What survived WWII, goes 50 mph and looks like a whole helluva lot of fun? This guy. That's who.
And the rare piece of memorabilia is due to grace the auction block at Bonham’s later this month.
Technically coined the “SdKfz 2,” this German tank-bike is commonly known as the “Kettengrad.” Yes, it’s German. It realized its destiny traversing the Eastern Front and the North African desert and was known as the fastest tracked vehicle of its time. And top speedon this beast (50mph) must’ve been quite the chiropractic adjustment for all passengers.
kettengrad (6 images)
Featherlight by tracked vehicle standards, the Kettengrad at large was used to best unforgiving Russian mud and treacherous Sahara sands as a gun tractor, a cable layer and a runway tug for Luftwaffe aircraft (though this particular one was used by the German Forestry Commission after the war). Powered by just 36 ponies, it’s housing an automotive 3-speed transmission with a foot clutch and a stick shift, with a high and low range. This gave a total of 6 speeds, and in low range it’s said the Kettenkrad can climb remarkably steep inclines — 24° or more in deep sand.
Production came to a halt in 1944. And while over 8,000 have been produced, most were scrapped for their metal in the post-war years. One of the few remaining, this model was given a full restoration in 2015 (but still retains its original 6-volt electrical system).
The auction takes place on March 19th, and the hammer price is estimated to be around $90k. For more info or to put your bidding paddle up, right this way.