BMW celebrated its 100th anniversary in a big way at this year’s Pebble Beach happenings, culminating in a tour of the German automaker’s century-long history at the vaunted Concours d’Elegance. Sure, there were rows upon rows of Bavaria’s finest on display, but our hearts had a special place for the packed field of BMW Motorrad’s two-wheeled wonders. There was an extremely impressive field of bikes, but it was Robb Talbott’s 1925 BMW R37 that took home the class-winning ribbon.
The R37 is an exceedingly rare bike, with just over 150 produced during the two-year production run. This is one of BMW’s first endeavors into motorcycle racing, the R37 being a (contemporarily) habanero-hot variant of the road-bound R32.
To create the R37, BMW slashed all road equipment from the frame, fitting just a seat, drivetrain, and headlight. The original engine was replaced with a 494cc two-cylinder engine with overhead valves and an aluminum cylinder head. This pumped out nearly double the horsepower of the R32 and allowed the R37 to dominate in competition. By the time dust settled and the R37’s day in the sun was over, it claimed wins at 91 European races in 1925, 106 in 1926, and 171 in 1927.
Robb Talbott, the man who carries the name of the top-shelf clothier Robert Talbott, claimed the class win for BMW motorcycles with his fantastic 1925 example. This is the only R37s remaining in period race trim, and was a shoo-in for the prestigious award, beating out a similar 1923 R32 and a 1954 BMW Rennsport.