BMW R 18 Iron Annie

Munich/Schmerikon. Who doesn’t know the good old “Aunt Ju” Junkers Ju 52, the legendary three-engine commercial and transport aircraft from the 1930s. In particular, the Ju 52 with the aircraft registration number D-AQUI in the Lufthansa gray-black color scheme from 1936 became known worldwide. During its time in the USA from 1970 to 1984 under the American aircraft registration number N52JU, its owner at the time, Martin Caidin, briefly named it ” IRON ANNIE”.

It was precisely this aircraft that inspired a customer of BMW partner VTR Motorrad AG & VTR Customs in Schmerikon, Switzerland, to create a very special customizing version of the BMW R 18 – the R 18 “IRON ANNIE”. Years earlier, the architect had had an individual R nineT built at VTR Customs according to his ideas, and this time too, aviation style elements from aircraft construction were to be used again.

For example, the dial of the speedometer integrated into the tank, which is intended to be reminiscent of old cockpit instruments, or access panels with quick-release fasteners, such as those found on many aircraft. And, of course, borrowings from the characteristic aluminum corrugated sheet planking of the Ju 52 had to be taken. At the same time, the seat was supposed to be reminiscent of a riding saddle, and when it came to the paintwork, only the “IRON ANNIE” color scheme in gray and black was an option.

A BMW R 18 First Edition served as the starting point for the customizing project. Therefore, the engine was first removed and painted black. All chrome parts were also black and the fork tubes also received a black coating in the form of a DLC coating (Diamond Like Carbon).

The cockpit fairing has been pulled back as narrow and flat as possible to emphasize the streamlined shape. A low, crouched line is supported by the fork that has been shortened by 7 cm and a height-adjustable Wilbers shock absorber. “In order to make the motorcycle appear smaller and more delicate between the wheels, we had large 18- and 21-inch wheels made by Kineo,” adds Daniel Weidmann, owner and managing director of
VTR Motorcycle & VTR Customs.

As a further technical treat, Magura HC3 pumps in racing style were installed instead of the standard R 18 brake and clutch fittings. The dial of the customizing speedometer also received a pointer specially made by watchmaker Zeitzone Zürich.


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