The History Behind Brad Pitt’s Ultra-Rare Nazi Motorcycle That Cost Almost $400K

It’s not unusual for top Hollywood actors to become so fascinated with the period surrounding their characters that they start to collect related memorabilia. Brad Pitt has starred in two recent films about World War II, and the latest addition to his collection is a very rare motorcycle. With an estimated net worth of $300 million, the Oscar-winning actor can buy whatever he wishes. So, what did he add to his collection? Why did he start collecting such items? We have all the details on this rare and expensive Nazi-era motorcycle purchase.

A rare Nazi motorcycle bought by Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt riding his custom motorcycle in Los Feliz
Brad Pitt riding his custom motorcycle | Philip Ramey/Corbis via Getty Images

Brad Pitt has long been a fan of motorcycles. After starring as Lt. Aldo Racine in Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 hit film Inglourious Basterds, Pitt became a collector of WWII and Nazi memorabilia. One of the latest additions to his spectacular collection of valuable items is a rare relic from Nazi Germany.

Pitt bought the rare Nazi sidecar motorcycle for a whopping $385k. The German cycle with three wheels was reportedly used in Greece by Nazi forces for reconnaissance missions. It carried soldiers and their gear over the mountains of Crete, the largest Greek island. When the Nazis left the country in 1945, the bike was put up for auction. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, there are only an estimated 500 of that particular model in existence.

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, a man identified as Yannis explained that he sold the rare motorcycle to the popular actor. The man said he’d only replaced a small bit of metal on the bike, and it had cost him the equivalent of $2,300. If the parts are original, Yannis told them, they are costly.

Motorcycles from Nazi-era Germany

Why did a Nazi sidecar motorcycle cost almost $400k? Furthermore, what is the bike? The team at Hot Cars shed some light on this rare motorcycle. According to Hot Cars, Pitt’s bike is one of two famous Nazi sidecar motorcycles. 

The first is the BMW R75 which was created specifically for the German military. Produced between 1940 and 1944, the motorcycle was outfitted with a 750cc boxer engine which was small but potent. The versatile motorcycle could move soldiers and their gear with relative ease, and 16,000 models were produced.

The other motorcycle it could be is a Zündapp KS750. Like the R75, the KS750’s manufacturer was ordered by the German army chief in 1937 to produce motorcycles for military use. Hot Cars explains that after several test rides, the KS750 was considered the superior bike. 

With the war going on at the time, parts had to be interchangeable between both motorcycles. The motorcycles can move 1,100 pounds, reach a speed of 60 mph, and hold enough fuel for 220 miles. The engines were designed to use even the cheapest fuel. Both motorcycles also had a reverse gear that made navigation easier, along with gears for different terrains. 

While Pitt played good guys in the two films, it’s apparent he thinks the enemy motorcycles are way cooler.

What caused Brad Pitt’s obsession?

In Inglourious Basterds, Pitt played a popular American lieutenant who enjoys creatively killing Nazis, often in horrifying ways. Later, he played an American staff sergeant in 2014’s The Fury from director David Ayer also set during World War II. Both films used authentic uniforms, vehicles, and weaponry.  Among those genuine vehicles in the Ayer film was reportedly the last functional Nazi Tiger tank that actually saw battle in the war. Since his work on the films, Pitt is obsessed with relics from the period and has begun to collect them as a hobby.

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