Motorcycle Classics Blogs >

Vintage Motorcycle Auctions and Results

Mecum's 2017 Las Vegas Auction: 1977 Harley-Davidson MX250

Harley-Davidson MX250

This Harley-Davidson MX250 is probably the most original youll find, and will be offered at Mecum’s Las Vegas auction, Jan. 25-28. Photo courtesy Mecum Auctions.

Harley-Davidson isn’t particularly known for dirt bikes, but at one time the Bar and Shield folks put serious effort into developing seriously competent offroad machines. Leaning on its Italian division, Aermacchi, in 1977 Harley came up with the MX250, a full-on competition machine that took on the best and won.

Unfortunately, it didn’t win enough to satisfy the brass in Milwaukee, so after two short years of production the MX250 was dropped, with fewer than 1,000 believed built between 1977 and 1978. Mecum says this first-year bike, from a major East Coast collection, is probably the most original MX250 extant. Unraced, unabused and, Mecum says, nearly unused, it’s a time warp machine in essentially as-new condition. Mecum doesn’t say what they think the MX250 will bring, and with survivors thin on the ground it’s hard to predict — although we don’t expect it to go cheap. For reference, a supposed zero-mile MX250 failed to sell on eBay for $14,000 a few years back, while another MX250 was recently offered privately for $9,000.

Legendary American Motorcycle from The Wheels Through Time Museum to be Auctioned by Bonhams

1937 Crocker Small Tank

Bonhams is thrilled to announce the addition of another rare motorcycle to be offered alongside the already impressive list of rarities at its annual Las Vegas auction.

The 1937 Crocker Small Tank — serial number 36-61-8 — comes from the renowned collection of Dale Walksler’s Wheels Through Time Museum.

Called as the “Duesenberg of motorcycles,” Crocker is the definitive American motorcycle — handmade, powerful and fast. Very much a Hollywood “hot rod” bike, Crocker was created in and shaped by the culture of pre-WWII Los Angeles, California, by former Indian distributor Al Crocker. When it debuted in 1936, the upstart founder brazenly challenged world dominators Harley-Davidson, boasting of superior technology, performance, handling and raw power. As the story goes, Al Crocker famously advertised that if any of his bikes were ever beaten by a stock Harley, he would refund the owner’s money. No refunds were ever requested.

As a bespoke machine, each Crocker was made to the specifications of its buyer. This expensive and time-intensive approach meant that quality remained high but production output low. Total Crocker numbers never exceeded more than 125 units before World War II forced the firm’s closure, and today only around 50 of those units are accounted for, making Crocker motorcycles extremely rare.

After fading into relative obscurity for half a century, two major events transpired that vaulted Crocker to the consciousness of collectors worldwide. First, the Guggenheim Museum’s groundbreaking 1998 exhibit The Art of the Motorcycle prominently featured a Crocker (owned by famed auto collector Otis Chandler). Then, the seminal 2006 Legend of the Motorcycle Concours d’Elegance presented Crocker as a featured marque with a record-breaking 20 examples on display. The attention provided by these two events — highlighting the marque’s unique history, success and rarity — suddenly made Crocker one of the most desirable and expensive motorcycles in the world.

What makes Crocker #8 even more special is the fact that this is one of the believed seven surviving Crockers constructed with the famous hemispherical heads. Furthermore, this is the earliest made Crocker to ever be offered at public sale. Estimate is $500,000-$600,000.

Also from the Wheels Through Time Museum are a further five pre-war American motorcycles:
• 1910 Harley-Davidson Model 6A
• 1914 Excelsior Model 7C
• 1915 Harley-Davidson 11F
• 1936 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead
• 1938 Harley-Davidson WLDR

Bonhams’ seventh annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction will take place Thursday, Jan. 26 at the Rio Hotel & Casino.

For more information about the consignments from the Wheels Through Time Museum, or any of the other exceptional vintage and classic motorcycles to be offered, visit bonhams.com/vegas.

Ultra Rare Factory One-Off Indian-Vincent Prototype to be Offered

1949 Indian-Vincent prototype

Bonhams is very pleased to announce the consignment of a very rare and historically significant motorcycle: the 1949 Indian-Vincent Factory Prototype.

In 1948 the manager of Indian Motorcycles, Ralph Rogers, and the director of Vincent HRD, Philip Vincent, agreed on a joint venture to manufacture and sell a hybridization of their machines to the American market. Two prototypes were created as a result: the better known Vindian — essentially an Indian Chief with Vincent motor, and the Indian-Vincent — essentially a specially badged Vincent Rapide with some Indian components.

