MG34 And The Motorcycle It Rode On: Zündapp KS 750

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My friend Tom invited me over to his friend Dave’s house to show me Dave’s restored 1942 Zündapp KS 750. Dave restores motorcycles and exotic cars for a living and as a hobby. According to Dave, he acquired this back in the 80’s when he was restoring surplus army vehicles for a client. Back then the army vehicles were purchased in bulk lots and were imported. In one of the shipments this motorcycle was included. It came from Poland and was in disrepair. He could tell that the Polish had tried to salvage it. There were bullet holes in the frame, engine, and gas tank possibly from machine gun fire due to the pattern and number of holes. Dave commented that he could tell someone welded up the engine and machined it to get it to work at one point in time. Well the client he was working for did not have any interest in motorcycles and years went by with this taking up space in his workshop. So he gave the client an ultimatum, take it out and pay him for the time and work he did do or leave it. So the client left it to Dave. Thanks to the internet and 30 years later the Zündapp KS 750 has been restored. Dave told me he used this book by Hans-Peter Hommes as a bible for his restoration.

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The Zündapp KS 750 was a motorcycle for a machine gun crew of three. You can see a small seat with round handle bar directly behind where the driver would sit. The side car has a driven wheel with a locking differential. Remember the motorcycle chase scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?  Where Harrison Ford and Sean Connery are fleeing from the Nazis? They used a similar motorcycle in that movie.

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The only bullet marks left on the bike. Dave welded them but them them as you see to add a little flavor to the bike.

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Tire pressure is marked in atmospheres.

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Dave told us he put the Zündapp KS 750 in an antique bike show and he won 99.75 out of 100. They dinged him for the welded bullet holes. The judges wanted to give it a perfect 100 and even though they took 1/4 of a point for the bullet holes they told him “leave them”. They liked the bullet holes.

To make the Zündapp KS 750 more authentic he purchased an inert MG34.

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One of my local machine gun friends has a working MG34. I will need to get these two guys together and make a video of the bike running and the machine gun working.

Dave’s friend Dan Dishart is an automotive photographer and he took some fantastic photos of the bike last winter. You can check out his other work on his website. danDishart-bc-ad

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Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • Very neat and a great accessory for a machine gun. I have a friend with an original Spandau aircraft gun from WW1 and I have been trying to get him to buy a triplane for it to mount on, so far no go.

    • LG

      I have tried it. The FAA will not allow one to mount a working( other than gas pop-pop type) machine gun, aircraft cannon, or releasable bomb from a civilian registered aircraft.

      • There was a video of a P-51D on a stand meant to check and calibrate the M2 machine guns. They had the guns mounted and a guy in the cockpit firing them. The video appeared to be fairly recent.

        Here it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niJ82YCiuYU

        • Nicholas C

          But that was on the ground. I don’t think they would let it take off.

          • I know but I was under the impression you couldn’t even mount them in a working aircraft.

          • LG

            The certificate of airworthiness would no longer be valid without a special FAA waiver. The mounts can be included in the general airworthiness certificate. The guns can be mounted on the ground and fired on the ground. To take them mounted on the aircraft to fire would require special FAA permission. Testing weapons and mounts for the military would have such exceptions.

        • Evan

          Cool video. Doesn’t look like they have the guns zeroed at all though.

          • No they are shooting pretty high——

          • Evan

            Still, that guy in the cockpit must be having a blast.

          • Old Vet

            I think the zero was about 800 yards or there about, so I don’t think they had enough room at that site. However I could be mistaken on the zero, it has been a long time since I read that.

        • LG

          You may get a temporary flight permit for a movie etc. But an unlimited certificate of airworthiness will not be issued.

        • Norm

          The owner just wanted to see what it was like. He got permission to ground fire only.

          • LG

            No permission is need for ground firing. An air worthiness certificate is not needed for a ground machine. As long as after the fun the weapons are removed and the aircraft is placed back into the condition specified within it’s current airworthiness certificate everything is fine with the FAA. This chap could taxi around his own property, if suitably large, and fire away at will. As long as he does not leave the ground, he can hunt bunny rabbits in this configuration, as far as the FAA is concerned.

      • Evan

        What a shame. It’s always been my dream (limited only by the outrageous costs involved and the fact that I don’t know how to fly a plane) to get an original WWII warbird and mount live machine guns in it.

        • LG

          SNJ’s and T-28s are not as expensive as the real WW2 heavy iron. When in service many had aircraft armament mounted for gunnery practice, T28, and for the rear gunners practice, SNJ. The Philippine government had some modified Boeing type 75 (Stearman A75s) modified with browning machine guns under the lower wings, outboard of the propellor and in the rear seat at the time of the Japanese invasion. These saw actual wartime use when the Japanese first invaded the Philippines.

          • He shot the pilot who crashed the plane but he didn’t actually shoot the plane down.

