Peter Nettesheim and Classic BMW Motorcycles

A Bavarian Obsession
By Frank Gudaitis
January/February 2007

Peter Nettesheim on his 1923 BMW R32, the cornerstone of his collection
Frank Gudaitis
Slideshow


Content Tools

Related Content

Peter Starr and the Grand Riders Ride Again!

Film maker and motorcycle enthusiast Peter Starr will lead 20 riders 62 years old or older on a tour...

Max BMW's New 1975 BMW R90S

Max BMW is planning to build a vintage BMW R90S from new parts ordered directly from BMW.

Bill Costello's Video Tribute to His Father and 1958 BMW R50

One of the first things Bill Costello did upon completing restoration of his father's 1958 BMW R50 w...

Petersen Automotive Museum Fourth Annual Swap Meet

The fourth annual Petersen Museum swap meet and garage sale will take place Saturday December 1, 201...

In a quiet neighborhood east of New York City, Peter Nettesheim has assembled 50 BMW motorcycles and cars representing his dedication to the brand.

A German might use the word "gemütlichkeit," meaning warm and cozy (but connoting a sense of belonging and acceptance), to describe the bright and cheerful atmosphere in the elegant, climate-controlled building Peter constructed to hold his collection. Together with the bikes and cars are an abundance of blue and white BMW emblems, posters and glass cases filled with miniature models and other valuable BMW related items. There are bike engines hanging at eye level, and a 50ft wall anchors Peter’s work benches. Cabinets below the benches hold a cache of spare parts, plus tools and measuring instruments. Three restored BMW cars also occupy the display area. 

Peter’s interest in BMW motorcycles came after studying BMW motorcycle design and layout, long acknowledged as a classic example of sound mechanical engineering and simplicity. Collecting and restoring BMWs has occupied much of Peter’s spare time during the past 28 years. While much of his collection consists of restored examples of pre-1945 bikes made by BMW, the collection spans more than 80 years of BMW motorcycle production. 

Acquiring the older bikes and needed replacement parts requires a bit of traveling on Peter’s part, and while Germany has been the best source of finding these machines, he’s found some rare examples in Poland as well. None of his bikes have been found in the U.S. 

Peter is primarily interested in finding and restoring prewar bikes. The ones he’s restored are all in pristine running condition, most of them ready for use, batteries charged, gas tanks full, and licensed and insured for road use at any time. A favorite for just riding around is his early 1950s type R25/3. More than 47,000 of these bikes were made by BMW, but very few have survived. 

One of the more unusual BMWs in his collection is a type R75. Made for the German military in World War II, it saw duty in Africa on the eastern front. Equipped with a 26hp engine, it features a high and low transmission with a locking differential routing power to the sidecar’s wheel. A period-correct German MG-34 machine gun is mounted on the front of the sidecar. Capable of pulling a cannon or a wagon, the R75 was ideally suited for use in rough terrain. 

Working alone in his shop, Peter conducts his own restorations, and maintaining his machines in good operating condition consumes most of his spare time. Ask him how he does it and he’ll tell you, "I don’t watch very much T.V." 

In recognition of the excellence of Peter’s work, The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Pickerington, Ohio, has displayed seven examples of his restored BMWs over the years. MC 








Post a comment below.

 


MY COMMUNITY
no image
jhutbeer
4/14/2014 9:35:30 PM
no image
900cc
4/12/2014 1:45:10 PM
no image
KEITHF
4/11/2014 4:29:22 PM
no image
900cc
4/10/2014 10:08:16 PM
no image
GTRider9
4/10/2014 8:35:40 PM
no image
KEITHF
4/10/2014 12:35:33 PM
no image
900cc
4/9/2014 7:12:15 PM






The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
 

Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $4.95 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $29.95 for a one year subscription!