Herewith the True Unadulterated and More-or-Less Complete Story of
A Dover White 1967 BMW R60/2
By Jeffrey M. Dean
Tucson, Arizona & Madison, Wisconsin
The 2007 photo above shows Weiss with Madison's Lake Monona behind. Across the lake you can see the white granite dome of the Wisconsin State Capitol. The original wide dual saddle has been replaced with two solo saddles, but otherwise it is nearly the same here as Judge Williams last would have seen it before he died.
Weiss (German for "White," written as "weiß," and pronounced "vice") began her long road on February 12, 1967, when she was built at the BMW Motorrad factory in Munich, Germany. She was delivered to Butler and Smith, the U. S. importer of BMW motorcycles, and was purchased from the BMW Washington Motorcycle Co. on April 23, 1967, by John Wesley Williams, of Rockville, MD.
Below is a page torn from the /2 owner's manual that came with the bike. Of course it shows an R69S, but the writing describes Mr. Williams's purchase. Presumably the dealer removed the page to provide an illustration of a BMW.
Mr. Williams had problems immediately with oil leaking from the engine. On May 1, 1967, Mr. Williams wrote to Butler and Smith indicating his distress at oil leaking from the engine. On May 22, 1967, just a month after purchasing the motorcycle, Mr. Williams (43 years old, and a Supervisory Trial Attorney for the Federal Power Commission) wrote a five-page, single-spaced, typed letter to Helmut M. Kern, at Butler and Smith in New York, the BMW motorcycle importer at the time.
On May 25, 1967, Mr. Kern wrote back to Mr. Williams offering to exchange the engine with a new one. This was done, so Weiss has an engine number different from her frame number.
In August 1970 Mr. Williams had ridden the bike 21,393 miles (6,580 miles annually). I like to think he must have enjoyed some nice long rides. He then had some routine work done on his motorcycle. He was advised, however, that "A complete tuning of the carburetors is meaningless without a complete check of valves, ignition, et cetera."
After this time, I have few records of Mr. Williams or his Dover white R60/2. He may not have been riding much. But by 1981, Mr. Williams had moved to Signal Mtn., Tennessee, taking the R60/2 with him, with its odometer reading 28,593 miles, 7,300 miles since 1970 (663 annual miles) . It appears, therefore, his riding had dropped off significantly. During the next 18 years the bike was ridden only about 508 miles (28 miles annually). The last time he registered the motorcycle was April 1990, but he never put the 1991 registration sticker on the license plate.
Judge John Wesley Williams died on Sept. 29, 1998 (before then he had become a Social Security administrative law judge). His widow, Charlene Goree Williams, reregistered the motorcycle in April 1999 prior to selling it. Her obituary mentions no children.
Late in 1999 the bike was advertised for sale by Blue Moon Cycle in Atlanta. I bought her in March 2000 when it had 29,142 miles on the odometer, and I became the owner of Judge Williams's R60/2.
On January 31, 2008, I wrote a letter to Mrs. Williams to find out more about her husband and the bike, but a friend of hers wrote back reporting that Mrs. Williams had died on Aug. 19, 2007. I was too late: my letter missed her by six months.
Below is a photo of Weiss when I purchased her after Judge William's death. She had a wide dual saddle, a rear luggage rack, and the air cleaner cover had been chromed. Othewise she was in excellent, original condition.
In 2010 I sent the bike to Bench Mark Works, Sturgis, Mississippi (see photo below), for some repairs and major maintenance. Work done there included new 1st over pistons, slingers cleaned, new push rods, push rod seals, cylinder head gaskets, spark plugs, fuel lines, and front tank bolt. Head guide seats cut. A 12-volt conversion with all bulbs was installed as well as new carburetor-throttle boots, clutch cable, brake cable, and speedometer O-ring. All oils were changed. New rear shock covers, bearing crankshaft crown gears, rear crankshaft seal, clutch plate, gasket oil screen, pan cork, spark plug caps, and rear eye shocks were installed. Wheel bearings were packed. Balance rods were cleaned and con rod installed. The cylinders were bored and new intake and exhaust valves were installed. The crankshaft was rebuilt by Chris Chambers.
So Vech did his customary magic on Weiss. Now she runs better than ever. In fact, Weiss is now my primary daily ride except for long trips and cold weather, when I revert to one of my two R1200RTs.
For the last 51 years, no other motorcycle provides me the level of enjoyment in riding as does a BMW R60/2. In addition to Weiss I own a Granada red R60/2, an Avus black R60/2, and a Caribe blue R60US, seen above.
In April 2013 I took Weiss to the Bench Mark Works for its annual vintage rally. The photo above shows Weiss, which was very dirty, getting a modest cleaning before the rally. The photo below shows Weiss at the rally.
Below is a view of Weiss as she looks today. It is the same view as the first photo above. Lake Monona and the Wisconsin State Capitol still survive, as does Weiss.
To me it is sad that all we know about Judge Williams, obviously a man of considerable accomplishment as well as, for a time, a BMW motorcyclist, is his obituary (below) in a Chattanooga, Tennessee, newspaper, and a Dover white 1967 BMW R60/2 motorcycle he owned for 31 years. There is no mention of his motorcycling days in the obituary. However, I still ride and treasure his Dover white R60/2 to this day.
HIs image and obituary are below: