R 2: Jack Wells
1931 BMW R 2 #P17824
198cc M67A Single Cylinder 6 hp @ 3,500 rpm
Lake City, Florida
BMW responded to the Great Depression with the R 2, a single-cylinder bike with a 198cc engine that exempted it from road tax and licensing requirements. The pressed-steel “Star” frame—built with technology adapted from automobile production—gave the bike a high-end look that belied its affordable price. A first-year model, the R 2 seen here has BMW’s only exposed valve train. Purchased by Jack Wells in Germany in the 1990s, it won Best in Show among motorcycles at the 2011 Amelia Island Concours.
For more pictures and information on this or any other vehicle in the Motorcycles exhibit, check out the exhibition book in our store!