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Film Critic and Essayist Hans Schifferle Put Together a Tasteful Rare Motorcycle Stable

By October 10, 2021General Posts

by Todd Halterman from https://www.autoevolution.com

Hans Schifferle, the film critic and essayist, died at the age of 63 in April of this year, and during the 1980’s he cut an imposing figure. Schifferle walked the streets clad in leather and often arrived on one of his motorcycles.

Hans Schifferle moved through the world in an unpretentious way and loved films and actors like Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Schifferle spent his days writing, talking smack in the foyer of the Munich Film Museum, or tipping a drink on the stairs of the workshop cinema.

Schifferle, born in 1957 in Munich, spent a good stretch of his career writing the Süddeutsche Zeitung and for fan and trade magazines like Steadycam. He also penned innumerable articles for books and catalogs and, like so many cinéphiles of his generation, he found inspiration from the writings of Frieda Grafe.

As a ticket-taker at the Munich Film Museum, Schifferle tore off the stubs before he attended screenings himself. And if you had the pleasure of drinking a dark beer with him and listening as he raved about films, you began to understand cinema as a school of life.

He was a child of privilege and lived in an apartment which also served as a salon of sorts. His means also allowed him to collect some of the most interesting and fantastic motorcycles in history. And his obsession with motorcycles allowed him to put together a superb collection.

One of those bikes was a Ducati 750SS, a version of the bike Paul Smart rode to his famous victory at Imola in 1972. That machine put the esthetically beautiful and speedy Ducati v-twin on the map. During that race, Smart defeated a long list of the hottest machines of the day, from the Triumph Tridents to the works 750 MV Agusta of Giacomo Agostini.

The 750SS received near universal praise from the motorcycling press. Cycle magazine said the “bike that stands at the farthest reaches of the sporting world – the definitive factory-built café racer.” Today, the 750SS is regarded as a true landmark model and is one of the most sought-after of all Ducatis.

Hans Schifferle bought this Ducati 750SS in June 2002 from the Turin-based collector, Genni Carelli. It is believed that Mario Sassi had restored the machine.

His collection also included a 1941 Indian 1,279cc Four though it’s said Schifferle never had the chance to ride it.

His MV Agusta 750 GT, yet another ultra-rare machine, was distinguished by its white and bronze color scheme and, just 50 were sold as a result of an astronomically high initial price tag. Schifferle’s bike of one of the most sought-after MV roadsters, and his original example remains one of the very few which remain unmodified.

The critic also owned an Egli-Vincent was distinguished by Egli’s trademark large tube spine type frame.

His 1955 Vincent 998CC Black Knight is a matching-numbers exemple, and is one of 200 enclosed series-D twin models built by Vincent. Schifferle’s model is thought to be one of the earliest Egli frames manufactured for the Slater Brothers. His friend and mechanic Helmut Lichtenberg completely rebuilt it, and it features a ‘fishtail’ silencer, a Campagnolo front disc brake; alloy wheels; and a Smiths 150mph speedometer.

And Schifferle owned yet another American classic, a 1956 Harley Davidson KH, which represents Harley Davidson’s last ‘flat-head model. The 55ci KH featured an upgraded engine and modified frame (for better handling) compared with the model K roadster on which it was based.

Schifferle and his wife, Gudrun, traveled extensively around Europe in search of components to restore and maintain his stable of machines. Along with his friend and former Grand Prix racer Lichtenberg, Schifferle enjoyed visiting the leading auto events at Imola, Mannheim, Stuttgart, Nuremberg, and various other events to locate rare parts for his restorations.