Despite remaining neutral during World War II, Switzerland maintained an army throughout the war years. After the armistice, the country felt it was the time to update the armed forces’ motorcycle fleet and turned to Werke-Condor-AG. Heavily influenced by the opposed-twins built by BMW and Zundapp, Condor developed the A-580-1 with a low-compression boxer engine for police and military servicemen.
Produced from 1947 to 1957, the 577cc motorbike was solidly-built and lauded for its reliability, but the weight and expense made private ownership rare. Sixty-seven years later, ownership of this 1953 A-580-1 is much more affordable, and yet, the motor still turns over on the first kick. At a current bid of $750 and six days left on the Bring A Trailer auction, you don’t have to be a collector to get your hands on this piece of motorcycling history.
Following a refurbishing in Switzerland, the motorcycle was shipped to Canada in 2008. In 2012, Anderwerks BMW of Calgary replaced a broken valve lifter, overhauled the carburetor, cleaned the distributor, and serviced the ignition. The A-580-1 also received a new battery in 2018. The current seller purchased the bike in January 2020 and only added 100 km (62 miles) to the 58,193 km (36,159 miles) odometer in that time. Fluids have been changed in preparation for the sale but two cooling fins are missing and the kickstarter is missing its rubber covering.
Gallery: 1953 Condor A-580-1
A unique feature of the Condor is the eight-speed gearbox with a lever separating the 4 gears for on-road riding from those meant for off-road use. Drum brakes and plunger-style rear suspension helps capture the post-war era. Not nearly as charming, corrosion can be seen on the front fender, engine guard, and numerous bolts, but a little patina only adds character (right?).
The Denfeld rider seat and Pagusa passenger seat emphasize individual comfort while the saddlebags, center stand, and tow rope highlight the practicality of the model. If that wasn’t enough utility for you, two tool rolls, flat tire kit, spare bulbs, manual, and parts catalog are included in the sale. For those historians out there, the A-580-1's German export document and Swiss registration are also available. If you’re looking for an immaculately-kept vintage motorcycle, don’t stay neutral for long, the Condor will soar in less than one week.