Private Collection of 1950s to Present Day Japanese Motorcycles to Headline Bonhams Autumn Stafford Sale

| 8/26/2013 11:01:06 AM

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Almost 100 motorcycles from a private European collection will feature in the auction during the 20th Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show on Sunday October 20.

A single-owner collection of almost 100 classic Japanese motorcycles, the majority of which are Hondas, will be offered for sale at the Bonhams auction during the 20th Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show at the Staffordshire County Showground on Sunday, October 20.

The collection includes numerous Hondas, ranging from the humble but design-classic Super Cub to the NR750 and everything in between, including 10 unused monkey bikes and a number of exceptionally early machines. Also on offer are a selection of early Suzukis, Kawasakis and Yamahas, a variety of later 1970s and 1980s classics and two prototype engines – a sand cast CBX1000 and a CX500.

The machines, which are estimated to achieve a combined total of more than $467,000 (£300,000), are being sold by Michael Buttinger, a Dutch entrepreneur with a long-held love of motorcycles and fascination for interesting and beautiful designs.

“I first became interested in mopeds at the age of 10," says Mr Buttinger, "thanks to a friend who used to work on them, and bought my first – a ‘restoration project’ Honda C310 – at the age of 11. I remember my mum was horrified that I had spent all my money on a ‘wreck.’ But no matter how I looked at it, I couldn’t see this wreck that she mentioned. What I saw was beautiful design and a moped with potential.”

Over the next few years Mr Buttinger progressed from mopeds to motorcycles and took a job as an apprentice mechanic at a local Honda dealer, before starting up his own business trading second hand parts and mopeds during his university studies – a company that would grow to become one of the world’s largest suppliers. During this time he built his own collection focusing largely on 1960s designs, sometimes going to extreme lengths to secure his acquisitions.

He remembers: “I was on holiday with my mum in Crete and had rented a Honda C50 to take on a road trip for the day. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw another C50 in a ravine. I risked my life and made the descent to where the bike was. Miraculously, I got it out in bits and pieces, and was able to take it home to sell the parts.”

Of his collection, he added: “I have been driven by a passion for Japanese motorcycles – for their design and for the philosophy behind the design, which I find fascinating. It has been a difficult decision to sell these machines, which have formed a large part of my life, but I do not have the time to dedicate to using and riding the newer machines, or to completing the restoration projects, and I feel the time is now right to let other enthusiasts bring these wonderful machines back to life.”

Ben Walker, head of the Bonhams Motorcycle Department, said: “We are delighted to have been asked to offer Mr Buttinger’s amazing and eclectic collection of Japanese classics for sale at our Autumn Stafford Sale. Mike’s attention to detail with those machines he has restored – or those he has purchased due to their high level of originality – is superb. The Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show is the perfect venue at which to offer these machines, and we hope to achieve a good result.”

Items in the auction will be available to view between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 19, and from 9 a.m. on Sunday October 20. The sale will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday October 20 with automobilia, and continue at 12 p.m. with Motorcycles. To register to bid call +44 20 7447 7448 or email

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