Post Sale Update: This custom sold for $5,000 on eBay in Inverness, Florida.
“It seems that if you want something new and different these days, the easiest way to get it is to build it yourself.” Sounds like something you’d hear at your local bike night today, right? But in this case, it’s the opening line from an article in the August 1966 article of Modern Cycle describing a “Superb Eastern Custom” built by Helmut “Ham” Busack of Norwalk, Connecticut. It is considered to be the first motorcycle with a VW motor, a combination that was later homebrewed by a few other individuals and even offered as a kit. Helmut passed away in 2014, and his wife is now letting it go as an interesting piece of history.
In a 2010 post on the Classic American Iron forum, Helmut noted that he had built 8 of these bikes and that he still had the first and second. This one is the first, and his wife notes in the post that she’ll be selling the second soon as well.
I was lucky enough to find a scan of the Modern Cycle article (shared below), and the seller notes that she also has the April 1964 issue of Motorcyclist which covers this bike as well. Highlights include a modified 1956 VW 4-cylinder engine paired with a 1949 non-syncromesh VW 4-speed transmission with foot shifter, electric starter, BMW R50 carb, and a Ducati gas tank – but you should really just read the article below!
Look at those pipes! They were removed to make storage easier but they are thankfully included in the sale. It was recently started for the first time in 20 years but it will need a new 6 volt battery and presumably plenty of other work to get it back on the road. I hope someone more talented than me makes it happen! The seller notes that the bike weighs over 700 pounds and the dimensions are:
Length: 104″ (wheelbase: 75″)
Find this custom for sale in Inverness, Florida with a BIN of $5,000 or best offer here on eBay. Bonus points – once you snag the bike, you can also snag a copy of the Modern Cycle mag with an article about this machine here on eBay, too!
This bike-uriousity brought to you by Bob S!