Bonhams claims record for British motorcycle sold at auction

A Brough Superior sold at Bonhams for more than $481,000 | Bonhams photos
A Brough Superior sold at Bonhams for more than $481,000 | Bonhams photos

Bonhams claims a world auction-record price for a British-built motorcycle with a 1938 Brough Superior 750cc BS4 selling for £331,900 ($481,520) at its Stafford Sale earlier this week. The sale was held in conjunction with the annual Stafford International Motorcycle show in England.

Only 10 BS4 (Brough Superior four-cylinder) bikes were built, and three of them no longer survive. The bikes feature an engine and gearbox from an Austin 7 car.

Only 10 of these motorcycles were built. Seven survive
Only 10 of these motorcycles were built. Seven survive

The bike was the highlight lot of “The Broughs of Bodmin Moor” collection, a group of eight two-wheelers discovered last year in a remote Cornish village as part of the estate of the late Frank Vague. The bikes were discovered whole or in parts beneath “dust, old machinery parts and household clutter,” Bonhams said in a news release, which noted that bikes were then shown in public for the first time in more than 50 years.

Together, the Bodmin Moor bikes sold for £752,625 ($1.1 million) at the Stafford Sale. (Prices listed include buyer’s premium fees.)

Overall, the auction sold 230 motorcycles for £3,454,501 ($5.05 million).

“The Broughs of Bodmin Moor are the motorcycle discovery of the decade,” Ben Walker, international director for Bonhams Collectors’ Motorcycle Department, said in the news release. “They’ve caused quite a stir in the salesroom, 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,” added Jonathan Vickers, Bonhams West Country motoring specialist.

Other top sales at the auction included:

  • 1939 Vincent-HRD 998cc Rapide Series-A “project” for $392,150,
  • The ex-Henry Laird demonstrator 1938 Brough Superior 992cc SS100 for $319,030,
  • Another Vague estate bike, a 1938 Brough Superior 982 SS100 “project” for $254,034,
  • A 1929 Coventry-Eagle 980cc Flying-8 OHV for $237,785

 

Build-a-bike
Build-a-bike

“The Bonhams team have held an auction at the Stafford International Motorcycle show for more than 28 years,” noted Malcolm Barber, Bonhams co-chairman and auctioneer for the event. “The sale is an institution, and one that rightly attracts the attention of motorcycle enthusiasts from across the globe.

“With a packed salesroom and bids coming in internationally including a determined bidder who flew in from the Antipodes (Australia and New Zealand) and several world records achieved, such as for the 1956 Vincent 499cc Comet Series-C/D which sold for £55,200.”

3 thoughts on “Bonhams claims record for British motorcycle sold at auction”

  1. “. . . a group of eight two-wheelers discovered last year in a remote Cornish village . . .”, but I count 3 wheels!

  2. If you like them and can afford them, then I say buy them! And being very rare, they will appreciate faster than your bank account or mutual fund…and if all else fails, ride them!

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