Classics – This little Bastert is SWEET!

Sat, Dec 31, 2005


No seriously… This is Germany’s own Bastert Werke’s Einspurauto Scooter from the early 50′s. This baby was not produced in large numbers, so don’t expect to find them on your daily ebay/craigslist perusal. As a matter of fact, there are only 20 known 1953 models in existance. The Adelaide Institute puts it best in their newsletter. I hope they won’t mind if I kinda cut and paste it here, but it’s a very nicely written piece:

Never mind the (in English) unfortunate name. It wasn’t pronounced anywhere near as in English and has no relation to the English meaning. Having said that, only 1200 were built, so it couldn’t have been such a big deal, right? Wrong! I hate using cliches, but in this case I must, not having been given an alternative…

This motorscooter was the “Rolls Royce” of all scooters. It may appear strange, but under examination, one finds the Bastert ”Einspurauto” to have been one of the highlights of the international 2-wheeled industry – Period.

The Bastert Company was an old, well established (but small) bicycle and motorcycle manufacturer in the lovely city of Bielefeld. Its products were rarely sold outside the Bielefeld area. Therefore, fame had eluded this company. Helmut Bastert had high hopes for his creation since he righfully thought if he builds the best of the best, it must become a sales success. Alas, fortune did not smile on his venture. He was going head-to-head with some stiff, usually better financed competition and he insisted that no cost cutting measures be taken.

Only the best of the best and all of it put together by highly trained workmen, who took the expression “German workmanship” very seriously indeed. The result was a remarkably stunning machine manufactured mostly by hand of the finest materials available.

Bastert was the only motor scooter manufacturer who used only light metal aluminium construction laid up over an aircraft-style frame. This type of construction was pioneered by BMW and made famous by Maserati with their “Birdcage” Maserati racing car. It made the machine not only very light (despite its size) but also impervious to rust. This latter characteristic alone was a real boon in Germany at the time, since salt on the roads during wintertime regularly destroyed things made of lesser metals.

From the first in 1951 it was realized that they had a truly unique, extraordinarily handsome and qualitatively unsurpassed machine on their hands. Consequently the Bastert company decided to call it “Das Einspurauto” and had this name registered as a TradeMark. Henceforth, advertising spoke of “Einspurauto”, rather than motor scooter, setting it further apart from the crowd. Einspurauto means approximately the same as “Single-track car”.

From the start, some degree of bad luck followed the development of this machine, the fully functioning protoype being stolen in 1951, this despite elaborate security measures. That the machine was never recovered, despite intensive efforts of the police and a prize of DM 500 for information (a considerable sum in those days) seems to suggest foul play, an inside job as it were. This is given further credence by the vehemence of the competition in those days, when so many manufacturers were fighting for market shares. Furthermore, in those days to clandestinely remove a vehicle from Germany was a virtual impossibility. Helmut Bastert was not one to give up and despite the tremendous costs and effort required, started from scratch, finally bringing his vehicle to market.

Aside from being constructed of mostly aluminum, everything was harmoniously integrated into a wind tunnel tested slippery body shape, that could only be called gorgeous.

The machine had extremely comfortable, almost flat handlebars over a regular dashboard containing a plethora of instruments, including an electronic gear indicator. Each different gear had its own little lamp in varying colors, making it easy for the rider to determine which gear the machine was in, a real boon when riding in noisy city traffic. The seat was an automotive type covered in leather, which when folded forward gave access to a second seat which could be folded backward, giving the drivers partner a comfy way to go in tandem with the pilot.

Very broad access doors on the side of the body enabled the driver to view the electrically well lit engine compartment. These doors could be opened with a one handed simple movement making the whole thing extremely user friendly. The Einspurauto was powered by a single cylinder 200-cc Ilo two-stroke engine, transmitting its energy through a four-speed transmission. Even the wheels were solid aluminum, the axles of the wheels were removable a la Achilles with one movement, making the changing of a flat tire a snap. To round up this pleasant picture, the machine had a regular, lockable trunk. It was available in two colors, black or a metallic silver-gold with a bright red seat, making it truly a stunning looking machine. When viewing the “Einspurauto” from the birds-eye perspective, one sees how massive and broad this machine was. Needless to say, it was strong and solid enough for a regular size side car. The windscreen was so perfectly well integrated, that it in no manner disturbed the aesthetics of this outstanding two-wheeled transportation system.

Helmut Bastert realized in early 1956 that the costs of having developed and marketed this machine had drained his little companies coffers and sales were not making up the losses. This was in part due to the understandably very high retail prize of the Einspurauto, a consideration which kept many customers away. Everyone who had seen one or had read the rave reviews of the road testers wanted one, but only a few could actually afford it.

Helmuth Bastert explored other possibilities, settling on the new wonder material – plastics, a field in which he achieved considerable success, keeping his company alive and his workforce working, even after he regretfully ceased producing his two-wheeled luxury vehicle.

3 Responses to “Classics – This little Bastert is SWEET!”

  1. cwj Says:

    wow. Restart production, stick stores in Soho, New Haven, Miami and Martha’s Vineyard, take a few pics of Paris Hilton with one shoved between her legs (when is THAT chick gonna finally jump the shark), and one will have the makings of one’s goldmine….or aluminum mine, as it were.

    (droll chuckle)


  2. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for the report. I wrote it and the Adelaide Institute was kind enough to print it, along with a plethora of other articles I wrote about the German 2-wheel industry. Gerry Frederics


  3. Gerry Frederics Says:

    Regretfully I have to blow my own horn here: PLEASE anyone interested in Motorcycles, Motorscooters, Side Cars, Three-wheeled Vehicles, Micro Cars and Bubble Cars, go to my web site and get an eye-full! It is the by far most complete and informative site of its kind on the world-wide-web.Thanks Gerry Frederics


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