BUILT in 1894, the Hildebrand & Wolfmüller is often named as being the first production motorcycle featuring internal combustion propulsion.
Like many of the early motorcycles to hit the roads, the Hildebrand & Wolfmüller has more in common with bicycles of the era than modern-day motorcycles, although as the first machine to be actually called a motorcycle, its historical importance of the machine cannot be ignored. It was also an interesting machine in the way it was designed, featuring an oil-in-frame set-up, a rear mud-guard that doubled as a water tank, and a ‘spoon’ braking system. The last point utilises metal pads that are pushed onto the wheels to slow the bike when needed, not what I’d prefer to be relying on when travelling at speeds nudging 30mph!
Now the bike has changed hands, for the first time since 1990, when the then-owner, a Spanish collector called Carlos Garriga acquired the machine. The bike is the definition of ‘time-warp’ condition, boasting an original and unmolested finish, with only consumable parts like tyres and belts lacking in originality.
The 1894 Hildebrand & Wolfmüller is frame number 619 and engine number 69, and it sold at Bonhams last week for €195,500 including the buyer’s premium, equating to around £175,000.
According to visordown