I appreciate some of the positive comments I have received, especially about the story I wrote, which is a true story, I didn't make it up. I have been amazed how many negative comments I have received however. If you read my description you would know that I am not happy to be selling this bike, and I am only selling it to save the family homestead. I have other items which if they sale means I get to keep this bike. So theres a huge chance I will pull this auction down before it sales. And that is actually my hope. I've place it out of reach because selling this bike is my last option. But I will consider reasonable offers.
What is this bike worth? First, its a rare bike, second it's a rare colour, third, it's the first of its kind, fourth it's spawned lore for those of us who are deeply into the BMW marque. And most important, it's a bike you most likely will never see again. What you'll find are the bikes which this bike set the benchmark for. And to me as a collector of fine art, rare objects, this has value. I would imagine that a normal r69 would cost around 15,000$ to 20,000$ since they are very rare. Add the rest of the rare aspects, and the price begins to gain more value. Since there isn't other examples of it being sold, or even written about, it's value could easily be a million or less.
The Indian was a mass produced bike, and yet I see them going for nearly 30,000$. I sold my four Indians, but I kept my Dover White. The whole r69 production run was just over 3000 bikes in ten years. Thats it. That is rare, and it sits next to my Coventry, one of the most valuable bike marques in the world. My collection is famous, or it was before I sold most of it. It has been written about in articles.
I have put an automatic decline limit so those of you who are low balling me, and theres been many (13$ to 7000$) I don't have to see your offers that show clearly you're not the type of person who appreciates this bike.
End of note
I really hate selling this bike, but I hope the money will make my soul feel less empty once this bike is gone. -_-
BMW ***1960 R69***
*****The FIRST Original Dover White*****
It doesn't get more rare than this.
For those who are BMW fans like me, seeing a R69 must have made your heart jump. It's rare enough to see one, in the collectors books it's the most sought after model of the r60/2 era. However this bike I am selling is a type of rare that is beyond that. This is historical.
****This is one of those bikes that has actually spawned lore and generations of copy cats.****
A rolling piece of art.
The only BMW's to be imported into the USA were black, as the company didn't make them any other way. Some say it was the owner of Butler & Smith, others say it was their purchasing manager who asked BMW if they had any other colours than black. One could really see the difference of the American "individualistic" mindset from that of the Germans. Even back then the biker culture was very vibrant and as Americans we want to express our individuality in every way we can, including our bikes.
Regardless of who ordered the first non-black BMW's, the colour would be Dover White. It couldn't be white, it had to be a nuanced version of white, and one that probably didn't have much thought behind if one version of the story is to be believed, which states that it was a chip off an old Packard that got used, but another story claims it was a sample can of paint for a Packard that was used. Yet there could not be a better beginning to a colour change if one only had one colour to choose from. The soft creamy tone of Dover White, even the name invokes the type of ride the BMW marquee would become famous for.
Some variants of the story says less than 100 were imported, some say it was less than 50. Some say it was a range of models, others say it was the more expensive model, the r69, and all had the larger tank. Some version says this happened in 1964, another says it happened in 1960. But irregardless of the variants, the key is in that it was a very low number imported.
According to the numbers on the bike I own, it was produced from 1959-1960. So we can put one part of the legend to rest. I think one problem in sorting out the myth from reality is that there are so few of these bikes left, and this is the only example I know of one of these first original Dover White BMWs.
Fast forward to the early 1960’s, a man rides up to a jewelry store in Philly, two hours south of Butler & Smith where he bought the most expensive bike on the American market. The only place where these Dover White bikes were being offered (if one version of the story is correct).
He's getting married and picked out a wedding set that is out of his price range. He asks the owner of the store if there is something they can work out. The jewelry store owner says no, but has been eyeing that beautiful machine outside. The man says, "can you loan me the difference?" He points to his bike, "I can use my bike as collateral, it's worth far more than these rings." The store owner agrees, but remind the man this isn't a pawn shop, and he needs to pay off the balance asap or the bike gets sold. With wedding costs, and all the stress of getting married, the man never reappears, or, as the store owner's son surmises, "maybe he thought my dad sold it already."
Instead of selling the bike, the shop owner eventually registers it, rides it around here and there, mainly to give his son rides in circles. But mostly the bike stays in the garage where it is soon forgotten until the son turns of driving age and is used here and there. But when the son was out of the house the bike was again forgotten. It wasn't until the passing of the store owner that his son rediscovered it in the garage.
The Guggenheim’s show “The Art of the Motorcycle” was the first “real art” show I attended. Moving to New York City from my small town in New Mexico, with dreams racing through me of becoming a well known artist. The advertisement for the show was a Dover white BMW, a bike that set the benchmark for what I wanted out of being a motorcyclist. Biking was in my blood. My dad spent 8 years in prison, was in a biker gang, a well known tattoo artist, and loved Harley. But here in the Guggenheim was a bike made for a gentleman and not the brutish man that my father was. It was a bike you could ride without looking forward to going to prison.
Before serving time my father gave me two pieces of advice. I was in the fourth grade. “Never ride a Harley across country without knowing how to fix it first. Keep your tools with you.” The second piece of advice was on how to make a homemade tattoo gun. “I’ll save your butt!” He explained. I can still make that tattoo gun to this very day, and I’m in my 40’s. It’s the only real memories I have of my father before his death.
My style of art is far removed from the biker gang art my father drew me while serving time, but I feel connected to him when I am creative and also when I am enjoying the open road on a motorcycle. And for me, this white BMW at the Guggenheim was the apex of what I could dream leaving my hometown for the big city. Owning the bike of my dreams meant I had reached my goal in my career, collected by individuals and museums. Even being in the collection of some very famous people.
Why am I selling this bike? Clearly it means so much to me that I have placed a large symbolic value to it. I am placing this bike for sale as a sacrifice for my family, a noble cause as a house it made for many and a bike is made for one (or two). The family home, one of the first houses build in my area is being sold by my uncle, who realizes the importance of keeping the house in the family, but also has a wife who doesn't have the same attachment to it. My goal is to save the old family house and turn the front part of it into an art gallery.
What is the value of this bike? I believe it belongs in a museum, and I think it’s rarity and original state it is in is worth something, even the tires look to be original. You’ll be buying something than no one else can buy. It’s one of a kind. This belongs in your living room, in your bedroom. It’s a rare piece of art, not made by me, but made by the BMW company and those boys at Butler & Smith. It is truly the rarest of the rare in the world of BMW motorcycles.
Thank you for reading.