German

Windhoff Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Marque

Built in Berlin from 1924 to 1933, these quality machines were constructed using mostly watercooled Bekamo-licensed two-stroke engines, along with some very advanced four-stroke designs powered by four cylinder OHC engines of 750cc designed by Ing. Dauben. A 1000cc prototype was built using the same approach, with the unit-construction watercooled engine acting as a stressed member. There were also sidevalve shaft-drive flat twins, and late in the game some smaller Villiers-licensed two-strokes.

Founded in 1902 by brothers Hans and Fritz Windhoff, the firm manufactured radiators which were installed in many automobiles, trucks and early aircraft. One of the brothers departed to form his own firm in 1907, and Windhoff production moved from the Rhine to Berlin in the same year.

Windhoff's early two-stroke designs were very successful on the track, winning international races in both the 125 and the 175 classes in 1925. Tragatsch describes these machines as "superb".

In 1928 a Windhoff 125 established both World Speed and Endurance records on the Opel racing circuit during the annual Opel 24-hour race.

Towards the end they built machines powered by their own 198cc and 298cc engines, developed by Kurt Pohle and based on the Villiers design after licencing negotiations with the British firm failed. These engines were supplied to Elfa, Walter and other manufacturers.

A horizontally opposed twin was introduced in 1929, but the onset of the global financial crisis meant that few were built.

Prior to the first war, Windhoff built a variety of automobiles and commercial vehicles which were also very well received. These were exported to Brazil, China, Russia, Sweden and Norway.

Sources: de.wikipedia.org, Tragatsch p297, Axel Oskar Mathieu Archive, et al.


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