Singular German: 1952 Horex Regina 350

The arduous journey of a 1952 Horex Regina 350 single.

| December 2013

1952 Horex Regina 350
342cc air-cooled OHV single, 69mm x 91.5mm bore and stroke, 6.35:1 compression ratio, 18hp @ 5,000rpm
Top speed: 70mph solo, 56mph with sidecar (claimed)
Carburetion: Single Bing 2/26/23 or Amal 25 C2A
Transmission: 4-speed
Electrics: 6v, coil and breaker points ignition
Frame/wheelbase: Spine frame, single downtube w/engine as stressed member/54.7in (1,390mm)
Suspension: Telescopic forks front, dual plunger rear
Tires: solo: 3.25 x 19in front, 3.50 x 19in rear
Weight (dry): 319lb (145kg)
Seat height: 30in (760mm)
Fuel Capacity/MPG: 4.75gal (18ltr)/60mpg
Price then/now: $258 (used/1953)/$3,500-$5,000 (est.)

In 1953, while serving with the U.S. Army in Germany, Private First Class Victor Costanzo laid eyes on a 1952 Horex Regina 350 single. The bike’s tight lines and the throaty growl from its twin-pipe head were something he had never experienced before. “I was just in awe of the bike,” Victor says.

“I was riding a DKW because I was designated to ride motorcycles for the U.S. military,” Victor continues. “I always had someone ride with me because the DKW was unreliable and I wasn’t sure if I would make it back,” he says, laughing.

According to the German dealer, an American GI had paid a deposit on the Horex, but never returned to complete his purchase and pick up the bike. After seeing it, Victor knew he wasn’t returning to the U.S. without the Horex, which was factory modified with sport high pipes, a Denfeld seat, modified ignition system, a pumper carb, and sport handle bars. Two-hundred fifty-eight dollars changed hands, and the Horex was his. “I found the sensation and sound of it unique and difficult to describe,” Rex recalls. “On the Autobahn I had the needle pegged -- it really performed nicely and handled so well.”

Getting it home

In March of 1955 Victor received orders his military tour had concluded. Now a Corporal, he quickly began planning to ship the Horex to the U.S. “It was driven to the point of embarkation in Bremerhaven, where the army made plans to have it crated and shipped,” he recalls. One month later it arrived in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, but Victor’s excitement was quickly deflated. “When I went to pick it up I found it lying on its side. The front fender was bent and there were dents in the gas tank, tool box, mufflers, exhaust pipes, headlight rim and ignition cover. Of course I yelled and screamed, which is not something I normally do.”

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