1938 Zündapp KS500

1938 Zündapp KS500

After the cessation of World War I, the newly formed Zündapp firm had to find alternative business model than the munitions it was manufacturing. So, under the new ownership of Dr Fritz Neumeyer, they turned to motorcycle manufacture.  They introduced a Levis-powered two-stroke, in 1921, but moved to bikes with their own engine design by 1924, in which year they sold over 10,000 machines. In 1933, they introduced the first boxer engined motorcycle, the engine architecture for which they became famous.

Among the 400cc K400, and 500cc K500 (do you see a pattern here??) sidevalve twins, was the K600 and flagship K800 flat 4-cylinder machine, all with shaft final drive, as designated by the letter ‘K’ (for kardan, meaning ‘shaft’). The engines were mounted in eminently capable, strong and robust pressed steel frames with girder forks.

The new Zündapp range was an enormous success, and in September 1933 the firm produced its 100,000th machine, quite an achievement after little more than a decade as a motorcycle manufacturer. The larger Zündapps saw service in substantial numbers with the German Army during WW2, military versions being identified by a ‘W’ (Wehrmacht) model suffix. The company continued production of scooters and mopeds after the war, until the doors closed in 1984.

The motorbike offered

The 1938 Zündapp KS500 on offer here comes from a Northern Californian diverse and discerning collection. Purchased from another collector, who again purchased the bike from a Dirk Dengler, who researched the bike extensively through the owners club and various enthusiast organizations. In fine condition, the bike has been on static display since purchase, so will need the usual recommissioning before returning to regular road use.