          • Norm

            Pretty much the same thing. The plane is nothing without the pilot

          • LG

            1) Japanese fighter shoots down AAC plane.
            2) US airman bails out and is parachuting down.
            3) Said Japanese fighter tries to machine gun the parachuting US airman at altitude
            4) US airman while parachuting to terra firma pulls out his 1911A1, shoots and kills the Japanese pilot – I believe through an open cockpit of the Japanese aircraft.
            5) The dead Japanese pilot obviously not being able to control his aircraft crashes into the jungle with loss of Japanese fighter pilot and Japanese fighter aircraft.
            6) US airman lives for another day!
            No, the US airman was shot down by a Japanese fighter and riding down in the silk. The Japanese fighter pilot who had shot up the US aircraft was trying to shoot the US airman who was parachuting to terra firma and safety. The Japanese pilot got too close while trying to finish him off. The US airman shot and killed the Japanese aviator resulting in the said aviator loosing control and crashing with loss of the Japanese plane and pilot, establishing a victory. The US airman while in his parachute used his issue 1911A1 to shoot and killed the Japanese aviator. Since all were still in the air, The U.S. Air Force listed it as an air to air victory after confirmation. Japanese fighter with machine guns vs. parachuting US airman with 1911A1 resulting in one dead Japanese pilot, one downed Japanese fighter. This has been confirmed and was written up in the Air Force journal, Air Power, I believe, years ago. NEVER GIVE UP!

          • Evan

            I read about that. Wasn’t that story in American Rifleman last year?

          • HSR47

            So in that case, where would he paint the flag signifying the kill? On his 1911?

          • CountryBoy

            On his shorts, I’d say…

          • Evan

            Yeah, my dream doesn’t involve T-28s though. It’s more along the lines of a Corsair, or maybe a Spitfire Mk.I

      • How does Dillon do it with his mini guns on his choppers? I remember some where, him saying that he had plans to equip one of his jets with live guns but maybe that fell through. From my understanding, the FAA has fought it due to the machine gun not being certified modification for most planes but where as most warbirds it is mute since they were designed as such. I know nothing about FAA works so I probably am wrong.

        • Anonymoose

          Dillon makes miniguns, so he most likely has legal permission to test them on various platforms such as moving vehicles.

        • LG

          Most war birds have a LIMITED airworthiness certificate only valid under specific flight conditions. Warbirds originally did not have FAA airworthy certificates when in the inventory. An limited airworthiness certificate must be applied for when it enters civilian service. Some, rarely, get general airworthiness certificates after modifications such as when A-26s were converted into fast business transports in the 1960s. The Boeing type A75N1 (Stearman trainer) can get a general or limited airworthiness certificate after modification for general or agricultural (spraying) use. If you think that the BATF&E is bad. They make the FAA look like angels. With the FAA one has to work through regional field offices. Some of these, outside of where a lot of aircraft modifications are routinely performed, are beyond description.

  • TVOrZ6dw

    Great piece of history given back to the world. Thanks for the story.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    3 guys on that thing? What a terrible idea – which the bullet holes confirm.

  • THE_manBEar

    Wow that’s incredible piece of history – Now just need to train the pup how to shoot!

  • politicsbyothermeans

    Two of my favorite things: motorcycles and guns.

  • aweds1

    That is awesome. Beautiful restoration!

  • Evan

    I guess the motorcycle is kinda cool for the historical aspect, but the inert MG kinda ruins it for me. I’m sure there’s a couple transferable MG34s out there.

    • Anonymoose

      Might be able to get a semi-auto Serbian MG42 for cheaper. I believe Century was importing parts kits a few years ago.

      • Evan

        But where’s the fun in that? If this guy restores old military vehicles, which I imagine is a quite lucrative trade, he can probably afford a real MG34

        • Anonymoose

          Eh, the prices are actually pretty comparable for a fully-restored KS750 and a registered MG34.

          • Bjørn Vermo

            I really like the MG34, I had one chambered for 30-06 under my bed in my student days (courtesy of the Home Guard). Too bad that crazy US law forces the price into the stratosphere, it is such a beautiful piece of machinery.

      • Max Blancke

        The MG42 can be mounted to a bike, but would be a rarity. The tactics that employed the motorcycle mg crews were pretty much obsolete by the time of the wide scale introduction of the MG42.

    • Richard

      There is an ar15 upper on gunbroker for $4,295, as well as a semi auto mg34 for $4,200.

      • Evan

        $4295 seems excessive for an AR upper.

        • Richard

          I’ve seen higher priced uppers, transferable mg34s are going to cost a lot more than this upper with a full auto lower

    • Max Blancke

      Some of us have bikes as accessories for working guns. The problem is that if you want to drive around with the gun in the storage bracket, or on the mount for car shows or whatever, it is advisable to have a dummy gun, or transfer the parts to a dummy receiver.

  • Matt

    Zündapp after the war made 2 strokes bikes until it went bankrupt in 1984.
    The whole factory was sold to china (they even took clocks from the wall) and restart production there in Tiannjin.
    They do manufacture 4 strokes honda engines now….Xunda Motor=Zündapp

  • Great trigger discipline is one of the benefits of dogs not having prehensile paws.

