Bonhams celebrated its best-ever motorcycle sale at the Classic MotorCycle Show in Stafford on April 27, 2008, achieving several world record prices in a storming sale that totaled $4,188,081 (£2,112,099). This is the highest ever sale total for any UK motorcycle sale.
The 1934 Brough Superior 996cc SS100 made top price of $330,152 (£166,500) – a world record price for the model and the highest price ever paid for a British motorcycle at auction. This beat the previous record of $324,402 (£163,600) for a 1954 AJS Porcupine also sold by Bonhams at Stafford in 2000.
The Brough Superior, a rare example of this legendary pre-war superbike, represented the JAP-engined SS100 in its ultimate form. Incorporating ‘two of everything’ (carburetors, magnetos, oil pumps), it was one of only six made to this specification in 1934 and retained its original frame, engine and registration mark. The machine formed part of the Murray Motorcycle Museum Collection in the Isle of Man from 1973 to 2005.
Other highlights included:
Two helmets sold for well above pre-sale estimates: the Barry Sheene Bell racing helmet, worn during the 1974 season and the first to carry his famous number 7, sold for $10,945 (£5,520), and the Premier racing helmet worn by Phil Read to win his final 500cc World Championship, sold for $12,314 (£6,210).
This was the first of four dedicated motorcycle sales at Bonhams this year, and launched the 2008 calendar in commanding fashion, with 88% of all lots selling. Ben Walker, Head of Bonhams’ Motorcycle Department said “We were naturally delighted with the results we achieved for our vendors. We attracted worldwide interest and the depth of competitive bidding on some motorcycles was extraordinary. We have a list of many customers still anxious to acquire various models and this all bodes well for the special single owner collections that Bonhams will be handling later this year: The Professor Fritz Ehn Museum Collection in June and the Brian Verrall Collection in September.”
All conversions as of April 28, when £1 = $1.9829.