Last week, we featured Casa Corazon Resort and Museum in Lemery, Batangas, the museum part of which is a private motorcycle and sports car gallery that houses more than 160 vintage and classic motorcycles that took more than 20 years to collect and restore. Part of this trove is said to be the world's most extensive collection of BMW motorcycles. "Put together, the collection would easily amount to tens of millions of pesos," says Lester Dizon, public relations officer for the resort and himself a motorcycle enthusiast.
If you want a peek at the collection before you hie off to Lemery, we show you here seven excellent examples of the objects of desire the collection consist of.
1963 R50 S
Lovingly restored to near-mint condition, this model features period-correct aftermarket accessories. It's laden with now-standard motorcycle components that were considered trivialities at the time, chiefly, BMW's shaft-driven rear wheels (as opposed to the common chain drive), telescopic forks in the front and rear, and suspended seat cushions. Their distinctly shaped fuel tanks were called toasters.
The oldest in the collection helped form the foundation for all future boxer-powered BMW motorcycles. BMW oriented the boxer engine with the cylinder heads projecting out on each side for cooling. Its unusual fuel tank is mounted under the frame, rather than over it. It has an engine and gearbox forming a bolt-up single unit and employs a recirculating wet sump oiling system with a drip feed, as opposed to the then-common total-loss oiling systems.
1960 R60 S
A 1960 R 60 S comes with an original Steib sidecar boasting of the era's rocket ship-inspired design trend, and gratuitous use of chrome and pinstriping.
One of the most valuable in the collection is the authentic 1941 R75 World War II German Army motorcycle complete with sidecar, trailer, and machine gun. The sheer torque and near bullet-proof reliability of its engine made it a favored workhorse during the war, allowing it to haul—in spite of its size—loads better suited to automobiles.
1959 BMW Isetta
Though technically not a motorcycle, the Isetta bridges the gap between BMW Motorrad and BMW automobiles. It was produced after World War II to serve as cheap, short-distance transport. It later became one of the most successful and influential city cars ever created. The car was originally manufactured by the Italian firm of lso SpA, which sold the body making equipment to BMW in 1954. BMW redesigned it around a one-cylinder, four-stroke, 247cc motorcycle engine that generated 10 kW (13 hp), and rebadged it as its own. What made it exceptional was its single front door that swiveled out—with the steering column attached—to let two passengers in.
Closer to the present, this served as BMW's entry into the rowing supersport segment. The headlamp cowl, gradient paint scheme, and red pinstripes captured the market shift to brighter colors. The fuel tank was now shorter but taller, while suspended seats gave way to longer cushioned seats mounted straight to the frame.
This model marked the radical move to full fairing sport bike bodies influenced by the boxy robotic styling of automobiles and extensive use of decals popularized by Japanese brands. On the technology front, the Ki featured a 1,000cc inline four cylinder, four-valves-per-cylinder engine with a boasted output of nearly 100 hp.
This story first appeared in Vault Magazine Issue 3 2011.