This rig was purchased from Blue Moon Cycle in Georgia which acquired it from American Pickers during their “Italian Job” episodes in Italy. It was in rough condition with lots of incorrect cosmetic parts and was cobbled together to keep it running. The rig was most likely left behind in Italy by the retreating German Army and used as transportation after the war for some time.
Due to its rough condition the entire rig was disassembled and every part rebuilt or replaced, NOTHING was left untouched. For restoration support, all literature and guidance were provided by the H.P. Hommes shop in Viersen, Germany. All mechanical and functional parts were supplied by H.P. Hommes with the balance of mostly cosmetic parts supplied by the Old Timer Garage in Poland. The restoration was performed by me over a two-year period.
The engine was a replacement and therefore has no serial number. Replacement engines were common due to the severe service the machines saw during a world war. In the case of this engine there was/is a bullet hole in the top of the gas tank that exits the bottom of the tank and measures between a 30 and 50 caliper size. Due to the angle and size of the holes it would have to be from a dive-bombing aircraft and after going through the gas tank it probably destroyed the engine. This historical motorcycle is a frame off restoration with 1600 brake-in miles since completion.
A new reproduction speedometer was installed and has 1600 km break-in miles on it.
The rig is painted the correct Schwarzgrau RAL 7021 (black grey) color with some of the accessories painted a matte black. The RAL 7021 used is a PPG ACR100 acrylic lacquer. This was one of several colors used by the German Army (Wehrmacht Heer). The Kradshutzen (motorcycle rifle battalion) and 16th Panzer Division insignias (in Italy during 1943) are painted on the sidecar body. Period repro front and rear fender license plates are also included.
All sheet metal is original except storage boxes. Of special note, the sidecar fender has greasing instructions stamped into the sheet metal which is a mid-1943 feature only. All other years had a riveted plate or sticker. Other original stampings are located on the sidecar body.
Size – 750cc OHV 170 degree horizontally opposed for greater ground clearance. All internals of the engine were spent so everything was replaced except cam followers All engine castings are original.
Transmission: The trans is a 4-speed with a high-range (road), low-range (ground) and reverse making 12 possible speeds. There is a left-side foot shifter and a right-hand tank shifter, and also a high-low-reverse shifter also on the tank. For safety reasons there is a safety lock on the tank shifter gate to prevent shifting in higher gears in reverse.
Rear Differential: The differential is a limited-slip that provides a 70/30 split of power to the rear wheel and sidecar wheel. It also has a locking device to give full traction to the rear wheel and sidecar wheel for off-road use only. . All bearings, seals and gaskets were replaced.
Sidecar Drive: The two gears inside the sidecar wheel drive housing and driveshaft from the differential were in good condition so bearing, seals and gaskets were replaced along with the bushing the drive housing sits in.
Electrics: Ignition is provided by a Norris magneto mounted on the top of the engine under covers keeping it high and dry during water crossings. The magneto is a rebuilt replacement from H.P. Hommes. The generator consists of an armature mounted on the front end of the crankshaft thus eliminating any bearings. The battery is a small sealed 6-volt unit sitting in a reproduction battery box.
Wheels & Tires
All three wheels of the rig are interchangeable with an internal spline located in the brake drum to drive the rear and sidecar wheels or drive the speedo in the case of the front wheel.. All wheel bearings and seals were replaced with sealed bearings but the grease fittings on the wheel hubs were retained for originality (do not grease them).
All four wheels (rig and spare) have Firestone ANS military tread design used by Indian and Harleys in a 5.00 – 16 size. The tires are slightly larger than the original German tire but are readily available, less expensive and grip road surfaces better.
Sidecar: The sidecar is a model BW43 made by Steib which is correct for the rig. The sheet metal stampings of “Steib” and “W.Krad B2” on the body are in excellent condition. Accessories for the sidecar include: new seat based on the original design, wood lath floor, cover, air pump and jack, spare tire, machine gun mounts and 20-liter Jerry fuel can.
The rig was mistakenly registered as a 1942 by Blue Moon Cycle in Georgia before enough research could be done. The frame number is 609584 which would give it a build date of April 1943. The rig is currently titled in Maryland. No engine number exists on the engine (see Overview).
H.P. Hommes in Viersen, Germany places the current value of a completely rebuilt rig at approximately 60,000 euros ($70,800 USD) and without the MG34. http://www.wehrmachtsgespann.de/news/preise.htm
The rig is supplied with an original de-milled MG34. All parts except the receiver are original with the Waffenamt stampings. The gun or parts may have been used after the war by the Israeli Army due to the Star of David stamping on the wood stock.
The sidecar has the front mount and a transport mount for the gun. Also included are three 50-round drums (Gurttrommel 34) and the 2-drum storage carrier (Gurttrommeltrager 34). Two 50-round belts and starter strips are included with one of them loaded with blank bullets.
Other Accessories and Special Features:
The rig includes a number of standard and add-on accessories and features as follows:
• Front tow hook
• Cyclone air filter with air preheater
• Small fuel container under seat on frame
• Large fuel can (Jerry can)
• Metal storage boxes (3 total)
• Original German Army tire pump located in sidecar trunk as designed
• Right side passenger footrest is original showing wear pattern of soldier’s boot
• Most fasteners are the original “Ribe” brand