Both machines were one-off designs created at Vincent’s factory in Stevenage, England, from two Chiefs shipped over from Indian’s Springfield, Massachusetts, factory. Unfortunately, neither prototype was put into production before Indian’s demise just a few years later.

The singular Indian-Vincent was the exceptionally fast and desirable Series C Rapide with a few Indian components aimed at U.S. riders, such as high handlebars, additional lights, crashbars and converted left-side gearshift. The prototype was personally taken by Phil Vincent later that year to Australia, where it has remained most its life.

Now this genuine, fully VOC-documented, one-of-one motorcycle representing two of the greatest names in motorcycling history will be offered for the first time at public auction. It carries an estimate of $250,000-$300,000.

Just as newsworthy, the Indian-Vincent is one of what is quite possibly a record number of motorcycles from the Vincent marque to be offered in one sale. In all, 16 Vincents have been consigned with the following models of various vintage and specification represented: Comet, Rapide, Black Shadow, Black Prince and Black Knight.

“It’s exciting to have so many examples in one auction,” says Nick Smith, Bonhams’ US Head of Motorcycles. “Vincent is one of the most respected and sought after names in the world of collectors’ motorcycles and to have this unprecedented assembly — not to mention being selected to represent the legendary prototype — is just phenomenal. It’s an incredible opportunity for Vincent aficionados.”

Bonhams’ seventh annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction will take place Thursday, Jan. 26 at the Rio Hotel & Casino. For more information, visit bonhams.com/vegas.

Bonhams Announces the Robert White Collection

Bonhams 

Photo courtesy Bonhams 

The collection contains a vast treasure trove of collectible mechanical delights worth more than £2 million, including motorcycles, motor cars, vintage Leica cameras, motoring mascots, Lalique, and several rare wristwatches.

Proceeds from the sale of this incredible collection will be used to build new cancer facilities at Poole and Dorset County hospitals, benefiting patients across the whole of the country.

“Robert White was a great man and an enthusiast of all things mechanical. The sale is a showcase of his life’s passion, with more than 500 lots set to raise more than £2 million for charity,” said Malcolm Barber, Bonhams Co-Chairman. “The collection is the result of a life’s passion for photography – Robert was the founder of one of the UK’s leading photographic retailers – and his adoration for motorcycles. We’re delighted to be able to offer this for sale, and for such a great charitable cause.”

It was his love of motorcycles that first connected Robert White his close friend and confidant, the comedian and TV host, Jay Leno.

“They say that you should never be possessed by your possessions; but Robert took more pleasure from his possessions than any man I have ever met,” said Leno. “The evening ritual of winding his George Daniels watch, for example, was an active delight to him as an opportunity to take pleasure in its mechanism.”

Bonhams 

Robert White riding his Gilera 500cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle recreation at the 2006 Southern 100.
The model is now offered at an estimate of £50,000-60,000.

Photo courtesy Bonhams

The friends bonded over a love of Brough Superior motorcycles, and before Robert died in 2015, he sold his Brough Superiors to Leno. The funds from the Brough Superiors have been used to support the creation of a brand new cancer treatment centre at Dorset County Hospital and new diagnostic facilities at Poole Hospital, both overseen by the latter’s Dorset Cancer Centre.

Leno said: “We spent time together in England before he died. He didn’t feel sorry for himself or ‘woe-is-me’. He realistically faced up to his position and decided he wanted to give something back to the people in Poole Hospital who had helped him with his illness.”

“Robert White loved his motorcycles, and this is no more evident than when we look at the incredible machines he had in his collection,” said Ben Walker, Bonhams Head of Motorcycles. “Robert had his own personal motoring museum and workshop where he took great pleasure in showing people his carefully curated items. He was a true enthusiast who appreciated each and every part of these exhilarating machines.

Motorcycles featured in the collection include:
• c.1929 Megola 640cc Touring Model, estimated at £120,000-140,000
• MV Agusta 500cc 3-Cylinder Grand Prix recreation, estimate £80,000-100,000
• MV Agusta 500cc 4-Cylinder Grand Prix recreation, estimate £70,000-90,0000
• 1974 Ducati 750SS, estimated at £60,000-70,000

Robert White

Robert White (1953-2015) was the founder of one of the UK’s leading photographic retailers, having started in business with a small camera shop in Poole, where he was born.

An astute and dedicated businessman, Robert White’s success enabled him to indulge a passion for collecting machines and objects that embodied the finest design and engineering. He loved to ride motorcycles and drive fast cars. He learned to fly and bought a vintage Boeing-Stearman bi-plane to travel round Britain.

