No one at your next meet will probably have one of these.
When you see the name KTM in 2021, chances are excellent that you think of the 1290 Super Duke R or the 890 Adventure. Maybe you like to spend all your time in the dirt, and the 450 SX-F is more your speed. Whatever the case, one thing you probably don’t immediately associate with KTM is scooters—and yet, in the 1950s, that’s exactly what KTM made.
In 1955, KTM was already producing its R 100, Tourist and Grand Tourist motorcycles, but the everyday Austrian public was showing great interest in scooters. As personal transportation in those post-war years, the practicality of a good little scoot just couldn’t be beat. Thus, KTM unveiled its first scooter in 1955, a little machine called the Mirabell. It’s named after the Mirabell Palace in Salzburg, and it does have a sort of regal bearing, don’t you think?
Anyway, the first-generation Mirabell was powered by a six-horsepower, Rotax-manufactured 125cc single-cylinder engine that was technically air-cooled. However, the air cooling it had to come from a fan that was included in the design, underneath all that solid, swoopy steel bodywork. The Mirabell also utilized what KTM called a “Dynastarter,” which was both starter motor and alternator in one.
When it was introduced in 1955, the Mirabell had a three-speed, foot shift transmission. Suspension was provided by a swingarm up front and a motor unit swingarm in back. It packed an eight-liter fuel tank, the filler nozzle for which came up through the headlamp housing so you wouldn’t have to lift the saddle to get to it. Was that relocation a total stroke of genius, or incredibly dumb? You decide.
In any case, KTM went on to make a moped shortly afterward, which they called Mecky. That’s interesting because it’s the first-ever KTM vehicle featuring an engine actually made in-house, instead of using Sachs engines that were manufactured under license by Rotax. The Mecky featured cast-aluminum alloy wheels, as well as a rubber torsion suspension design.
KTM took what it learned from crafting the Mecky into account when it updated the Mirabell. That’s why, in some of the photos of this 1956 KTM Mirabell 125 that’s currently for sale on eBay, you can see adjuster tools for that rubber torsion suspension. It also features those alloy wheels, which were a brand-new development for KTM at the time, as well as a four-speed transmission.
Gallery: 1956 KTM Mirabell 125
It’s unclear how many KTM Mirabells still exist in the world in 2021, particularly outside of places like the KTM Motohall Museum. When I first spotted this one, my jaw practically hit the floor, because I didn’t think we’d ever even gotten KTM’s scooters in the U.S. Granted, it’s from 1956, and determined collectors will find any way they can to get the vehicles they love into their possession. Geography is just another hurdle to be overcome, if you really want it.
In any case, the eBay seller says they’re selling it because they have too many projects and not enough time. They also say it’s complete, but not running, although the engine turns. It’s available with a bill of sale, from a seller in Alhambra, California. It comes with all the extra parts seen in the photos, and the seller is happy to show it in person to any interested buyers in the local area.
This eBay auction ends on July 19, 2021, with a Buy It Now price of $3,995. The seller will also consider offers. If you want a super-rare conversation-starting piece of KTM history, this should definitely pique your interest. Hit up the eBay link in our Sources if you need it.