Post Sale Update: this Willis sold for $8,000 after 19 bids on eBay in Santa Ynez, California.
You guys seemed to get a kick out of the VW-powered R60 Tim found earlier in the week, so here’s one that ups the ante with a sidecar!
In the 1960’s, two men named Jack Pruett and Bruce Butterfield owned a motorcycle dealership named Jack’s in Fresno, California. The two combined forces with a Mr. Willis and built adapters that allowed them to put VW 1600cc 4-cylinder car engines into BMW /2 frames. Utilizing the gearbox, swingarm, and driveshaft from the /2, this created a silly fast bike that was formally known as the Butterfield-4, but affectionately known as VMW, or BMVW.
Legal issues forced a split between the parties, but most people now know these bikes as the Willis 4. Willis would build the bike for you, or sell you a kit to make it yourself. Production numbers vary wildly, but my best guess is that about 100 were sold. By all accounts, the craftsmanship of this bike was excellent, though there were some issues with the clutch disc. But the biggest problem for the Willis 4 was actually BMW themselves, who soon released the /5. A vast improvement over the /2, the /5 was too tempting for buyers to pass up. After all, it was a bike with more power, lots of upgrades, and…a warranty with financing.
This example has 1,600cc VW motor with a Webley/Vickers electric start. The sidecar is from a Ural and the rig is titled as a ’65 BMW. About 4 years ago the drivetrain got a new clutch and flywheel as well as a used transmission with 670 miles and a rebuilt motor that has just 300 miles on it since the rebuild.
Find this “VMW” for sale in Santa Ynez, California with bidding up to $7,200 and the reserve not yet met