He was described by a close friend as: “A modest person who liked the best of what he liked, but was never one for designer clothes and frippery, leaves a legacy that will outlast all of us. The life of Robert will help countless people he has never met. Robert’s illness taught him what is important, and he was in a self-made position to make a life-changing difference.”

Robert White died of cancer in 2015. His consultant oncologist, Dr. Mike Bayne, said: “The impact that Mr. White’s incredible generosity will have to patients facing cancer in Dorset cannot be overstated.

“This lasting legacy will continue to benefit patients and their families for years to come, enabling the people of Dorset to receive the very latest and most effective diagnoses and treatments for a range of cancers, and supporting our skilled clinicians and nursing teams to be among the most advanced in the country. Robert White will forever be associated with advances in cancer care in the county, and on behalf of our patients I would like to express our heartfelt thanks.”

Click here for full auction details.

VanDerBrink Vintage Motorcycle Auction in Iowa

1965 Honda CB160

Fully restored 1965 Honda CB160, one of 65 Hondas to be auctioned. Photo courtesy VanDerBrink Auctions.

VanDerBrink Auction is will auction off 65 vintage Honda motorcycles and parts plus a 1954 Corvette and memorabilia from the Paul Ageson estate on Saturday, July 23, 2016, in Lester, Iowa, starting at 9:30 a.m. The auction lot includes Hondas from the early 1960s up through the late 1970s, many fully restored. There’s even a classic VW-powered trike in the sale! See the complete catalog online at the VanDerBrink auction page.

Bonhams Stafford Sale Smashes Record for British Motorcycle

1932 Brough Superior Model BS4

Lot 296, the ex-Hubert Chantrey 1932 Brough Superior 800cc Model BS4 Project. All photos courtesy Bonhams.

• Bonhams Stafford Sale saw the 1938 Brough Superior 750cc BS4 sold for £331,900, setting a new world record for a British motorcycle sold at auction
• The eight long-lost Broughs of Bodmin Moor collectively sold for £752,625
• Best of British: Highlights include the 1939 Vincent-HRD 998cc Rapide Series-A Project, sold for £270,300, the 1929 Coventry-Eagle 980cc Flying-8 OHV sold for £163,900, and the 1938 Brough Superior 982cc SS100, sold for £219,900
• The auction achieved an astounding £3,454,501

Bonhams Stafford Sale set a new world record price for a Brough Superior and for any British motorcycle sold at auction, as the gavel fell at an astounding £331,900 for the 1938 Brough Superior 750cc BS4.

The BS4 was the highlight lot in the collection “The Broughs of Bodmin Moor,” which sold 100 percent to achieve a collective £752,625. These iconic, rare British motorcycles were believed to have been destroyed, until Bonhams motorcycle department discovered the eight machines in 2015 in a remote Cornish village. The motorcycles were discovered whole, in parts, and some were partially submerged under decades of dust, old machinery parts and household clutter. Bonhams Stafford sale saw the bikes unveiled for the first time in more than 50 years.

Motorcycles of the 1920s and 1930s largely featured only one cylinder, so when the BS4 launched at the Olympia Motor Cycle Show in 1931, with its engine and gearbox taken from an Austin 7 motor car, it was truly revolutionary for the marque. Only ten BS4 models (aka Brough Superior “four cylinder”) were built, and only seven survive.

Ben Walker, International Director for Bonhams Collectors’ Motorcycle Department, said: “The Broughs of Bodmin Moor are the motorcycle discovery of the decade. They’ve caused quite a stir in the saleroom, with each one far exceeding estimate, allowing us to break our own world record for a British motorcycle sold at auction, the 1938 Brough Superior 750cc BS4 selling for £331,900 to a German bidder in the room.”

“Having been housed in a Cornwall barn for so many decades, we’re delighted to have brought these machines back into the spotlight,” said Jonathan Vickers, Bonhams West Country motoring specialist. “They’ve sold phenomenally well, cementing Bonhams’ highly successful record breaking reputation in the collectors’ motoring industry.”

1929 Coventry-Eagle Flying-8 OHV

Lot 312, the 1929 Coventry-Eagle 980CC Flying-8 OHV, sold for £163,900.

Malcolm Barber, Bonhams Co-Chairman and auctioneer, said: “The Bonhams team have held an auction at the Stafford International Motorcycle show for more than 28 years. The sale is an institution, and one that rightly attracts the attention of motorcycle enthusiasts from across the globe. With a packed saleroom and bids coming in internationally — including a determined bidder who flew in from the antipodes — and several world records achieved, such as for the 1956 Vincent 499cc Comet Series-C/D which sold for £55,200, as well as of course for Brough Superior, it’s been yet another incredible Stafford Sale.”

