Franz Bücker, Fahrzeugbau, Oberursel, Germany
Franz Bucker was a successful motorcycle racer, and many of the machines he rode were of his own construction. They emerged from the Fokker workshops in which he worked during WWI building the engines which powered the Fokker D-1 - the tri-wing aircraft flown by the famed Red Baron.
Bücker machines of the twenties were powered by Bekamo, Cockerell and Columbus, and in the 1930s they used Blackburne, Columbus, MAG and JAP fourstroke engines including a 55hp 1000cc V-twin. Two-strokes employed during the 1930s were from ILO and Villiers.
Postwar, a Bücker machine reportedly won the German Grand Prix of 1949. Production machines included the JLO 250cc Ilona, shortly followed by the twin-cylinder 250cc Ilona II. Few examples of the Ilona were built.
Mopeds were offered from 1954 to 1957, fitted with Sachs and JLO engines.
Peak post-war production was around 500 units annually - it is believed that some 50 survive.
Franz Bücker, born in 1894 in Vehrte near Osnabrück
1922 employed at the Uelzen machine factory Otto Raake, Uelzen. Construction of "Raakete" motorcycle. Moved to Oberursel
1922 Foundation of the company by Franz Bücker, production of motorcycles. Obere Hainstrasse
1924 Introduced Columbus and JAP engines
1925 production of motorcycles from 125 to 1000 cc, together with Karl Raufenbarth (brother-in-law) and father-in-law Konstantin Raufenbarth. Engines from JAP, Jlo, Sachs and Villiers
1926 Established a racing team
1937 New factory premises in Hohemarkstrasse
1949 German Road Championship, 250cc
1950 Son-in-law Heinrich Walz joined the company and the racing team
1953 Began moped production
1955 Began the repair and maintenance of passenger cars including Goggomobile and Ford
1958 Discontinuation of motorcycle production
Franz Bücker enlisted in the German army in 1914 as a mechanic in the engine factory in Oberursel. In this factory the army manufactured engines for the Fokker DR 1, the aircraft of Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron".
After WW I he began a motorcycle repair and manufacturing business. The motorcycles became known as reliable and fast bikes, and Bücker himself achieved victory on more than one occasion. For street racing he used an engine with a normal compression ratio, and for track work he raised the compression by welding a dome to the top the piston. High quality pistons were rare and expensive in the twenties, and he turned the dome off for the next street race - or so the story goes.
The fastest Bücker motorcycles were 1000cc machines with 55 HP JAP JTOR V-Twin engines, first released in 1930. They had a top speed of more than 170 kilometers per hour.
Production came to a standstill during WW II. After the war, the factory was under American control. New models were released in 1948 with 125 and 250cc engines. They were sold all over Germany and in Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece, Sweden and Switzerland.
1949 Bücker began to use ILO (ESPERANTO for "good tool") engines
for his motorcycles. The first model was the TZ 125 with 5,4 HP, followed
by the TZ 125 S with 7,5 HP in 1950. The TZ 175 had 175cc ILO engines with
3- or 4speed transmissions. The annual production numbers reached 500 units.
In 1952 Bücker had two 250cc models: the ILONA I with a 250cc 1-cyl. 12,5 HP ILO engine and the ILONA II with the brand new 2x125cc ILO Twin engine with 15 HP/6000rpm.
1953 saw the introduction of the new TZ 200, but production numbers fell to 400 units. In 1954 a 50cc moped entered the showrooms, but only 165 units were constructed and motorcycle production ceased.
Franz Bücker became a car dealer for Ford and Glas, and the business boomed. Franz Bücker died in 1980.
[Edited Feb. 2021, Dec. 2021, Mar. 2023]
Notes. 1. schreinerei-kunz.de gives 1958 as end of moped manufacture.