Table of contents
NSU Sportmax replica
NSU Sportmax replica
Max is running
In the beginning there was a camshaft around which the four gentlemen built a motorcycle. On the one hand for nostalgic reasons. On the other hand, because the Sportmax has changed her life. At least a little.
Ballermann in Hockenheim. But the break is delayed. Can not be pushed, the thing. “Maybe I should have collected stamps,” jokes Manfred. In his garage near Waiblingen he installed the Sportmax, private driver’s dream of the 1950s. But out of consideration for the sensitivities of the suburban Swabian neighborhood, he refused to subject the single-cylinder to a test run beforehand.
It was difficult for Manfred because Manfred is a perfectionist. He didn’t learn that at Daimler, where the engineer once did, but he cultivated it. When ex-racing driver Sigi, to whom the honor is due to venture the maiden voyage, appears wearing a silver Cromwell, instead of praise he gets something on the pear – an original NSU helmet from Sportmaxen’s great days.
In 1953, a group of NSU technicians took on the development path to find out what can be extracted from the aggregate of a Straben-Max. Fast result: around 30 hp from 250 cubic meters. The racing machines that were already used to success in 1954, the two-cylinder Neckarsulm factory machines, made it difficult to score. Even at the Grand Prix. And that with 80 to 85 percent engine parts from series production. Such motorcycles are called production racers today. For the screwdrivers back then – slogan: turn maxes into sports maxes! – of course, challenge and inspiration. Especially since Hermann-Paul Muller actually snatched the world title in 1955.
Sigi was 18. Pedaled his bike to the racetrack near Stuttgart’s Solitude Castle – Maxe watch what else. ”Impressive, the speed with which they dashed around the corner and saw off the MV Agusta, Morini and Mondial. There was a fascination with the motorcycles that I cannot describe. ”Sigi came ?? Sportmax back, Sportmax here? in this country everything is damn tight and weird, so we took off. First Australia, then California, finally Detroit. Toolmaker at Chrysler – and hobby racing driver. Fred Guttner, as the Americans translated Siegfried Guttner, sat down with Don Emde and Phil Read in Daytona, drove racers of almost all brands and in his 20 years as a test driver for MOTORRAD the complete program. But a Sportmax did not want to find him.
Erhard Melcher ?? the »M« in the name of the Mercedes tuner AMG? In 1963, when Sigi moved down under, there were always five to six pieces in his garage. It’s been three years since Erhard could hardly believe his eyes when he saw the fragment of a Sportmax camshaft in the workshop of his ex-colleague and friend Manfred. “It’s mine, I told him, Manfred didn’t want to believe that, of course. Got there ?? I showed him the counterpart. “
“I’ll give it to you,” laughed Erhard and jokingly added: “Build a motorcycle around it!” And was not at all surprised that Manfred was hooked. The man understands fun. Sure, Sigi got involved. Sigi, who knows everyone who’s got something in the scene. “I’ve always wanted a motorcycle like this. I could never have done it alone. ”And anyway not without Dieter. So Dieter, the fourth in the group. “The artist,” whispers when names are heard in the Swabian northern lights. Dieter, who recently visited John Surtees, Sportmax triumphant from the very beginning, on his country estate in southern England. Not in terms of Sportmax, of course? he has already copied one ??, but because of the restoration of a BMW RS for the legendary British private museum. “I was embarrassed, the bolt of one of my prefabricated parts did not fit.” Until Dieter exposed the work smock of a helpful mechanic, who was destructively jammed, as the cause of the inaccuracy of the fit.