  • Hudson

    What is the symbol on the front of the sidecar, the circle x with the T sticking out.

    • Dual sport

      I believ that denotes the regiment or brigade. The key symbol on armor is another one that comes to mind.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    His Polish tour was met with little resistance.

  • Tim

    *That* is the coolest thing in the world.

  • Evan

    If that’s New Zealand, they probably aren’t actual live machine guns. They’re likely stage guns that can fire blanks but not live ammo. I don’t believe that machine guns are legal in New Zealand under any circumstances.

    • Scott Connors

      I have a FB friend with an extensive collection of MG who lives in NZ. He says that they’re legal to own with the proper paperwork, but you’re not allowed to fire them. Ever. 🙁

      • Evan

        That’s the most ridiculous law I’ve ever heard. So it’s legal to own working machine guns, but it is illegal under any circumstances to fire them? I don’t even see the point in having this at all. Absurd.

        • Longhaired Redneck

          In Washington state until about 7 or 8 years ago, suppressors were legal to own (with a tax stamp of course) but using them on a firearm was prohibited. This included use by law enforcement personnel. Law enforcement authorities statewide finally convinced the state legislature and governor (a democ-rat) that it was in the best interest of all concerned to eliminate that little legal contradiction and allow the actual use of legally possessed silencers. Government, go figure…

          • Evan

            That’s absolutely nuts. But I lived in Seattle for a year, and understand that not much in Washington makes any sense. I went back there for a funeral about five years ago, and cigarettes were cheaper than in New York, where I was living at the time (I know, people in glass houses and all that), and they sold beers from New Belgium, which they didn’t on the east coast then, but yeah, I’m never going back there. Or anywhere else on the west coast for that matter.

        • billyoblivion

          It’s called “Collecting”.

          My father did it. Had dozens of guns that, at least in the 27 years before he died, he never fired. There were one or two we took out on a couple occasions, but most of them were in a glass fronted gun case displayed in the family room.

          And no, I don’t *understand* it, but it’s some people’s thang.

          • Evan

            I don’t see why anyone would collect anything that has a practical use, and then never use them. Guns aren’t stamps or coins or various other junk that people collect that can’t be used for anything. The whole reason I (and presumably everyone else here) likes guns is because we like shooting them. I could never own a gun and not shoot it.

          • billyoblivion

            What, other than price, is the difference between a stamp that won’t mail an envelope, a statue that will only collect pidgeon poop, and a machine gun that the government wont let you shoot?

            I mean, other than come the Zombie Apocalypse…

          • Evan

            I would say it’s quite a big difference actually. If you’re collecting stamps, you’re having them to have them, not to send letters. It’s no different from having a painting. It’s a pretty picture that you can look at. A statue is quite similar. A gun that is perfectly functional but that you aren’t allowed to use because arbitrary reasons isn’t just non-functional artwork. If I was a stamp collector, which I’m not, I can’t imagine I would have any urge to put that upside down plane stamp on the next envelope I send out. As a firearms enthusiast, having a fully operational MG34 just sitting there unfired on the mantlepiece would be torture.

  • SlowJoeCrow

    That MG34 may have some history. The dot manufacturer code is Waffenfabrik Brunn (CZ Brno) and it has what look like Hebrew characters under the 1941 date code which would indicate it was one the Czechs sold to Israel in 1948.

  • Iggy

    Is there any stuff on the tactical use of the motorcycle machine gun crews in WWII? I’ve seen the odd pictures of them on various fronts, but I think the only movie I’ve seen the set up used is Great Escape and that particular incident never happened (the massacre of escapees did, but that was in ones and two’s not all of them at once), so I don’t know if that’s an accurate depiction.

  • gunsandrockets

    The past lives again.

  • gusto

    You can still buy brand spanking new URAL motorcycles with sidecars that have the wheel attached to the backwheel of the motorcycle. very nifty bike that gets you places and you can drive it on a regular driving license no pesky MC-license

    it is a ww2 BMW design but still produced with practically the same blueprints that the societs took from germany after the war. still got the bracket for the machinegun and everything

  • Dual sport

    Were the aged and still in North Africa in ’42? I think they were. While no expert I believe the year and extra air filter mounted on the gas tank means the color would be inaccurate, more likely the matte sand.

    A great looking bike, nonetheless!

    I wish the holes had been left for historical reasons but it happens.

  • Iblis

    I want one!!

  • C.D. Austin Tx.

    Can you imagine having to fight, drive & ride & that beast all the way to the Gates of Moscow those men must have had steel balls and belly a full Snaps & sauerkraut. And then get trapped and have to fight

  • HSR47

    Additionally, the basic operational concept appears to be able to quickly move MG crews where they were most needed, and for them to be able to get back to the rear quickly in order to reequip and resupply.

  • CountryBoy

    The sound of the planes alone is worth the ticket price!