The legendary “Aunt Ju” Junkers Ju 52 three-engine commercial and transport aircraft in the Lufthansa colour scheme grey-black from 1936, is well recognized worldwide. During its time in the USA from 1970 to 1984 under the American aircraft registration N52JU, it was called “IRON ANNIE” for short by its then owner Martin Caidin. This aircraft inspired a customer of BMW Motorrad partner VTR Motorrad AG & VTR Customs in Schmerikon, Switzerland, to create a very special customized version of the BMW R 18 – the R 18 IRON ANNIE.
A BMW R 18 First Edition served as the starting point for the customizing project. First, the engine was removed and painted black. All chrome parts were painted black and the fork stanchions also received a black coating in the form of a DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) coat. To pay homage to the legendary aircraft, the dial of the speedometer integrated into the tank is reminiscent of old cockpit instruments. It also received a hand specially made by watchmaker Zeitzone Zurich. The motorcycle borrows from the Ju 52’s characteristic corrugated aluminum planking. The seat is inspired by a riding saddle and, the “IRON ANNIE” color scheme in grey and black was to be used for the paintwork.
The 7 cm shorter fork and a height-adjustable Wilbers shock absorber emphasize the crouched stance of the motorcycle. “To make the bike look smaller and give it a more filigree appearance between the wheels, we had large 18 and 21 inch wheels made by Kineo,” says Daniel Weidmann, Owner & Managing Director of VTR Motorrad & VTR Customs.
Racing-style HC3 pumps from Magura were fitted in place of the standard R 18 brake and clutch fittings. “One of the big challenges with the R 18 IRON ANNIE was the replica cooling fins in the area of the rear silencers. Shaping these parts into parallel and beautiful radii and at the same time still fastening them harmoniously took a number of attempts,” says Daniel Weidmann about the aluminum sheet metal work. The tail with the suggested tail fin of an aeroplane, the side panels and the cockpit were hand-formed from aluminum sheet.
The R 18 IRON ANNIE will remain a unique model.
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