Take a 2000cc Volkswagen horizontally opposed four-cylinder motor, drop it into a modified 1960s BMW motorcycle chassis, and you have a fascinating custom build. Despite its listing, the 1953 Webley-Vickers VW2000 motorcycle was built in the 1970s by Doug Whitson, and there’s an interesting story behind it all.
Rodger Willis developed the tooling and parts for this VW/BMW merge, and sold it all to Whitson. Running with the concepts, Whitson created Webley-Vickers to sell conversion kits and completed motorcycles.
Not content to merely replicate the work of Willis, Whitson used CAD and CAM technologies to create a new aluminum bellhousing that improved the mating to the BMW transmission. As time marched on, development continued. Whitson came up with a new electric starter, oil-filled intake manifold, clutch arm, generator mount, and rear exhaust manifolds.
This example of the Webley-Vickers VW2000 was a test-bed bike personally owned by Whitson and is equipped with dual S&S carburetors, custom gearbox ratios, and many other hand-built pieces. A classic bagger design, this VW2000 has hard saddlebags, mini-apes, a sprung seat, and twin disc brakes in the front. As a custom build, Whitson picked his birth year, 1953, as the year for this one-of-a-kind motorcycle.
The current owner is John Landstrom of Blue Moon Cycle—a Ural and Zero dealer in Norcross, Georgia, that also deals in classic motorcycles and vintage BMW motorcycle parts. Landstrom acquired this motorcycle directly from Whitson five years ago with a California title.
The hammer goes down on the 1953 Webley-Vickers VW2000 at the Mecum Auctions 32nd Annual Vintage Antique Motorcycle Auction. The Las Vegas 2023 edition runs January 24 through 28 at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa on Las Vegas Boulevard, south of Harry Reid International Airport. There will be over 2000 motorcycles up for auction over the five-day run, which includes a Road Art auction.
1953 Webley-Vickers VW2000 Photo Gallery
Photography courtesy of Mecum Auctions