Part IV. Commemorative Machines Concept

Those of our friends and colleagues who paid closest attention to our efforts have noted that there were several motorcycles in our collection that previously were not honored with one single world. It is our pleasure to make up for this omission. These are simply such machines that could not be entered into the logic of our collection of technical rarities. These motorcycle samples simply have a value for us, for personal reasons: each of them has an interesting story behind it.

In our earlier years which coincided with the establishment of the young Russian democracy, when we were suddenly nurtured by the awakened enterprising spirit of our great-grandfathers (who were called “kulaks”, i.e. well-to-do peasants), we did roam the wide expanses of Middle Volga hoping to find a Harley, a Sahara or, better, a four-cylinder Zündapp. The goal was quite utilitarian: buy cheap and sell for more, in order to create in this way our starting capital. We were certainly somewhat successful in our efforts. We even remember fondly some of those motorcycles, very warmly.

The FIRST motorcycle that we got through our activities was the NSU 601 osl, that was in 1992, a long time ago, come to think of it, and today we have another machine of this brand in our collection. It was carefully restored by Yuri Kotelnikov who hails from St. Petersburg.

Around 1994 we found in Samara an Imperia 500 sport machine which was in great shape: everything was there from the original factory, even lamps in the front light. As of today, this machine was restored in the Rostislav Yegorov Workshop and become a great piece of our collection. Even though the restoration process was pretty far from its classical understanding of what restoration is all about (Rostislav is a great artist, to put it mildly), this is the only motorcycle that was in our possession for almost 20 years.

A funny story happened with DKW 500 ss. In 1995 a lady called whose last name was Zaitseva, and she offered us t buy a “grandfather’s motorcycle”, that is one from her grandfather. When looked at this item, we were very much in doubt whether it was worth our while to purchase this heap of metal for $300, but our curiosity won and it was our first (and, until this day, the only one) “profiteering story” in our activities: we did buy it, but a year later sold it for $600, “as is”, to some Polish travelers.

Puch 350 GS was quite often our catch in those days. Since this model is quite complicated in its technical design, these motorcycles were, usually, not drivable, and thus having intact all accessories and details. Purchasing this model was always an example of great profit rate…

We found a Rene Gillet 350 H in some god-forsaken village in the Ulianovsk Region and after we had purchased it, we were for about six months an object of ridicule from traveling Polish pack rats who were foaming at their mouths while arguing that this was some “Russian invention” (they were referring to the rear suspension) and that we would never get our money back. What would they know (as we do today) that this was a restricted issue by a famous French company that built only 50 of such machines!

And Moto Guzzi 500 was the most striking impression of my childhood when I was 7 years old: this shining red wonder, driving down the street of our back-of-the woods little town, exhaled the blue exhaust of its foreign insides over the heads of my pals, all local roughs, who could only open their mouths and start arguing about this strange Jawa thing… The most daring of the guys walked up to the driver and asked what this model was called, but the name was so strange to us, that we kept calling it “Motogruzzi”…

A great Gilera Marte motorcycle was given to us as a gift by our great friend and a wonderful person! What is most interesting about this machine, is its manufacturing year: 1946! Only Italian, despite all the post-war chaos, destruction and even hunger, were capable of manufacturing such beautiful things!