1971 Münch Mammut
Year of manufacture1971
1971 Münch 1,177cc TTS 'Mammoth'
Registration no. VOD 150J
Frame no. 147
Engine no. 147
Sold new in Germany
Only 30,002 kilometres recorded
Ultra-rare limited edition superbike
In 1965 Freidl Münch, formerly with the Horex racing department, was approached by wealthy French ex-sidecar racer Jean Murit with a simple brief: build a no-expense-spared 'superbike', though the latter term had yet to be coined. Münch found his ideal engine in the form of the air-cooled overhead-camshaft four powering the recently introduced NSU Prinz car. For Murit's machine he used the 1,000cc TT sports version of this engine which, tuned for 60bhp, proved capable of propelling the bulky Mammoth to a top speed of 120mph. Nothing too remarkable there you might think, but while several contemporary production motorcycles could achieve a similar maximum, it was the Mammoth's ability to accelerate powerfully from 20mph in top gear and cruise all day at 110mph that set it apart from the herd.
The engine was housed in a cradle frame inspired by the Manx Norton, and to keep the weight down Münch made extensive use of Elektron magnesium alloy, which was used for the gearbox shell, rear chain case, fork sliders and brakes. The result was a commendably low dry weight for the prototype of 433lbs, though production versions would weigh considerably more. Elephant Rally founder and Das Motorrad journalist Ernst Leverkus rode the bike in 1966 and the resulting worldwide publicity provoked a rush of orders. The production Mammoth (the name would later be dropped for copyright reasons) first appeared at the Cologne Show in September 1966, by which time the capacity had risen to 1,085cc, power to 70bhp and the top speed close on 140mph. Hand built to individual customer order, the Mammoth eventually used the 1,177cc version of the NSU four with power outputs of up to 104bhp.
This particular Mammoth was sold new in Germany and had one further owner in that country before being sold to Japan. Its Japanese owner then married an American woman and relocated to Dallas, Texas. After their divorce, the Munch was advertised in Old Bike Mart and purchased by the current vendor, fulfilling a childhood dream. A bigger battery was fitted, necessitating extensions to the side panels, but the Munch has been used only sparingly (the current odometer reading is 30,002 - approximately 18,600 miles). It has also been featured in three magazines: The Classic Motor Cycle (February 2004), MCN (February 2012) and earlier this year in Classic Motorcycle Mechanics. The machine is offered with its old German registration papers and a V5C document. It should be noted that there is a crack in the front brake drum (between the spoke holes), which will need to be repaired before the machine is ridden or submitted for any roadworthiness test.