The Bonhams Sale featured the best of British motorcycles, with Vincent, Coventry-Eagle, and of course the rarest of Brough Superiors leading more than 230 machines to achieve a total £3,454,501.

Further successes of the Sale include the 1939 Vincent-HRD 998cc Rapide Series-A Project, sold to a European bidder for £270,300; the 1929 Coventry-Eagle 980cc Flying-8 OHV, sold for £163,900, and the c.1959 Norton-JAP 998cc Sprinter “Thor,” sold for £61,990.

For further information on Bonhams motorcycle department visit: www.bonhams.com/motorcycles

1939 Vincent-HRD Series-A Rapide

Lot 313, 1939 Vincent-HRD 998cc Series-A Rapide Project, sold for £270,300.

1939 Brough Superior SS100

Lot 311, ex-Henry Laird, Demonstrator, 1938 Brough Superior 982cc SS100, sold for £219,900.

Best of British Classic Motorcycles Headline Bonhams Stafford Sale

1929 Coventry-Eagle

Lot 312, the 1929 Coventry-Eagle 980CC Flying-8 OHV. All photos courtesy of Bonhams.

The best of British motorcycles heads to Bonhams Stafford Sale, as Brough Superior, Vincent and Coventry-Eagle lead more than 230 machines at auction on April 23-24 at the International Classic Motorcycle Show, Staffordshire County Showground.

Heading the sale, the 1939 Vincent-HRD 998cc Rapide Series-A Project, estimated at £150,000-200,000. One of around 78 built, this matching-numbers, ultra-rare TT-specification example benefits from more than 50 years in current ownership, and is completely unrestored. Vincent Motorcycles, marketed as “the makers of the world’s fastest motorcycles,” were built in Hertfordshire from 1928 to 1955, with this particular model an excellent early example.

Ex-Henry Laird 1938 Brough Superior SS100

Lot 311, ex-Henry Laird, Demonstrator, 1938 Brough Superior 982cc SS100.

From Hertfordshire to Coventry, where the Victorian bicycle and motorcycle manufacturer Coventry-Eagle was established. Coventry-Eagle built a diverse range of motorcycles using mainly JAP engines from 1901 onwards, though machines only began to be produced in significant numbers following the First World War. The 1929 Coventry-Eagle 980cc Flying-8 OHV offered is a rare vintage-era superbike, restored in 2007 and in present ownership since 2008. It is estimated at £140,000-160,000.

The sale also features nine rare models from Nottingham-based Brough Superior, including eight machines from the mysterious collection, the “Broughs of Bodmin Moor.” Unveiled for the first time in more than 50 years, this unusual collection features the mythical ex-Hubert Chantrey, 1932 Brough Superior 800cc Model BS4, estimated at £80,000-120,000, arguably one of the most significant British motorcycles ever to come to auction. Also included in the collection are two exceptionally rare SS100s; a 1926 Brough Superior SS100 Project, estimated at £30,000-40,000 and a 1938 Brough Superior 982cc SS100 Project, estimated at £60,000-80,000.

Ex-Hubert Chantrey 1932 Brough Superior

Lot 296, The ex-Hubert Chantrey 1932 Brough Superior 800cc Model BS4 Project.

James Stensel, Head of Department, Bonhams Motorcycles said: “Only 10 examples of the BS4 left Brough’s Nottingham factory and just seven survive today, of which only three retain their original engines, making ‘GY 989’ exceedingly rare. Equally exciting is the ex-Henry Laird Demonstrator, 1938 Brough Superior 982cc SS100 estimated at £140,000-180,000, one of 32 Matchless SS100s produced for the 1938 season.

1983 Suzuki RGB500

Lot 394, The ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki, 1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle.

“Sunday’s motorcycle sale features more than 230 machines across 60 manufactures. Combined with Saturday’s 185 lots of Spares and Memorabilia (over 50 percent offered at no reserve), this year’s two-day Stafford sale is expected to attract the attention of enthusiasts and collectors from across the globe.”

Further highlights include several important post-war masterpieces, such as the ex-Honda press fleet, 1970 Honda CB750 “KO” Sandcast, estimated at £20,000-30,000; the ex-Francis Williams, Ernie Woods, circa-1959 Norton-JAP 998cc Sprinter “Thor,” estimated at £40,000-50,000; and the ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki, 1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle, estimated at £80,000-100,000.

Bonhams Spring Stafford Sale takes place at Staffordshire County Showground on April 23-24:

Saturday, April 23: Automobilia — start 13:00
Sunday, April 24: Motorcycles — start 11:00

For further information on Bonhams’ motorcycle department visit: www.bonhams.com/motorcycles