1955-1956 BMW R67/3
The Last of the “Plungers”

by Jeff Dean

Last updated

R67-R67/3 Engine Numbers and Production

BMW ModelEngine NumbersProduction
1951 R67   solo610001- 6114491,470
1952-1954 R67/2612001- 6162264,226
1955-1956 R67/3617001- 617700700

This is a 600cc BMW 1955 BMW R67/3. It was beautifully restored by Todd Rasmussen of Oklahoma City. Note the plunger rear suspension, exposed and chromed drive shaft, “mechanic's hand shift,” telescopic forks, front stand, and full-width brake drums. The finned covers over the exhaust nuts were popular aftermarket additions.

In September 2013, the bike was giving some trouble running, so I took it to Dave Alquist, of Quality Cycle Service, 50 N. Rogers St, Mesa, AZ 85201, telephone 480-964-4800. A few weeks later I picked it up and took it home to Tucson. Dave did a first class job and now it runs beautifully. Dave works on any airhead, but really prefers to work in vintage BMWs.

The R67 was the first postwar 600cc BMW motorcycle. It was built for one year, 1951, and the R67/2 was built in quantity from 1952 through 1954.

The R67/3 is the rarest postwar BMW motorcycle. Only 700 were produced in 1955 and 1956, overlapping for two years the introduction of the Earles-fork and swing-arm equipped "slash-2" models.

1955 BMW R67/3

The image below is from the 1955 BMW motorcycle brochure, which also included the first Earles-fork equipped motorcycles R50 and R69 as well as the carry-over R25/3. The 28 HP R67/3, here simply denoted as the R67, was carried over in production for 1955 and 1956. The R67 series was always considered by BMW to be a sidecar motorcycle.

The new 600cc R60 and 250cc R26, with the R50's and R69's Earles front forks, enclosed drive shafts, rear swing-arm suspensions, and more conventional front fenders, were first introduced for the 1956 model year.

The photo below shows Albert rear-view mirrors available now from Bench Mark Works. Previously, finding appropriate rear-view mirrors designed to work on plunger BMWs was all but impossible.

How do you quickly tell the difference between and R51/3 and one of the R67 series of BMWs, both of which have six-fin valve covers? The R67 through R67/3 have pointed cylinder fins (photo below, left). The R51/3 has smaller round cylinder fins (photo below, right). This distinction is the same for the later R60-R60/2 and R50-R50/2 motorcycles.

On a more personal note, my affection for the R67 goes back to my youth. In December 1968, I purchased a 1951 R67 (photos of me and it below along with my first BMW, a 1966 R60/2) and owned it for several years. Stupidly, I sold it a few years later. Ever since, I regretted selling that handsome motorcycle. So, in 2009, I purchased a replacement for it, a 1955 R67/3, which you see in the photos at the top of this page. The R67/3 has rubber gaiters, whereas the original, 1951, R67 had metal sleeves (photo below, right).

R51/3 — R67-R67/3 — R68
Rear Drive Ratios
R51/3 Solo35 / 9   (1:3.89)
R51/3 Sidecar32 / 7   (1:4.75
R67 — R67/3 Solo32 / 9   (1:3.56)
R67 — R67/3 Sidecar 35 / 8   (1:4.38)
R68 Solo35 / 9   (1:3.89)
R68 Sidecar32 / 7   (1:475)

What about maintenance-free 6-volt batteries for the R51/3, R67/3, or R68? Bench Mark Works now has the solution. Its part number is 61 21 8 042 025S — for the Noris AGM original style hard case battery with square lid. Dimensions are 6 716 x 358 x 3316 inches, or 92x82x166 millimeters.


The new 500-page slash-3 restoration and service manual, above right, by Christopher and Barbara Betjemann of Barrington Motor Works, is the finest and most complete book ever published on servicing and restoring these motorcycles.

You can order it here — Barrington Motor Works Manual Order Page

It may be an expensive book, but do not touch your slash-3 unless you have it by your side!

Click here to see the technical data from from the February 1952
English-language owner's manual for the R51/3 and R67/2.

Click here to see BMW's technical data on the R67/3 in English

Click here to read Phil Hawksley's R67/3 data sheet from Great Britain.

Hier klicken, um den R67/2 Wikipedia Artikel auf Deutsch zu lesen.

Click here to read the above article computer translated into English.

Click here for a speedometer ratio test form