Auction houses Mecum and Bonhams are busy getting ready for the 2019 Las Vegas motorcycle auctions. Bonhams’ one-day auction takes place on Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino, and Mecum will return with another massive portfolio of bikes, with 1,750 machines scheduled to go under the hammer during Mecum’s six-day mega-auction, Jan. 22-27, at South Point Hotel & Casino.
Headlining the Mecum auction will be 238 motorcycles from the MC Collection in Stockholm, Sweden. Established in 1999 by Swedish vintage motorcycle enthusiasts Christer Christensson and Ove Johansson, the MC Collection is staggering in its breadth, and bikes on offer range from the world’s first production motorcycle, an 1894 Hildebrand & Wolfmüller, to a 1989 BMW K1. Also to be sold in the no-reserve auction are a replica 1934 Husqvarna 500 GP racer, two Brough Superiors (a 1925 SS100 Grand Sport and a 1936 SS80) and a 1913 Brough WE 6 horsepower V-twin manufactured by Brough Superior founder George Brough’s father, William, who built motorcycles from 1902 to 1918. Mecum will also auction off the Kennedy Collection, with 38 bikes offered at no reserve. Japanese bikes make up the bulk of the Kennedy collection and range from a 1966 Suzuki X6 Hustler to a 2009 Kawasaki ZX-14R still in its crate, but the collection also includes a rare 200cc 1959 Parilla Grand Sport.
Highlighting Bonhams’ Thursday auction is the second-ever Vincent Black Lightning. Ordered by NSU works rider Hans Stärkle at the 1948 Earls Court Motorcycle Show in London, it was delivered to Stärkle in January of 1949. He campaigned it in sidecar racing until 1952, and then sold it to a Swiss enthusiast who converted it to road use, adding lights, a passenger seat, footrests and a muffler. It sold two more times, the fourth owner retiring it after engine troubles, before eventually ending up with Vincent enthusiast Ernst Hegeler. Hegeler rebuilt the Lightning and set it up for touring duty in 1971, after which he put some 30,000 miles on it before deciding to restore it to its original specification in 2000. One of the most important Vincents ever offered for sale, it’s expected to hammer for as much as $500,000.
Other features of the expected 250-300 bike Bonhams auction include the ex-Steve McQueen Nimbus with sidecar, along with vintage motorcycle memorabilia.