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Phil 2003

Made in New York: Big Apple BMW R69S

“If I can make it there
I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you
New York, New York”

-Frank Sinatra

I have been a longtime customer of MAX BMW. They are the leading BMW dealer on the East Coast with convenient locations in Connecticut, New York, and New Hampshire. MAX is a supremely well run organization with friendly and knowledgeable staff. MAX is also the leading dealer when it comes to all things vintage BMW. Their collective knowledge, expertise, and passion for this narrow niche market eclipses all other dealers—anywhere on earth.

Last week MAX BMW pushed the limits of creativity and pulled off the impossible. At the New York Motorcycle Show (on the floor of the Jacob Javits Center in New York City) the team from MAX built a 1961 R69S. This landmark vintage motorcycle came to life in under three days. The assembly occurred daily while spectators strolled by the MAX BMW booth. Upon completion the bike started first-kick and was promptly driven down 11th Avenue.

Legendary master BMW technician Phil Cheney was in charge of the project. Phil has helped me with several restorations over the last few decades. I credit him with influencing and developing my passion and respect for these timeless machines. I owe my entire collection to his keen eye for quality, correctness, and authenticity. Phil does not compromise when it comes to quality and originality. Together we have found and restored some amazing and rare BMW machines. With his guidance I have built a formidable collection of top-quality factory-certified pre-war and vintage BMW’s. Restoring BMW motorcycles is tricky business. It takes patience, persistence, time and a lot of money. Like every restoration project, there is a right way and a very very wrong way! Phil has forgotten more about these machines than most people will ever know.

I am constantly humbled by Phil’s infinite knowledge of these historic motorcycles. He is an evangelist and is always happy to share his wealth of knowledge. Just watching him work on a BMW is an enjoyable and relaxing experience. He always gives one hundred percent of his attention to the task at hand. Phil places his wrench on the bike with a Zen-like feel. Beyond all his mechanical talents, Phil also happens to be among the kindest and most thoughtful people I know.

Below are photos from the assembly of the 1961 BMW R69S as well as a link to the YouTube time-elapse video. Photos and video courtesy of MAX BMW.

It all started with a frame….

The miraculous feat was followed on the big screen at the Jacob Davits Center

Steady progress (Phil Cheney on the left)

Installing the battery

Watch the time-elapse video here.

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