Rare Original Hildebrand & Wolfmiller Motorcycle To Be Auctioned

HildebrandYou are looking at an original circa 1895 Hildebrand & Wolfmüller motorcycle and Bonhams will auction it in Stafford, England on April 25th, 2010. It is one of the first production motorcycles ever made.  Manufactured in Munich, Germany, the Hildebrand & Wolfmüller is of the utmost historical significance as the first powered two-wheeler to enter series production.

It is also supposed to be the first vehicle to which the name ‘motorcycle’ (in German “Motorrad” was given. The Hildebrand brothers, Henry and Wilhelm, developed their motorcycle in partnership with Alois Wolfmüller and his mechanic, Hans Geisenhof. Despite a maximum power output of only 2.5bhp at 240rpm, the H&W is said capable of speeds approaching 30 mph, which was amazing at that time. Opinions differ with regard to how many machines were produced. Figures range from 800 to 2,000 units. Hildebrand & Wolfmiller (a German/French joint venture) collapsed in early 1897.

15 Responses to “Rare Original Hildebrand & Wolfmiller Motorcycle To Be Auctioned”

  1. 1 maroco Jan 15th, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Hope someone can rebuild it. This pionners builders deserved.

  2. 2 Conrad Nicklus Jan 15th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I would absolutely love to have this in my house. You don’t restore something like this, it is just like an antique Colt 45, you let the varnish and condition stay as it is. You let it be and allow it to look cool and allow the ways of 1895 to show through this piece of art.

    Love it!

    Conrad Nicklus

  3. 3 Jeff Nicklus Jan 15th, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    It looks a lot like some of those $18K bobbers on the market today, if you ask me! LOL

    Over & Out,


  4. 4 JZ Jan 15th, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Rare, incredible and priceless piece of history – important to all automotive (cars and bikes) history as well as Western culture and industry. Astounding relic.

  5. 5 just my opinion Jan 15th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Conrad is absolutely right you don’t rebuild an antique. In fact that is the biggest mistake people make they think if they clean up an antique it will be worth more but the opposite is true when it comes to antiques. In the world of antiques the wear and oxidation is called patena and that is worth more than a new finish, after all if a buyer wanted new he could buy new replica but you can’t get wear and oxidation with out time. If you did refinish or restore this bike it would lose major value. As is sits it is a time capsule that shows us how they built bikes in the 1890’s and it also shows us what time will do to our creations of today if they survive for 100 plus years. This bike is awsome just as it sits. Wish I had one.

  6. 6 maroco Jan 15th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    What about museums they exibit every types of antique and restored.
    There are guys that rebuild whit same materials used at the time,and the engine,i special want liesten the sound that it makes.Anyway i like the bike like it is or rebuild,that gives better idea how it is at there time.
    All the best, hope see more this at the blog, because help to learn what is new or not.

  7. 7 Dave Blevins Jan 15th, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Is there any record of where this bike was discovered or stored… must be a great story to go with an item this unique and to have survived for so long.

  8. 8 Cyril Huze Jan 15th, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Dave. The motorcycle has been in the ownership of the vendor’s family in the USA since at least the early 1930s, which is when it last ran.

  9. 9 ODee Jan 15th, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    It all depends on the condition of the antique they’re starting out with!
    If something’s basically in running condition, used, tired, and has already been repainted or maintained with non original parts to keep it running through the years, then most people would agree that a full restoration is in order.
    If something was basically been put away and stored the first time it broke down and has been untouched through the years, then it is considered by many to be a ‘time capsule’ and historically significant.
    Very rare and very, very cool indeed!

  10. 10 Pitbull Jan 15th, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Wanna see one run? Go to you tube and put in Hildebrant wolfmiller.

  11. 11 maroco Jan 16th, 2010 at 8:40 am

    True amazing video.A vision of the past, very cool, the sound and the traction system are special.
    I belive the web fenomenum needs the experts opinion, the opinion of all “not experts” included my,
    offer diferent point of view, but what it´s count it´s the expert opinion to keep the true history.

  12. 12 tattooeddmike Jan 16th, 2010 at 10:56 am

    I agree, it is only orginal once. To restore or not to restore………..? Not a chance!
    Too cool the way it is!

  13. 13 bigalyts Jan 16th, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    If you have the People to restore it as an Original,YOU RESTORE it! I don’t mean in a Bike Shop that Builds Custom Bikes,either.The talent and experience to restore a Piece like this would be best situated in 1 of a dozen Restoration Shops in this Country. The Price Difference of a bike that’s desribed by a few of the Bloggers and a Restored Bike is probaly 5 or 6 Times the Value that it would bring Restored! There are certains Bikes that YES, you don’t restore because they are not Significant enough! This is not one of those Bikes!!I woiuld like to hear from the Other Bloggers, on how MUCH do you think it will Bring?

  14. 14 michael Jan 18th, 2010 at 11:15 am

    This Hildebrand and Wolfmuller is a piece of art with all the signs of a over 100 years live.
    It would be the wrong way,to restore it,the resoration will take away all the spirit of all the years and things that happend during the “live” of this rare motorcycle.
    To show how it looked when it was new,you could buy one of these perfect and exact replicas of the Hildebrand and Wolfmuller which are made by the German artist Mike Kron,than you have the very original H&W and the perfect looking replica side by side.There are allready some museeums with of these H&W replicas.So I want to say do not restore this bike,keep it in this condition for the future,if it is restored,than you never can bring it back to this one and only condition!

  15. 15 indianfred Jan 21st, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Value, worth, restore, art. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH! What all you people are forgetting is that this is a MACHINE. It was designed and built with a purpose in mind. That purpose was transportation and enjoyment. Unless it is in working everyday order, it is a useless piece of junk. The greatest homage you can pay to the originators is to USE THIS MACHINE in the way it was intended.

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Cyril Huze