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Pick of the Day: 1953 BMW R51/3

An early classic BMW bike to celebrate the 100 year anniversary


There is a lot of fanfare this year celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the BMW motorcycle. The museum in Munich has an amazing display, and here in the U.S. the BMWCCA Foundation Museum in Spartanburg, South Carolina has one opening on May 19th that I will be covering in person this week. 

As a result of this, I thought it would be appropriate to feature an important BMW being offered on There are currently a number of great BMW bikes on our site and I chose to focus on a model that marked the post-war revival of BMW as a motorcycle manufacturer, the BMW R51/3.

The R51/3 was the second post-war BMW twin cylinder motorcycle the company offered, and the first true post war design as the bike that proceeded it was in essence a pre-war design. The new R51/2 had a number of features that made the bike even more reliable than the legendary reliable bikes they had built before including an entirely new and much cleaner looking engine design that featured a single, gear-driven camshaft and crankshaft-mounted generator. 

The Pick of the Day is a 1953 BMW R51/3 that is being offered by a dealer in St. Louis, Missouri.

According to the seller, this R51/3 is a lovely example that (most importantly) is a matching numbers bike, with the engine and frame numbers being the same.

They also state that this bike is in largely unrestored condition, as it has spent much of its life in a private collection. They add that the bike is beautifully finished in its original livery of black with cream pinstripes, and that it displays a warm and pleasing patina. The close stating that while this bike runs and rides ride well, it should get some additional sorting may be needed before embarking on longer rides due to it being in a museum for so long. 

Early post war BMW bikes are some of the easiest to own and maintain vintage motorcycles in the world and are as nice to ride as they are to look at. If you like the idea of a vintage motorcycle and don’t want the hassle of a British or Italian one the best choice is to get an old BMW like this one.

Early BMW bikes like this one are getting more difficult to find today and this one with an asking price of only $28,500 represents a good value.

To view this listing on, see Pick of the Day.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.



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