Barn find: BMW bike and sidecar

In all the years I’ve been doing barn find articles, here’s the story of my best find ever. As almost always happens, it’s not just the find—it’s the story that goes with it!

I went with my best friend, John DeWaele, up to Quebec to pick it up my barn find in late spring 2017. I rented a six-foot-wide (72 inches) trailer from U-Haul; the trailer had to be that wide, as my find and its attached sidecar were 68 inches wide. I had to go back in July when I went to the joint US/Canadian Alfa Romeo Convention in Montreal.

After an almost seven-hour ride to west of Montreal and driving down an almost half-mile long driveway into the Quebec woods, I backed the trailer up to the garage door where my find had been stored for 38 years. We opened the door, pushed my find out into the fresh air (it had not been outdoors in decades), dropped the ramp down and discovered thing would not fit!

Pay close attention to the rig and to the rear of the trailer and see if you can tell me why it would not fit. Frustrated, we had to turn around and head back after blowing about $500 on the trip.

Now—the rest of the story!

Fellow Canadian Alfa Romeo Club member, Alex Csank, a native of Hungary and retired NATO serviceman—who is also one of many involved in organizing the annual Alfa Romeo Convention—told me of the rig, a 1972 BMW R 75/5 with a custom-made sidecar from England!

Alex, a Ural owner, sent me pictures of the BMW. He told me it belonged to an elderly, disabled friend of his. The rig had been sitting for something like 38 years and only had approximately 12,000-miles on it. I bought it sight unseen! Alex met us just off Canadian Highway A40 and guided us to his friend’s place on God knows on how many hundreds of acres off in the wilderness.

Under the guy’s humongous home was a garage where the BMW sat. Next to it was a 1957 T-Bird. Next to it a 1970 Oldsmobile black-on-black-on-black 442 convertible. Next to that was a beautiful 1927 Rolls Royce! Outside under a canvas covered storage unit was a 1964 Mustang and TWO 1932-ish Fords. In another large, Quonset-style metal storage unit were some other vehicles, including a 1947 MG TC. The entire side of that unit was filled with old motorcycles piled on top of one another.

Another building had a few more vehicles, one a Willy’s Jeepster; unlike everything else, it was actually being worked on to be restored.