If you're a BMW motorcycle fan or of motorcycles in general, one of the items in your bucket list is likely a trip to the BMW Museum in Munich, Germany. The Entrance fee would probably set you back €10.00 or roughly ₱585.00, not to mention airfare and hotel plus miscellaneous expenses, easily skyrocketing into a hundred thousand pesos per person.
Yet there's no real need to travel that far nor spend that much. The next-best-thing is just a two and a half-hour drive from Manila. I'm talking about Casa Corazon, located on Lemery Road in Batangas. For a small ₱200.00 entrance fee, you can see up close what probably is the finest collection of BMW motorcycles not only here in the Philippines, but in all of South East Asia. Besides the BMW bikes, there is also an extensive Honda Monkey collection, other motorcycles of varying sizes and displacements, as well as equally rare vehicles like a BMW Isetta, Morgan Three-wheeler and Chevrolet Corvette (C2) Stingray.
Yet we're here to talk about the museum's pride and joy and main collection, the timeline of BMW Motorrad bikes.
1990 BMW K1
Based on its predecessor, the BMW K100, the 987cc K1 was designed for comfortable high-speed autobahn cruising at speeds of up to 240 km/h. It was mated with a stiffened chassis that included a single-sided paralever swingarm. This innovation was designed to stop shaft drive induced pitch and dive under heavy acceleration and braking and is also the first use of this feature on a K-series bike. It is said that by today's standards, the BMW K1 is one of the hardest motorcycles to ride.
1976 BMW R90S
The BMW R90S is an 898cc sport motorcycle produced by BMW from 1973 to 1976. BMW commissioned designer, Hans Muth, to oversee the R90S, which became the flagship of the boxer engined "/6" range. Sporting distinctive two-tone paintwork, a bikini fairing and a new tail, the R90S is considered by many BMW Motorrad enthusiasts as the “first BMW superbike”.
1965 R50/2 with Original Gläser Fairings
The 494cc BMW R50/2 was built by BMW Motorrad between 1960 to 1969. What sets this R50 from the others are the original Gläser fairings, which are very hard to come by these days. Some decades ago, Traffic Control Group or TRAFCON (now known as the PNP-Highway Patrol Group) were issued BMW R50 and Moto Guzzi motorcycles as patrol bikes. They were painted in khaki and red, which at the time, were also their uniform colors. The current market value for BMW R50 motorcycles find themselves reaching up to ₱1-million or more, depending on the bike's condition.
1968 R69S Dover White
The 594cc, 42.5 Ps, boxer-twin-engined R69S was produced from 1960 to 1969. Its original Dover White color-scheme is considered rare by BMW Motorrad collectors and enthusiasts.
1936 BMW R2 "People's Bike"
The BMW R2 was a single-cylinder motorcycle known as the “people's bike.” It was the smallest displacement motorcycle ever produced by BMW Motorrad at the time at only 198cc. Following the collapse of the Weimar Republic economy during the Wall Street Crash of 1929, BMW's premier large capacity and expensive motorcycle range were hit hard, with fewer customers able to afford their premium prices. BMW therefore felt the need to introduce a smaller bike into their range, which offered both cheaper purchase costs and less expensive running costs. Also during that time in Germany, motorcycles under 200cc could be operated without requiring a driver's license, making the R2 a favorite of the German masses.
1926 BMW R42, one of the last few in the world
In 1923, BMW's first inline crank with an air-cooled boxer engine was designed by Max Friz, a German mechanical engineer specializing in engine design. Between 1926 to 1928, BMW produced the R42, which was viewed as the “improvement” to BMW's first-ever motorcycle under their name, the R32. During the R42's 2-year production run, it was said that only a few thousand models were produced. It is now considered one of the rarest of the rare BMW models surviving to this day.
1939 BMW R12
On 14 February 1935, BMW presented the R12, together with the BMW R17 at the German Automobile Exhibition in Berlin for the first time. It was the direct successor to the BMW R11. This and the R17 were the first in the world to be produced with hydraulically damped telescopic forks. By 1942, the total number of BMW R12 motorcycles manufactured was just 36,000.
The 1939 BMW R12 features a "suicide shifter" on the side of its tank.
1940 BMW R35
The BMW R35 is a 342cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled motorcycle produced by BMW during war-time Europe, between 1937 to 1940. The R35 is the successor to BMW's R3 that enjoyed little success in terms of sales. At the time, the R35 was one of the fastest motorcycles under 500cc and had a top speed of 100 kilometers per hour. The R35 was the last BMW Motorrad model to use pressed steel frame technology, as future models used the lighter and tougher tubular frame design.
1959 BMW Isetta
The Isetta is an Italian-designed microcar intended for post-war Europe. BMW also manufactured the Isetta and completely redesigned the engine around BMW's single-cylinder, four-stroke 247cc motorcycle engine. It first appeared in BMW showrooms in 1955. Initially manufactured by the Italian firm, Iso SpA, the name Isetta is the Italian diminutive form of Iso, meaning "little Iso". The BMW Isetta was also the world's first-ever mass-production car to achieve fuel economy figures of at least 33 kilometers per liter.
These are just a few of the astounding cars and bikes on display at Casa Corazon. Browse through our gallery below to see more. As a motorcycle enthusiast, you should consider dropping by Casa Corazon during one of your club's weekend rides if they happen to be in Batangas. After the eye-opening and mouth-watering tour, what better compliment than to eat your fill of Loming Batangas?
Special thanks to our good friend Kit Nicolas, who's a walking encyclopedia when it comes to classic Beemer bikes.