By Tom White
The Puch company was founded originally as a bicycle manufacturer by Austrian Johann Puch in 1903. By 1952 the company was building motor scooters, and in 1957 they started selling Puchs in the USA under the Allstate and Sears names. In the early 1970s, Californian Ted Lapadakis became the importer of the all-new Puch 125/175cc machines that were purpose-built for motocross and offroad.
In a huge leap, Puch hired Belgium motocross rider Harry Everts to race the 1974 250 World Championship on a new machine. Everts finished third in Puch’s first year, and the factory responded with a much improved machine for 1975. Everts (father of World Champion Stefan Everts) rewarded Puch with its first World Championship in motocross.
It was no small feat for a new company to win the World Championship in its second year of competition. Everts’ 1975 Puch was a spectacular machine. The 70mm x 64mm engine was cutting edge, with its magnesium cases and twin, 32mm Bing carbs (one a traditional piston port and the second carb feeding a rotary valve in the cases). Not only was the engine magnesium, but so were the hubs and Marzocchi forks.
For 1976, Puch built 97 exact replicas of Everts’ twin-carb Puch. Two machines were sent to American importer Ted Lapadakis for evaluation. “I was excited when I received those machines,” says Ted. “The power hit so hard that many riders found the machine almost unridable, but the expert riders loved them. I placed my order with Puch and got a message that they were no longer in the motocross business. I should have never returned the test bikes.”
PUCH MC250 TWIN CARB
WHAT THEY COST
A price was never established in America, as the MC250s were never formally imported from Austria. The rumored price was around $3000, which was about double that of a Japanese machine. Our featured MC250 was purchased by the Early Years of Motocross Museum from Dutch restorer Fran Munsters. This one is in perfect condition and valued at $30,000.
There have been two Puch motocross bikes since 1976: the MC250 twin carb and the MC400. The 400cc production run was only eight bikes, and they had a single Bing carb. The MC400 was raced by Herbert Schmitz and was the last bike that Joel Robert raced.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The Puch twin carb is very easy to identify: Two carbs, Marzocchi suspension, generous use of magnesium and Metzeler tires. If it only has one carb and a big barrel, buy it?it’s the very rare 400 model.
Contact Frans Munsters at email@example.com.
For more info on classic bikes go to www.earlyyearsofmx.com