Elegance out of the Bloc – the two-stroke boxer that Zschopau built

Pete Kelly travels to Wales to view Andrew Powell’s outstanding MZ collection.

It was a simple new year’s greeting, emailed from Welsh OBM reader Andrew Powell and accompanied by a colour image of his gorgeous 1957 IFA (MZ) BK 350cc shaft-drive, boxer twin two-stroke, that alerted me to his superb collection of MZ motorcycles.

The elegant lines and sound engineering of Andrew Powell’s DKW-conceived IFA/MZ BK350 made the shaft-drive, two-stroke flat twin really stand out from the crowd.

Despite the dark mornings and unpredictable early January weather, I simply had to go over and see the BK 350, a model produced from 1953-59, up close, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed!

Although the design of the 17bhp machine had been proposed by DKW during the war, it was not taken up because of the far superior BMW and Zundapp four-stroke flat twins that were already being produced in huge numbers for the Third Reich.

When the Russians took over that part of Germany in 1945, however, the smooth and simple two-stroke boxer was taken up with relish, and although it remained unaffordable to many, around 17,000 BK 350s left the factory during the seven-year production run, the MZ badge replacing that of IFA from 1957 onwards.

The BK had a four-speed gearbox as standard, with a lower-ratio version available for sidecar work, and incidentally those DKW roots lived on in the green tank badge colour of both IFA and MZ.

Read more in February’s issue of OBM – out now!

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