Think “auctions” and “January” and you probably envision classic cars being sold in Phoenix and Scottsdale. But the 2015 auction calendar actually begins a few days earlier and a few hundred miles to the northwest with a pair of classic motorcycles sales in Las Vegas, where Bonhams sells at Bally’s and Mecum MidAmerica sets up at South Point.
Bonhams has just announced that its January 8 sale will feature British bikes from the Herb Harris Collection as well as those from the estates of Hollywood stars Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda, and the Jack Silverman Collection of Italian motorcycles.
“For years, the Herb Harris Collection of Texas has been synonymous with the absolute finest in premium, classic British motorcycles, particularly Vincent HRD,” Bonhams said in a news release,
“After all, it was Harris who discovered and lovingly restored with painstaking historical accuracy the Rollie Free Bathing Suit Bike. Being the savior and long-time steward of one of the most famous and important motorcycles in the world was no small responsibility, yet Harris excelled in his role and applied the same meticulous approach to everything that came under his care. Soon, a Harris Vincent came to mean a motorcycle of flawless quality.”
Biks consigned from the Harris collection include the 1946 Vincent “1X” Rapide B prototype, the first post-war Vincent produced and the first series B Rapide created.
Bonhams notes that the bike was featured last year in Cycle World magazine after being “lost” for nearly 50 years until it was rediscovered by Harris. Bonhams also notes that the bike’s engine was converted by Vincent for use in a British military speedboat.
Also being offered from the Harris collection is the 1954 Vincent Black Prince prototype, a bike Phil Vincent termed a “two-wheeled Bentley,” as well as a 1949 Vincent Rapide C with matching Blacknell Bullet Sidecar, a 1957 BSA B34 Works Racer, a 1962 Matchless G50 CSR Silver Eagle (with a spare engine), and an early 1949 AJS 7R.
Also available from the Harris collection are factory-produced engine cutaways from Ariel, BSA, Matchless, New Imperial, Norton, Sunbeam and Triumph, as well as two cutaway motorcycles — a BSA Lightning and a BSA Goldstar Cloubman.
The sale also will include original Phil Vincent drawings dating to 1928 and other memorabilia from the Harris collection.