It may seem like a bold claim, but the Praga 500 BDS and 350 BCS motorcycles heading to the vintage auction at the Retro Garáž auto-moto market are paying for something more than holy grails. Although the universally celebrated Jawa 500 OHC may be more extreme, these sidecars are rarer than a Ferrari California with a manual transmission (among other things, 2 units were produced).
Purchased 500 BD
As for the rarer model, i.e. the Praga 500 BDS, the Prago acquired it by buying out the Breitfeld–Daněk company. At one time (1926), this company offered a half-liter (500 BD) DOHC motorcycle with a three-speed gearbox, a maximum speed of 105 km/h and raised handlebars, which allowed the rider to sit comfortably upright.
After the acquisition of the company was completed, the motorcycle in question was renamed the Praga 500 BDS, but it did not differ much from its original design. The model was produced in six series until 1935, however only 1901 complete pieces and a series of 500 incomplete sets were produced.
The offered five-hundred from the fifth series from 1932 is in preserved original condition and, with very minor exceptions, completely original. According to information from Retro Garage, the motorcycle has not been operated for many years and will not be revived in any way before the auction due to authenticity.
If the winner of the auction would like to put it on the brands, he has to use the veteran ones, because the original technician for the machine is no longer there. In any case, this gem will be auctioned from 890,000 CZK, while the final price can reach the magical limit of 1.5 million crowns. And who knows, maybe even more, because it really is a unique investment opportunity.
350 BCS as an alternative to a pint
The 350 BCS model, which was created as a more affordable and moderate variant against the top pint, will complement the five kilos from the threshold in the auction. The motorcycle uses an air-cooled OHC engine and a three-speed gearbox for propulsion. There is also one interesting thing related to this, namely that the “three hundred and fifty” received an air filter from the factory to increase the service life of the carburetor.
Another interesting thing is that the drive to the rear wheel is not transmitted by a chain, but by a cardan shaft, as we know for example from most Moto Guzzi motorcycles. However, the gimbal itself is not braked, as the brakes built directly into the wheels take care of stopping.
What about the number of units produced? Again, very low, making this machine a rare commodity. In 1930, a series of 500 pieces was created, while between 1932 and 1934 another 500 pieces were born. Then production ended.
The motorcycle for sale is from 1930, i.e. from the first series. It was renovated many years ago and the vast majority of the components used are original. Unlike the 500, this model from a private collection was revived before the auction, received a new flashlight and is ready for final tuning.
The unique Praga 350 BCS will be offered from 790,000 CZK, however, the estimate of the final amount is around 1.3 million crowns. And maybe even more, because like “five kilos” it is extremely rare.
Both single-track sleepers will be publicly auctioned on November 11, 2023 at the Exhibition Center in Lysá nad Labem on the occasion of a traditional event called Retro Garage. Here it will be seen if even such extremely rare Czech motorcycles will find their new owners. After all, it is a rare, but also relatively expensive investment product.