Here is what we recently received in our workshop. It is the motorcycle of our client: BMW R35. Or to be precise it is EMW R35. The motorcycle of R35 model was firstly presented to the public in 1937 and it was further development of the R3 and R4 models. It had a hardtail frame made of pressed steel sections riveted together. Therefore only little of welding was involved during frame assembling. The motorcycle was equipped a 350ccm single cylinder OHV engine.
The R35 model was produced at BMW factories, including the one placed in Eisenach, Eastern Germany. After the end of World War II the Eisenach turned out to be located in Soviet occupation zone. Factory in Eisenach, even being partly ruined during the war, had all means to produce BMW vehicles. So they restarted production of cars and motorcycles under the BMW brand (and with BMW logos on emblems) till 1952. After a lawsuit in 1952 the factory changed its name to EMW (Eisenacher Motorenwerk) and altered the design of the logo.
This particular motorcycle, according to its frame number, was produced by the factory in Eisenach in 1950. That’s why it has BMW badges on its frame. However, the engine is of late type and was made in 1952-1953. Gearbox is also of late type. Early models were equipped with a gear switch operated by hand, and with a lever that went through a right knee grip. The gearbox of this bike, as you may see, has a more familiar foot gear switch lever.
I am sure that one who seeks detail about BMW R35 may find a lot of information on the internet. And even as some BMW purists might say that one couldn’t call this motorcycle be rightfully BMW, my opinion is different from such. Those were different and difficult times for many people of many nations. So I think these motorcycles were true BMW by the spirit as long as they were made in the BMW factory equipped with BMW manufacturing equipment and presumably manned by skilled personnel that did the work for BMW.
However, let’s return to this very motorcycle we are looking at. Considering the fact that it has 70 years of exploitation, poor maintenance and neglect behind, it is no wonder that it’s pretty shabby and battered.
This my guess is based on facts that frame number does not match engine number while frame, tank and front fender paintings differ: frame was painted at least three times in three different colours, tank seems to be a couple of times repainted in black and front fender seems still to have original painting on it.
Considering all these facts, our client ordered from us not restoration, but what is called resto-mod. In other words, we have to breathe some soul in it. And I am about to do my best with this motorcycle.