Welcome. I built this page to share my collection of documents
related to late-70s US-market BMW motorcycles. There has been some confusion
about the models and options available during this era. I hope this can
information may be useful if you are restoring one of these bikes. You
actually have quite a bit of latitude in your choice of color and equipment
while still keeping the bike 'original'. For these model years a bike's
original color and equipment cannot be determined from the frame-stamped
serial number. From that the factory can only provide month and year of
manufacture. Note that for these late-70s bikes the frame number and the
engine number matched.
and Smith's (US importer) sales records for this era were lost or discarded
and are not available. Some history of B&S is found here
below. The original import license was purchased from a company called
the Butler & Smith Trading Company in Brooklyn, NY by Max Hoffman,
the first US importer of BMW cars and motorcycles. The Butler & Smith
Trading company got their name from their address, Butler Street and Smith
Street in Brooklyn. Butler & Smith, Inc. ceased U.S. BMW motorcycle importation
on Sept. 31, 1980.
specific serial number range does not exist for any of the desirable '78
Specials, including the RS in Motorsport scheme and the rare chromed and
polished (and non-advertised) R100S-Exklusive
Sport. All of these 'specials' were built up from regular production
as needed. During the late '70s, BMW's U.S. bike sales were disappointing
and some bikes that didn't sell were repainted, accessorized, and sold
by independent dealers as a local 'limited edition'. These were not factory
motorcycle production for a particular model year began at the beginning
of August of the prior calendar year. Due to slow sales in '77, virtually
all '78 model year bikes sold in the US were built in calendar 1977. In
addition to the 'Exklusive Sport', several other factory models never
appeared in the sales literature. One example: in late '78 Butler & Smith
received a shipment of 100 non-standard (for U.S.) bikes; in metallic
red with big pipes, kickstart, headlight switch. They were originally
intended for another market then offered to Butler & Smith. According
to a former B&S employee, "these came to be referred-to by US dealers
and riders as 'Belgian Police' or 'Australian' bikes. In actuality, they
were neither (see editor's
page, col.3, Spring '79 Joy of Riding). Also seen was a batch of '78
100RS-engined bikes fitted with the cockpit/cafe fairing and painted in
Motorsport scheme. Note that many 100S-engined bikes were imported 'naked'
for customization by dealers - usually into touring bikes.
proper paint colors can be tricky. Be careful. Remember that the 'smoke'
on the '78 red smoke was a dark blue, not black; the smoke on a silver
smoke was dark green, not black. Few painters are left that remember how
these bikes looked when new; these brochure photos may help, expecially
with the smoke fades, striping, and side covers. Many '78 red smokes were
repainted another (easier/cheaper) scheme when they were damaged or faded
to purple. If you are determined to get a proper period finish go to Holt
that the large format factory brochures were produced and photographed
in Germany using Euro-spec and equipped bikes. These bikes didn't always
match what was available in the U.S. during the same model year. The U.S.
magazine reviews and Butler and Smith advertisements are more indicative
of what was actually available in the States.
these brochures bring back fond memories, check out this period film
shot in Munich, Austria, and Italian Alps starring a '75 Daytona Orange
Rider Safety part
Safety part 2
bikes of this era have been modified by their owners. The San Jose mailers
(below) cover just about all of the period farkles you'll find on these
bikes. For a description of common period performance mods consult The
Doctor. For a more radical approach read about the 162 mph '78 Gietl/Schuster
superbike below. I made some mods to my own '78 R100S.
I support the Maryland Airheads
and encourage you to look up your local Airmarshal. --- Steve.
on thumbnails to view hi-res scans of the original documents.
Jump to: Sales Brochures, Magazine
'Motorcycle Journal', Magazine