vintage bikes was a time laden and expensive proposition. Three years later, with no progress on the restoration, I went and collected the bike which was TOTALLY in pieces. I almost threw the entire thing away at that point.
I acquired an exploded parts view and assembled all engine parts and took them to a reputable motorcycle repair shop in Washington D.C. Their job was to assemble the engine and do a complete rebuild since what I wanted back was a fresh motor. What was returned at three times the original quoted price, was an assembled motor with all the old parts together, only finger tight. I would not find out that the work on the engine was not done until 15 years later when I had finished restoring the bike and was ready to start the engine. During the restoration, the final drive, front forks, and front brake assembly was stolen while being bead blasted by a local shop. The tank was also stolen while being painted. Replacing all these parts was very, very expensive.
With the generous help of my mentor, John Kasperek of The Beemer Barn of WNY, I learned the mechanics of BMW motorcycles. Under his supervision, I finally finished the restoration. and the bike was finally restored. John taught me how to work on BMW motorcycles.
What you have here is the encapsulated version of the story and if we ever have the time and a few beers I will tell you the rest, the dirt, so to speak. Believe me there is a lot more.
This bike is not for sale at this time.