The two right people have found each other in Dieter and Manfred. Tens of years ago, at the end of the sixties, in Formula Vee races, and then, fixed on two wheels, on all the slopes of the republic. Manfred worked for Alfred Bajor, the racing driver. Dieter was on tour as a brilliant replicator of self-made Kreidler Van Veen. “When I saw this machine stripped in MOTORRAD, the Kujau went through in me.” He built frames for Dieter Seel’s 80s units, and he also mass-produced dry clutches for Maico, Honda parts and replicas. For the purpose of reuniting the family, he once donated his daughter a mini bike from his own production. “In a race, the little one was clearly ahead at the beginning, until inexplicably she fell far behind. Because Mama had promised her five marks if she didn’t turn the gas so hard. “
Thanks to Manfred, Dieter now knows the Sportmax even better than the women. Because he bombarded Dieter, who worked intuitively and with the power of creative intuition, with mercilessly exact documents of the sport-maximum kind ?? because beforehand he had meticulously studied the original machine of Fritz Klager, one of the factory-supported drivers. Drawings, photos, sketches ?? all of this was sometimes not enough for Dieter. In order to find out exactly the point where the swing arm is brazed, he deliberately ruined one. “I was only there for the shoddy work anyway,” grinned the man from Nordenham. He thinks and thinks. 21 parts made of aluminum sheet, which, neatly welded together, result in the sculpture of a Sportmax tank.
So everyone had to carry their part. Erhard the camshaft, of course, and the ignition plate, for which he would once have sold his mother to Tangier. “The Bosch service refused to sell me the part; it was only allowed to sell it to licensed drivers.” Until Erhard threatened to commit a family outrage. Even the Bosch man laughed and got weak – and Nuts never found out.
When the motorcycle went downhill at the beginning of the 1960s, Erhard collected Maxe at low cost wherever he saw them. Made them sporty and fit for racing. “My God,” remembers the Rhinelander, “how did we grind and polish the inlet ducts, as it was written in Klacks’ book. Then by chance I got my hands on an original head, I look into the inlet duct, did ?? Immediately realized that until then I was just a sausage. Man, was that a hole. 30 millimeters thick. To this day, every Ducati head reminds me of NSU. That was the company that was ahead in four-stroke engine construction. This Sportmax head turned a hobbyist into a tuner. “
At Mercedes, Erhard benefited from his Max know-how. The canals are huge, he preached, and gave the 300 SE the ball. Instead of screws, clever spheres, ground down and placed in the rocker arm, regulate the valve clearance with nobility. The old master in the Unterturkheim racing department did not want to believe that other Swabians, and then of all motorcyclists from NSU, had such flashes of genius. From then on he never looked for valve adjustment screws that fall off.
“Tell me Erhard, when you’re driving, you’re always with your left knee on the Amal carburetor NSU asks Sigi. “Sure,” says Erhard, “nobody wanted to sit to my left because of the pungent gasoline smell.”
In Hockenheim, Sigi and Manfred check the candle. Everything okay, it ignites. So the carburetor, the offensive one! Needle up, needle down. Another postponement. No, still not. It is a good thing that vans have the praiseworthy quality of not only transporting motorcycles, but also pulling them if they fail to start.
Man who shoots. Sigi dashes up and down the straight forest. First comment: “It’s incredibly handy, but it vibrates a little bit under the bum.” Manfred forgets that he wanted to start collecting stamps 15 minutes ago. Dieter remembers that Wilhelm Herz, the NSU world record driver, once stood next to his Max and asked: “Is it a replica or real?” The greatest compliment for the forger from Nordenham. And Erhard? He’s just happy that Max is running again.
In 1954, NSU decided, with 201,439 machines, the world’s largest manufacturer, to cut down on sport. The world championship trophies of the two-cylinder racing machines in the classes up to 125 and 250 cm³ already adorned the showcases. It couldn’t go any better anyway. And hadn’t the first sports ax – derived from the one-pot series version – already made the headlines in the last few races with good results? Basic recipe: the inlet increased from 26 to 30 millimeters and the camshaft with the original push rod drive – chief engineer Albert Roder had also excelled in locomotive construction – optimized for larger overlaps. In addition, the amount of fine-tuning, so that ultimately hardly any part remained like in the series. The effort was worth it: H.P. In 1955 Muller drove the World Championship title home to Neckarsulm on Sportmax. As a private driver of the factory-supported kind. John Surtees won on the sporty Max, and the 17-year-old Mike Hailwood really flattened the competition in 1955 on his Production Racer in South Africa and England. Until the light MV Agusta in 1956 dug the water out of the Maxen.
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