In 1923, BMW introduced the R32, the company's first foray into the motorcycle manufacturing business. The 500cc 8.5 horsepower boxer, set the design and styling cues that BMW still follows in many ways. A lot of enthusiasts love the look of the original, but let's face it, as an every day rider today, it's simply inadequate. So, what if you could take that original model and reinterpret it with modern technology and power, not just stuff a big modern engine in the little antique bike, but instead, scale it up and build one from scratch? What might result? Enter Jean-Luc Dupont.
Jean-Luc thinks of Harley Davidson this way, new bikes with a firm foothold in the past, so, in the same spirit, why not build a BMW with a vintage look and modern engineering. Since Jean-Luc is from the French BMW Motorrad dealer Panda Moto 89, a dealer with some interesting specials already under their belt, it was a logical step to get his team together and begin work on this extremely impressive project.
The tube frame carries a 9.5 liter (2.5 gallon) fuel tank for the 1200 boxer engine. Unlike the original air cooled engine, this one needs a radiator which is well hidden up front. The engine, shaft drive and rear disc (disguised to look like a drum) were installed and fitted with a left side hand shift, with 6 speeds instead of the original 3.
All instruments but the speedometer are mounted on the tank with cables hidden inside the handlebars. The handmade seat and panniers are leather and all necessary switch gear is hidden but easy to access.
The bike was built with only a rear brake, like the original, but after some road time, Jean-Luc decided he better do the right thing and work up something for the front.
The bike took 16 months to build and cost over €70,000 ($101,000) by the time it was done. Although this bike is now on the show circuit, it's destined for display at Panda Moto 89. Jean-Luc hints at very limited production should there be a demand, and while the price is pretty steep, there are those who might be interested.
While looking at this, I kept thinking of another beautiful build from France, the Warboy 883 XWL, taking the design and idea of an old Harley and building it with new technology and components. With this new BMW build, as noted several times here recently, the German marque seems to be a growing presence among custom builders, and with stunning examples like this, there's every reason to believe we'll be seeing more in the future.
A big Thanks to Pat Castel, BMW MOA Ambassador for sending along the details.
Link: Panda Moto 89
Photo credits: Panda Moto 89