c.1943 NSU 1500cc Kettenkrad

c.1943 NSU 1500cc Kettenkrad

Typical of German engineering, the Kettenkrad was of fantastically innovative design, well-executed. The SdKfz 2, Kleines Kettenkraftrad HK 101, its official designation in the German army was understandably shortened by the troops to Kettenkrad, or “motorcycle on tracks”. The Wehrmacht designed it for German airborne forces as a light, multi-terrain, towing vehicle and was the only gun tractor small enough to fit inside the hold of the Junkers Ju 52 transport aircraft, though it was not to be dropped by aircraft, but unloaded upon the landing of the Ju 52 on captured airfields. It used the Schachtellaufwerk overlapped and interleaved road wheels. This system was used on almost all of Germany’s half-tracks.

The Kettenkrad was highly maneuverable; steering via motorcycle handlebars would simply turn the vehicle, but push the ‘bars further, the track brakes would be engaged to turn more sharply like a tank. Acceleration was achieved by twisting the handlebar grip, as per a motorcycle, but the gearbox was a car configuration with a foot clutch and thre ratios, with a high/low option for on or off-road duties. Momentum came from a 1500cc Opel car engine, which proved highly reliable on the field, and would propel this amazing vehicle to a top speed of 50mph.

Used for innumerable tasks in many varied theaters of War, the plucky little Kettenkrad was produced in relatively low numbers, reportedly about 8,000. And with German military equipment being destroyed by the Allied Forces, very few have survived.

The Kettenkrad offered here hails from a very discerning collection of Eastern Block vintage motorcycles. Owned for several years, the vehicle is kept on display, but frequently used, both on private ground, but with current title and registration, also on public roads!

I have seen and sold several of these over the years and can attest that this one is presented in excellent condition, in fine running condition.

Sold with a clean, clear US title.

Asking $129,000

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