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This Crazy 1944 German Made “Kettenkrad” Motorcycle-Tank Is Going To Auction!

Check out this bizarre piece of military history: it’s called the Kettenkrad, and it’s going under the hammer later on this month. This particular model is a fully restored 1944 German-made Kettenkrad towing vehicle, and it’s one of the strangest things we’ve seen. The name is an interesting mix of the words “ketten” (which roughly translates as tracks) and “kraftrad” (which is an old German word for motorcycle). Basically, it’s a motorcycle tank – and who wouldn’t want to own one?

During the war, the German’s decided to deploy the Kettenkrad to all the fronts. They were strong enough to pull heavy artillery, they were maneuverable enough to break through any type of terrain, and they were small enough to fit inside a Junkers Ju 52 aircraft. And it was their small and compact size that made them superior to the jeeps of the Allied force…but unlike the World War Two era jeeps that you still see around today, the Kettenkrad has faded into obscurity.

Sadly, the Germans only produced around 8,000 of these during the war. Of the 8,000 plus produced, only a handful of them survive today. Like most German equipment seized after the war, the vast majority of these super cool tank-like motorcycles were scrapped. This example that’s going to auction was meticulously restored to the original specifications with loving attention to detail.

How Does The Kettenkrad Work?

If you’re wondering about how it works though, it drives very much like a motorcycle, although the steering is considerably different, and the tracks at the rear have the ability to brake independently to keep the whole thing upright in case an over-zealous rider feels like turning into a “corner” a bit hard.

The clutch is controlled with a foot pedal, rather than being lever operated, and the transmission boasts a three speed gearbox to help get you where you want to go, complete with high and low ranges to help you conquer a variety of terrain. The engine comes from an Opel Olympia: a four cylinder side valve, water-cooled, 14008cc beast. The suspension is also notably German in design, featuring a clever tele-lever fork that you’d usually associate with BMW.

All in, the Kettenkrad is capable of a top speed of 50 mph on paved roads, which firmly puts it onto the top step of the podium for “fastest tracked vehicles” of the Second World War.

If you’ve fallen in love and can’t live without this little weirdo, then you’d better make your way to the Bonham’s auctions at the Goodwood Member’s Meeting on March 19th. It’s expected to sell somewhere between the region of $7004,000 – $96,000. A fair price for an ultra-rare relic of the past.


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Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…

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