Still a reliable choice: 1938 Zündapp K500 plus sidecar

Zünder und Apparatebau G.m.b.H.—abbreviated as Zündapp—was founded in Sept 1917, at the height of World War I to manufacture fuses for artillery shells.

Postwar, they struggled to find work, and were purchased by Fritz Neumeyer in 1919; Neumeyer was an engineer and entrepreneur who owned several profitable industrial-manufacturing businesses around Nurnberg. Zündapp was one arm of a mighty industrial empire with global reach, making radios, steel cable, tractors, railway repair yards, radiators and more. It took two years to find a role for Zündapp, but five prototype motorcycles were built in 1921, which led to an estimated 3 million motorcycles produced in the next 63 years of the company’s existence. The timing of its first motorcycles was fortuitous—at the very start of a motorcycle craze in Germany—which boosted the fortunes of many manufacturers.

Postwar, they struggled to find work, and were purchased by Fritz Neumeyer in 1919; Neumeyer was an engineer and entrepreneur who owned several profitable industrial-manufacturing businesses around Nurnberg. Zündapp was one arm of a mighty industrial empire with global reach, making radios, steel cable, tractors, railway repair yards, radiators and more. It took two years to find a role for Zündapp, but five prototype motorcycles were built in 1921, which led to an estimated 3 million motorcycles produced in the next 63 years of the company’s existence. The timing of its first motorcycles was fortuitous—at the very start of a motorcycle craze in Germany—which boosted the fortunes of many manufacturers.

Zündapp struggled in the Great Depression, but by the mid-1930s, its production numbers were back to levels seen before the stock-market crash, and as such, it had to expand its factory to keep up with demand. In 1933, Zündapp introduced a series of flat twins that became the company’s emblem ever after: the “K” series. All “K” Zündapps used pressed-steel frames and girder forks with handsome lines, which were sleek with a clear Art Deco influence in their black-and-chrome livery. The first K’s used sidevalve flat-twin motors, in 398cc (K400) and 496cc (K500) variations, but in 1936, they were joined by the overhead-valve KS500 and KS600. All these models used Zündapp Designer Richard Küchen’s unusual all-chain 4-speed gearbox, with a shaft final drive. All of the K models were very robust machines, and eventually, they saw extensive use in the Wehrmacht during World War II.

This 1938 K500 is an older restoration and includes a period-correct sidecar, complementing the black-and-chrome finish of the motorcycle perfectly. The Zundapp is very correct, including the inverted levers and aluminum controls, fuel caps, friction-damper knobs, hand-gearshift assembly and tinware. The K500 is a very rare model in the U.S.; this machine was imported from Milan, Italy, and it still bears a Milanese license plate. The prewar pressed-steel Zundapp is as Art Deco a motorcycle as one could find in the mid-1930s, and is still an incredibly stylish machine today.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sold on Bill of Sale
  • Purchases by a Nevada Resident or Nevada Dealer are on Bill of Sale for display purposes only
  • Side valve opposed twin
  • Shaft drive
  • Cantilever solo seat with passenger pillion
  • Hand change transmission
  • Stamped steel frame
  • Stamped steel girder fork
  • Period left hand side car
  • Sold on Bill of Sale
  • Purchases by a Nevada Resident or Nevada Dealer are on Bill of Sale for display purposes only

Report by mecum.com

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