Czech Mark: 1961 Jawa 250 Model 353

Czechoslovakia and now the Czech Republic has made some really interesting vehicles over the years, especially ones with two wheels and especially Jawas. This 1961 Jawa 250 Model 353 can be found listed here on eBay in Lutz, Florida. The seller calls this one a “garage barn find” – I’m not sure what that is but it’s been in storage for an undetermined number of years. The current bid price is $1,075 and there is no reserve and fewer than two days left on the auction.

That’s an interesting profile, isn’t it? I don’t believe that they were available in any other color than a dark maroon but I could be wrong. One of you may know. In 1929 in response to the depression, Dresdner Bank, who owned the Wanderer auto company at the time, sold the motorcycle arm of the company to František Janeček. Fun fact: JAWA = Janeček + Wanderer.

This is what I feel like after sitting all day, totally deflated. I just had a seat restored on my 1971 Suzuki MT50 Trailhopper so the least of my worries on this bike is the flat seat. The incredible amount of surface rust, some of it very heavy and deeply-pitted, would be my biggest worry. Or, maybe parts availability would be first. Almost anything can be restored but this probably isn’t a bike that the next owner will drop off at a restoration shop and pick it up six months later and pay the $12,500 bill or whatever it would be. Maybe I’ve watched too many episodes of American Restoration.

The Jawa 250 Model 353 was made between 1954 to 1962 and there were a few variations. I believe this is the 250 – 353/04, the last iteration. Jawa made a 250 CC motorcycle for decades and they were also made in India, China, and Turkey and were widely known as being simple yet tough and almost indestructible. It was reportedly the first Jawa motorcycle to have rear springs and was known as Kývačka 250, which means Spring 250.

This interesting engine is a 248.5 CC single-cylinder with 12 horsepower. The seller says that it kicks over so that’s a good sign. They found this Jawa along with a few others in storage. Have any of you seen a Jawa 250-353?


  1. Howard A Member

    When I saw’r the twin pipes, I thought it may be a “twingle”, but just fancy exhaust porting. I can just see someone needing a certain part for theirs, FINALLY. Jawas were actually kind of popular before the Honda stuff. If you wanted something other than H-D, there were plenty to consider, dealers, however for the oddballs were few and far between, and shipping wasn’t like today, over seas shipments didn’t do well. Jawas were good bikes, if you could handle the smoke screen they left behind.

    Like 4
  2. Greg Y

    Sears sold some Jawa models as Allstate’s back in the 60’s….a friend of mine had an Allstate 175 ‘Twingle’….fugly ugly for those of us that believed any bike that wasn’t a Honda or Yamaha wasn’t worth the time of day…but he liked it and I guess that is all that really counted.

    Like 2
  3. luckylugnut

    I remember seeing a 1970’s JAWA in a junk yard years ago, and the thing that struck me odd was, that the shift lever doubled as the kick lever by pulling it out or pushing it in.. I forget which. I guess it was OK, so long as it worked.

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  4. mark mitchell Member

    I had one of these that was “restored” – turned out that they sold these in Vietnam, and many were imported to the US when the craze for importedVespas and Lambrettas began. It was soon clear that the restorations looked great from 20 feet away but were simply awful upon closer inspection. These got an awful reputation for mechanical and safety issues, and most scooter shops refused to let them into their shops. This example isn’t one of those as it remains in unrestored condition. I’d say that the styling is awkward, but has some interesting elements such as the finned alloy cover for the carburetor. Restoring this would be a labor of love, as I don’t think they have much value when complete-

    Like 3
  5. Truck writer

    I bought one of these lightly used as college transportation in 1970. Maroon. 55 on the highway was possible if there wasn’t a head wind, but enough torque to plow a field. Parts were impossible to find then. Might be easier these days, but I’d doubt it.

    Like 1
  6. luke arnott Member

    JAWA is now Indian owned and last year 50,000 were sold.The owners have now bought BSA and intend to restart production.

    Like 4
  7. Mcl23aren

    “garage barn find” is just searchable key words ebay sellers put in their listings to make it easier to find the listing, it does not mean the seller is calling it a “garage barn find”.

    Like 1
  8. Gerard Frederick

    The origins of Jawa were unknown to me — thanx for the interesting info. The Wanderer works built first rate middle-class automobiles and a gorgeous 750cc 4-stroke twin. Their reputation was excellent and there were many well to do Germans who opted for a Wanderer instead of a Meercedes. Anyway, the Jawas were , until later times, copies of the DKW RT-250, only not nearly as reliable and lacking the DKW´s great swing-arm rear suspension.

    Like 2
  9. Paula Reisner nee Frei

    I fell off the back of my brothers 175 JAWA in 1946 when he hit a bump on a macadam road. It was the immediate post WW 2 model Perak developed in secret during the war. Only skinned my knees.

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  10. Steve Jeffries

    I can’t see how the Jawa 250 can be a copy of the Dkw rt250 which was introduced in 1951. The Jawa Perak 250 a direct predecessor of the 353 was developed during ww2 and produced from 1947. The engines in these two models are the same and swinging arm rear suspension was introduced in 1954. Interestingly the Perak headlight nacelle design came out several years before Triumphs effort. So who copies who? Spare parts are in plentiful supply just Google Jawa parts.

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  11. Gerard Frederick

    Who copies whom? DKW is the most copied bike of all time, having produced the most advanced 2-stroke bikes of the worls since about 1926. They fathered, albeit unwillingly, the motorcycle industries in Russia, Japan and having designed the most reliable, best selling BSA of all times. The Russian industries were also fathered by BMW and Zündapp, but the DKW SB350 was the machine most widely produced for many years. As far as the Jawa goes, their 2-stroke bikes were always DKW´s in all important aspects.

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  12. luckylugnut

    I read somewhere, that after WW2, Germany’s industrial intellectual property was divided up among the allies. And DKW’s 2 stroke engine designs were handed over to become as has been said,the basis for some hugely popular models built by the likes of BSA (Bantam) and I think… Harley Davidson (Hummer) .

    Like 0
    • Gerard Frederick

      You are right, only it wasn´t that simple. It was the greatest patent theft of all time including massive technological innovations as well as stuff like how to make Tilsit chees in 10 days instead of 90, or kidnapping hundreds of scientists, or plundering all art museums, or using some of the worlds greatest sculptures for target practice. Just little stuff like that, mere foibles.

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      • luckylugnut

        I imagine it was a massive free for all…
        “to the victors, go the spoils”
        The US space program certainly wouldn’t have gotten where it did in the early days without the input of Wernher von Braun

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  13. Gerard Frederick

    luckylugnut — right you are. That´s life! Cheers and beers, have another Corona! Ger

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  14. luckylugnut

    Ger, I’m a Guinness man meself, but Corona is my go to when I’m in the mood for something lighter.
    Speaking of beer… gotta share this old joke:
    Two Aussies are camping in the outback and sitting around the campfire enjoying their Fosters.
    One Aussie says to the other: Say mate, ya know what drinking American beer and making love in a canoe have in common?
    The other replies: No mate, what?
    They’re both F’g close to water !!

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  15. Gerard Frederick

    Guiness ist strong stuff indeed. The joke is great especially since it is so true. American beers, since the 1920´s are for the most part undrinkable. Cheers & Beers! Ger

    Like 0
  16. R.Lee

    If you want a Jawa buy an Ice Ride you will not be disappointed!

    Like 1
  17. R.Lee

    Like 0

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