By Richard Sheckler –  Wayne, Ohio.

Crank case repair. I was for the most part unemployed for about two years in the mid-1990’s. I had an ‘under the table’ job working on motorcycles for a friend and fellow collector. One time after some persuasive negotiating, I received payment in trade. That was a partial basket case 1953 BMW R68. The bike had matching serial numbers, to whom, if you are a collector, is regarded as significant.

Karl B. a long time M/C race enthusiast and rider acquired the R68 from a family near White lake, Michigan. The bike had been wrecked, and a young man in the saddle either lost his life on it, or had been seriously injured. His father took his anger out on the bike with a two pound ball pein hammer, vowing that no one would ever ride the thing again.

My friend found the remains of this bike and asked me to drive up from Ohio and load the parts into the bed of my pick up and bring them back. The price of this bike was $300.00, precisely the amount he owed me for sweeping out and straightening his bike collection in his warehouse in Toledo. (There was a lot of sweeping that needed to be done). We met in the lot of an old time gas station in West Millgrove. He looked over the contents of the back of the truck with enthusiasm, until I managed to convince him that he should let me take it home with me. We agreed on ‘first right of refusal’ in the event I ever decided to sell it.

The young man’s father had a lot of anger (I would, too!). Here’s what I had to work with:R680011



It took about five years of study and a donor crank case from another wrecked bike to repair the R68 case. If you are wondering why the bother with this one, and most of my friends at the time surely thought I was on a fool’s errand, the R68 is a much sought after, collectible and real joy to ride BMW. First things first, the case needed to be cleaned:R680021



Next, the sacrificial donor case, which was also an orphan (no matching numbered frame and not of much interest to collectors) was carved up for the needed sections to be welded into place on the R68 case.R68003



Making ready: Sections installed into the R68 case and held with wooden wedges:R68004




Mark L. in Toledo handled the torch: R68005


Here are the results of less than an hour of welding:R68006





Left side with serial numbers. This was tricky, and required making some tiny hand chisels to finish the work around the numbers and the BMW cast into the case.  Sequence of work done salvaging the numbers and the BMW logo:R68010





Here’s the bike, fun to ride. Yes, after more than twenty years, I still have it.R68 Lt Qtr

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