This 1960 BMW R60 Is One Hollywood Stuntman’s Family Heirloom
You’d be hard-pressed to find a car guy who isn’t a fan of classic BMW motorcycles. They’re iconic in form, function, and everywhere in between. My pal Tom McComas is a Hollywood stuntman who’s been riding professionally most of his life, but it’s his Dad’s 1960 R60 that has the coolest story of all. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead as he opens more and more of his hangar filled with toys to us.
Ted Gushue: Tell me the story of your father’s R60
Tom McComas: My dad was in the Marine Corps. His best friend was in the Marine Corps. Every single chance he got, that buddy of his would talk my Dad’s ear off about his BMW Motorcycle. Very passionate guy, couldn’t say enough about the bike. So he would just go out on weekends and go ride this BMW motorcycle and my Dad kind of caught the bug, if you will, for the BMW motorcycle. As soon as he got out of the Marine Corps the first thing he did in 1960 was buy a 1960 R60 motorcycle…that he’s owned for the last 55 years.
It was my baptism into the sport of motorcycling. It was the first bike I ever rode on at 2, the first bike I taught myself how to ride on, and it was the bike I got into my first police chase with. It wasn’t much of a chase. I saw the officer do a u-turn after I passed him after he saw I didn’t have a headlight on, or maybe I looked all of the 13 years of age I was at the time. Regardless, I took a couple quick turns, parked the bike in a driveway, hopped a few fences, and voila, no more cop. I raced back to my father’s office in time to watch him get the call from the police that his bike had been stolen, there was a very short pursuit, but they had recovered the bike in pristine condition. That was one trip to pick up the BMW that I had no interest in joining my father.
After a long day on a road trip years later, I came clean about who had stolen the BMW. He was so tired he simply uttered: “Oh.”
Then we did a ride about three years ago. I chartered a jet from Burbank to Vegas and had the bikes and I surprised them by having all our gear waiting for us on the red carpet at McCarran. We started a ride, it was a seven day long, 2,300 mile ride all through Utah, part of Arizona, and part of California and Nevada.
We wound up driving back on a Sunday. Sunday morning our final destination was The Rock Store. And after the ride he was like, “I don’t think that there’s anyone better in world that would appreciate this more than you, and I’d like you to have it”.
TG: Tell me a bit about the work you’ve done to the bike since he handed you the keys.
TM: Well, it’s kind of become the McComas version of a family heirloom. First of all, I removed the bench seat and put a solo Denfeld seat on it. And then, of course, the last three years since I took it for a ride, I took it to a guy, in a shop called Black Kat Motorwerks. His name is Rick. To me, out of anyone I know, he’s the most knowledgeable on my particular BMW motorcycle. He started a restoration that was just recently completed, and basically every nut and bolt, and piece of metal was replaced and re-plated back to the way it was new, the frame and all the bodywork went to Golden Hammer to be repainted, I didn’t powder coat the frame, I painted the frame. I’ve tried to paint it truth for truth, the way the bike came from the factory, so that’s how it is right now. It just got completed, and that’s it.
TG: And how does it ride?
TM: It rides exactly like it did. It’s funny: on that ride, that 2,300 mile ride that we took, we had a K1600, we had a GS 12000, and we had the 1960 R60. I had suggested to my father and my brother that we alternate between the three bikes, which is what we did. It was funny, I thought, whoever got stuck on the R60 would be kind of upset, and we all agreed that the most comfortable and the most fun bike to ride was the 1960 R60. [Laughs] Ironically, you know, brand new BMW technology in the GS, the 50 year old feels more comfortable than any of them that they make now.
TG: I buy that, for sure.
TM: The seating position is perfect, without a windshield you’d think you’d be miserable, but it’s slightly canted forward, and we normally cruise, usually between 65 and 75 miles an hour. That’s just a perfect speed to take the weight off your wrists. It’s kind of a perfect, a neutral balance situation. The seat’s, they’re kind of like your tractors, and it’s totally comfortable, the bend of your legs is perfect, it was the most fun and the most comfortable bike to ride on the trip.
TG: Love it. So tell me a little bit about your Dad, what’s his automotive background?
TM: I don’t know much before his 1973 BMW 3.0 CS Sedan (E9). As far as I know, my grandfather, his father, was this big American car guy. I remember his ’66′ Cadillac Eldorado, it was triple black, a black top, black interior, black exterior. When my mom was pregnant with my brother, my Dad went up to Joliet, Illinois to look at the BMW. I think he saw the 3.0 CS in the showroom or in the window, and he thought, “It’s the most beautiful car I’ve ever seen”.
So he went back to Joliet to look at the car, and my Mom’s water broke while they were in the dealership, and he yelled at the sales manager not to sell the car, he’d be back to buy it. The sales manager, he yelled at the other sales manager—“If you don’t sell to this guy, you’re fired!”. [Laughs] My dad went racing to Evanston, where we’re from, because they didn’t want the birth certificate for my brother to say Joliet, which is the home to the biggest penitentiary in Illinois, and everyone would assume that he was born in prison.
So, they raced back and my brother was born, and my Dad went back to the BMW dealer and bought the 1973 BMW 3.0 CS. It was a used car, it was 1976.
TG: Awesome story.
Photography by Ted Gushue