115-year-old motorcycle up for auction

1895 machine among the first to be called "motorcycle"

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jan. 18, 2010
Bonhams is auctioning an original Hildebrand & Wolfmuller motorcycle, the first motorcycle to enter series production.

Built in 1895 by brothers Henry and Wilhelm Hildebrand with their partner Alois Wolfmuller and mechanic Hans Geisenhof, the bike was the first vehicle to actually bear the name “motorcycle” (or in this case, the German equivalent “motorrad”).

The 1895 Hildebrand & Wolfmuller is powered by a 1,488cc water-cooled four-stroke Twin. With an estimated maximum power output of 2.5 bhp at 240 rpm, the bike could reach speeds approaching 30 mph.

The Hildebrand & Wolfmuller brand was short lived as the company folded in 1897.  Actual figures are not available, but the company may have produced anywhere from 800 to 2,000 units.

The 1895 Hildebrand & Wolfmuller is the earliest motorcycle to enter series production.

The particular unit being auctioned has been owned by an American family since the early 1930s. Presented in original and unrestored condition, the 1895 Hildebrand & Wolfmuller is expected at between 40,000 to 60,000 pounds ($65,287 – $97,930 US).

The 1895 Hildebrand & Wolfmuller is included in Bonham’s International Classic Motorcycle Show, April 25 in Stafford, U.K.