What you are about to view is quite extraordinary. Someone sent us photos of an early war DBK250 in an amazing state of disrepair with the hopes of resurrecting the moto back to its original condition. It is a basket case in the true sense of the phrase. He has found a friend willing to assist him in this monumental task and you will get to see their progress over the next several weeks (or months) as they bring this beast back from the grave. Unfortunately there are no “as found” or “first found” photos of this unique find, as Nikola was not the finder, but rather the first buyer. The closest we can get to first found are the photos of April 10th are three or four photos in the first cluster of pictures. These show the rust, the scale, the deterioration of 70+ years buried in a wet climate.
The restoration is featured below. We hope it will inspire others to tackle the beast in your garage, basement, or barn, and restore your own Zundapp. There are lots of them out there and most are in a much better starting state than this one.
DBK250 Restoration by Nikola Miladinovic – Belgrade, Serbia
April 9, 2010
Subject: Need help for my DBKI
Have one frame of DBK series and thanks to your site I find out by frame number that is DBK250 from 1939. How ever I didn’t find any web site with engine numbers recognition data and I will be very thank full if you can help me to find it. I have two pre war engines (250cc and 200cc) in running condition with numbers, but I am still trying to find their frame models and years of production.
April 10, 2010 – from James Marshall:
Greetings from Texas, USA, Nikola, Many thanks for making good use of the material. It is why we are up and running. In answer to your question concerning motor numbers, I am pretty sure that Zundapp matched all numbers on all models since around 1933-34. Frame, motor, & transmission should all bear identical numbers, unless a component was replaced during it’s service, or afterwards when acquired after the war. Unfortunately, after the war many machines in foreign lands got re-numbered according to the ruling governments decrees concerning serial numbers and war booty. It is going to be pretty difficult to validate that though, as there does not seem to be any official Zuendapp Archives that still exist. If you could please, take a good close-up photo of the Zundapp dbk 250 frame number and the motor numbers that you have and send those to me, along with a measurement of width and height in mm so that I can begin to compile a listing of genuine number fonts on pre and post war Zuendapps. This way we can begin to establish real numbers from faked numbers and officially changed numbers. It would be ever so helpful. Be sure to send a photo of your DBK for inclusion in appropriate moto gallery. Preferably, a photo of just the dbk, but if all you have is a photo of moto and owner, then that is acceptable as well. Thanks for visiting and return as often as you need information.
April 11, 2010
As you advice me, I saw engine numbers on cylinder and below and numbers are there. So, thankfully I manage to find them in your document on web site and identifies them: 250 cc engine is from DBK250 from 1939. and 200 cc is from DBT200 from 1947-50.Thanks again for much needed help 🙂
April 13, 2010 – from James Marshall:
Looking over your photos I find myself awe-struck that you want to resurrect such a sad looking relic from the past. Don’t mis-understand me, I think it is a grand and noble gesture. And I’m going to ask you to update me every two weeks or even once a month with any progress you have made to the beast and I will add those posts and photos and texts and just follow you along this long hard road to what I hope will become a Concurs Restoration. This way not only will you get to restore your DBK, but the Zundapp world will get to watch you do it.
April 13, 2010
Yes it is hard job ahead, but with lot of luck in finding of missing parts I will be hopefully able to finish it in next 6 months. For last month I made it from scrape parts and engine pieces in box to put all of those in recognizable shape and remove all rust, holes, etc. I am very optimistic and with little bit of luck my Zundapp will be on streets again. I am also glad that you share my view and are supportive.Special page with some basic info about bike, country of origin, mission of project and lot of photos will be nice and educative in some way for all enthusiastic people who maybe have something like that in mind. As I make a progress, I will send you updated photos (probably once per month). Just now I can tell you that it will be hopefully painted next month and it will be RAL 7021 (dunkelgrau) Wehrmacht color with signs of scout unit of 1941. “Das Reich” division who was the leading unit to overrun ex Kingdom of Yugoslavia and it’s capital Belgrade and most likely first owner of my DBK250.
