Made in Germany
Manufactured: 1922-1955, with remaining stock sold until 1958.
Franz Bücker, Fahrzeugbau, Oberursel
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 model famed Red Baron flew.
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.
Peak post-war production was around 500 units annually - it is believed that some 50 survive.
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 was achieved 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 machnes 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]
Sources: Hartmut Schouwer, et al