The Kettenkrad was typical of vehicles designed and manufactured for the German Wehrmacht during WW2: innovative, well made, and generally superior to equipment used by their enemies. Designated ‘SdKfz 2’ by the German Army, the Kettenkrad was an ingenious half motorcycle, half tracked vehicle, hence its name – ‘ketten’ meaning tracks, ‘krad’ meaning Krafttrad or motorcycle.
It was designed for German airborne forces as a light, multi-terrain, towing vehicle and was the only gun tractor small enough to fit inside the hold of the Junkers Ju 52 transport aircraft. The steering system was suitably innovative; if little movement was used then the wheel alone would steer the vehicle; however, if the handlebars were turned further, the track brakes would be engaged to turn more sharply. The handlebar had a twist-grip throttle, just like a motorcycle, but the transmission was car-type, incorporating a three-speed gearbox and foot operated clutch. There were high and low transmission ranges: ‘Gelande’ – off-road and ‘Strasse’ – street, for a total of six speeds. The engine was the exceedingly reliable 1,478cc inline water-cooled unit from the Opel Olympia car. The tracked system was very advanced, using roller bearings and padded tracks. This gave rise to an extraordinary top speed of 50mph on road surfaces and an extraordinary off-road capability.
This unique survivor has enjoyed a restoration to a high standard – we are sure this amazing piece of engineering will be the price of any serious collection.
Offered at No Reserve on 18th May 2019 at Chiswick House.