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Thread: How many R37's out there?

  1. #1
    Registered User coyotebmw's Avatar
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    How many R37's out there?

    This past week I was at a local M/C shop is doing some work for me on my R-26. The owner of the shop is known as a old BMW fan and the Assistant Shop manager asked me to come see the owners newest purchase. He said it was a 1928 vintage bike. I looked at it and felt it might be something more than he knew. It had a rear brake like a R32, but the valve covers were more like my R-80RT's, rather than finned like a R32's. I went home and checked the books I have on BMW's and found it appeared to be a R37!! I was able to check the serial number and confirmed it. How many of these are still out there? Considering only 154 were made!
    CoyoteBMW
    53 years of BMW's - 1960 R26 and 2007 F800ST!

  2. #2
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    Good research! The R37 is the rarest production BMW. It was their first racer, too. Of course, you know then that the R37 was only produced in 1925 and 26.

    As to how many are left, it can't be more than a handful. There's a collector up in your neck of the woods who had one, restored only with NOS parts I'm told, and was looking for about $75,000 for it. No idea if he ever got it, however.

    I'm curious about which shop you're going to. This isn't Ride West or their new Fife location, is it? I know that Bill Buckingham has been doing vintage work up in Snohomish someplace. And there's a great vintage shop up in the U district that has a couple of beemers on display...
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

  3. #3
    Registered User coyotebmw's Avatar
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    More on The R37

    The shop is Eastside Motosports. Gary is the owner and I am sure Bill Buckingham knows him. After Cascade BMW closed last year I started looking around for a shop on the Eastside of Lake Washington. I found out about Gary's interest in BMW's and also that the shop manager (Dave R.) is a former BMW Mechanic. I have been able to get some great support from them for both my R80RT and restoration on the R26.
    CoyoteBMW
    53 years of BMW's - 1960 R26 and 2007 F800ST!

  4. #4
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    Yes, I had heard that Gary Lewis had taken an interest in what used to be known as Bellevue Suck-a-Duck (Suzuki Ducati) when it was over on Bel-Red Rd. Gary is who I was thinking of that has an R37. It's supposed to be simply gorgeous. He's got a pretty big collection, I hear, with more than a few beemers. If you run into Gary, say hello for me.

    So, you've got an R26, eh? Do you take it to the monthly Vintage Motorcycle Enthusiasts (VME) meetings? You'll see all sorts of stuff there! I'm still a member, but I haven't been to a meeting since before they moved from Teddy's up in Ravenna down to Georgetown. I guess the new digs are supposed to be pretty nice.
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
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  5. #5
    Registered User coyotebmw's Avatar
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    On my R26

    I have been restoring the R26, very slowly, over the past few years. I got it in 1987 for $500 and it has turned in to a long term project. At this point it is still in pieces, but the pieces are painted and getting ready for re-assembly.

    My riding bike is an 1983 R80RT that I purchased in 2003 from the original owner. I have been attempting to keep it in good condition and have been pretty successful. I have had to replace some after-market parts that the previous owner changed, with original part (Kick stand, center stand, etc.), as I want it to be as original as possible. I do not as yet belong to VME, but have plans to join in the near future.

    I do run into Gary occasionally and will pass on our "hello".
    CoyoteBMW
    53 years of BMW's - 1960 R26 and 2007 F800ST!

  6. #6
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    1987? That is long term! And here I thought my R12, which I've been gradually working on for the last 8 years, was taking a long time. ;-) OTOH, I had the R60/2 in boxes for a decade before my wife told me to fix it or get rid of it, but then, given the right motivation, it only took a few months. ;-)

    The VME guys are a lot of fun, and it's great to see what kind of iron shows up to the meetings, and especially, to their rally, the Isle of Vashon TT. Your R80 will qualify as "vintage" in a couple years, and the R26 will let you ride on both the Pre-70s Ride and the Tiddler Tour that they put on each year.

    Good luck with your single. I hope you get it on the road soon!
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

  7. #7
    Registered User coyotebmw's Avatar
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    Gary says HI!!

    I was down at Eastside Motosports having my R80RT's battery charged and Gary came by. We talked about the R37, seems it might be the same one you remember. He said that he has had it for several years and has just started to restore it. I told him Hi from you and he said to say VME is not the same without you around.
    CoyoteBMW
    53 years of BMW's - 1960 R26 and 2007 F800ST!

  8. #8
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    Well, I'd love to see his R37! It was really the bike that put BMW motorcycles on the map when they were just starting out. Sure, the R32 was a solid vehicle, but at 8.5 hp, it just wasn't that exciting.

    (Or was it? I have a friend in Germany who owns and rides a Victoria KR 1, the bike you often see mentioned as having a BMW motor in it before BMW actually made bikes. It's the same motor as in the R32, the M2B15. It will easily do 50 mph. And, with the Victoria's spindly bicycle-style frame and essentially no brakes, it's scary as hell!)

    Anyway, the OHV motor was supposed to put out twice as much oomph, and Rudolph Schleicher won a lot of races and set some records with it. Since they only built 150 of them over 3 years' time, it makes you wonder if it was only really intended as a works racer.
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

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