April 16, 2010
Welding job on frame is finished, holes, cuts and some twisted parts are professionally welded and processed by my friend Dejan, so I will send you some photos in next few days. I will take your advice and take some detailed photos with micro and macro mode on my camera, so you will be able to make some choice of fresh photos for all of our virtual friends on zundappfool site. I am also always open minded for every advice on restoration process, so every info that you will give me will be helpful.
April 20, 2010
When my friend Dejan and I finished thesanding process and removed all the rust, we saw some interesting spots for our up going welding job. As we all ready suspect, gas tank was once punctured by some small round bullet or fragment in upper part, near to driver seat on the right side. On the bottom side the original gas tank had one patch made from an aluminum bottle neck (as you can see on previous photos) which match bigger exit hole from above shot. As we find that DBK series bikes had one shell above upper part of gas tank, it seems most likely that during the war service of this light motorcycle, it was shot from some round/rounds and disabled. Due to very poor quality of repair and repairing material (aluminum bottle neck) we concluded that it was probably captured from German forces by partisans near the end of the WWII and used for some time after this quick repair (probably with out gas tank metal cover, because we can see that the tank suffered big blow near the gas cap and the way of twisting tell the story in favor of this theory.
On frame itself we find that the horn which I bought with bike was attached on wrong spot and that it is made in 1970’s by Italian manufacture for use in Fiat cars. We also find that a metal arch on right rear side with foot stand was additionally added, probably for riding a child in passenger seat (the high point of foot stand only can be used by small person – most likely child).
We also find lot of unknown hand made holes which were made during the time, one bigger hole in left front part of frame and one 10 cm crack behind driving seat and little twist on end of frame which where maybe originated by same force of impact as it was a case with original gas tank upper deformation. This is just assumption and most likely scenario of event.
So my mechanic Dejan had quite a lot of welding job, as you can see on photos.
So by now we concluded that my Wehrmacht DBK250 had very heavy duty times during its war time career and history of light and not very professional maintenance and at least one crash.
As the original gas tank was in bad condition, we decided to try to find a better one for replacement, and preserved original as a testimony of its career. With a lot of luck we found one zincked DBK gas tank in excellent condition with civil black paint traces on it which will serve for safe riding of my Zundapp.
As I go with my project I find one back seat in poor condition but with good repairs it will match its original function back.
May 15, 2010
Yes, so I will send you some photos in Monday hopefully. I didn’t find much, just a few parts, so it is slowing me down. I manage to find only tool can, and Dejan started to bring in life older engine, using parts from younger one. I also find two Wehrmacht fuel jerry cans, one dated 1940. and second 1943. I am hoping to find some needed parts soon to continue restoration. Keep in touch and expect some photos of engine and cans from Monday.
May 19, 2010
Here are some new photos, two from tool box that I manage to find and one from repainted cylinder on engine. As I speak about engine, we are now in phase of reparation of two old coupling lamelas (which we can not find as new parts) and moving gear box from DBT engine to DBK. At the beginning of this project I was very optimistic, but now I see how is real difficult to find missing parts as well as back wheel. Because of all this, we can’t steel paint my bike. I will send you new photos and keep you inform about every progress which will be made. Also I will go in one museum to see restored KS750 and I will send you a photos of it as well.
May 28, 2010
As we all hope some new parts are keep showing. Yesterday I manage to find one more authentic DBK part from one black bike. Interestingly, paint isn’t the same as on black gas tank, which means that is a part from one more DBK (third for now, including my). Part which I find is gas tank cover and I am sending you some photos in attachment.
November 22, 2010
After some time I manage to find some pieces which were missing. Now I have not two, but four whiles and one more fork. Also all small parts and nuts are zincked and painting is started. My first idea was to paint it in WH gray color, but all my friends and also my mechanic Dejan like it in traditional civilian black with chrome and zinc parts. So I started painting…