Two motorcycles, one of them formerly owned by Steve McQueen, hammered sold for $650,000 or more at the E.J. Cole Collection sale conducted by Mecum Auctions at the South Point Casino and Exhibit Hall in Las Vegas. The auction attracted nearly 1,000 bidders and spectators. Total sales were nearly $12.3 million, and that figure does not include buyer’s fees. Continue reading
The largest Mecum MidAmerica motorcycle auction, with more than 750 antique and collector bikes coming up for sale, takes place January 8-10 at the South Point Casino and Exhibit Hall in Las Vegas.
Everything from Harleys to Hondas, Triumphs to Moto Guzzis, and ranging from early 20th Century motorbikes to classic performance and racing machines will be auctioned during the three-day sale.
The 24th annual MidAmerica Motorcycle auction, which is now owned by the Mecum auction company, will feature two-wheeled beauties from 10 private collections, including those from such well-known bikers as Shane Van Pelt, Don Andress, David Silver and Buddy Stubbs.
“The consignments to be offered this year are, in every sense of the word, treasures to the antique motorcycle world,” said Ron Christenson, president of Mecum’s MidAmerica Motorcycle division, in a news release.
“They will truly excite even the most seasoned motorcycle collector as they cross the auction block. And with our largest offering ever, there is undoubtedly something that will please virtually any motorcycle enthusiast.”
Among the offerings will be several historic racing motorcycles, along with such special items as the stunt bike used in the 1990 Captain America movie from the Gary Davis Collection. Early board-track racers, ’30s cruisers and rare European exotics also will cross the block.
For more information about the Las Vegas motorcycle sale, see mecum.com.
Bonhams holds its fifth annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction on January 8 at Bally’s Hotel & Casino, offering around 230 American, Japanese and European two-wheelers as well as a selection of vintage motorcycle posters, parts and collector’s items.
The headliner is a group of rare British bikes from the collection of Vincent motorcycle expert Herb Harris of Texas, including such special machines as the 1946 Vincent HRD 1X Prototype Series B V-twin – the first post-war Vincent made – the 1954 Vincent Black Prince Prototype, a bright-red 1949 Vincent Rapide C with matching Blacknell Bullet sidecar, plus classic motorcycles from BSA, Matchless and AJS.
The Harris collection also features a dozen cutaway show engines from English manufacturers BSA, Ariel, Matchless, Norton, Sunbeam and Triumph. There also are two complete BSA motorcycles that have been sectioned to show their inner workings.
A number of other premium motorcycles from England will be auctioned, including a spectacular and concours-winning 1938 Bough Superior SS100 and a 1938 Rudge Special 500, along with 1950-70s Triumphs, Nortons and BSAs that are ready to ride.
Italian bikes are well-represented, including those coming from the Jack Silverman Museum Racing Collection of Ducati motorcycles. Competition bikes include a 1995 Ducati Supermono from Sound of Singles road racing and a 1957 F.B. Mondial 250cc Bialbero GP raced by Mike Hailwood.
The Harley-Davidson and Indian motorcycles at auction date to the early days of motorcycling, and include a selection of restored vintage models from a private collection.
There also will be a few celebrity bikes, such as those once owned by Easy Rider co-stars Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper.
For more information about the Bonhams motorcycle auction, see Bonhams.com.
The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum’s annual classic motorcycle show for 2014 will feature Vincent/HRD, Brough Superior and pre-1974 250cc-and-under bikes. The show runs from August 16 through September 12 at the museum in Philadelphia. The bikes then head for another display, this one at the 18th annual Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance on September 14.
Vincent, of course, is the famed British brand established in 1928 at HRD Motorcycles. HRD was short-lived, however, and was sold twice that same year, the second time for 450 pounds to Philip Vincent, whose family had money to support his efforts, which included building his own engines.
For many years, Vincents were the fastest production motorcycles on the planet. A photograph of Rollie Free setting a speed record at Bonneville in 1948 while wearing his swimming trunks on a Vincent Black Lightning has become legendary.
The bikes were fast but very expensive to produce, and the company went bankrupt in 1955.
While Vincents were known for their speed, Brough Superior bikes were considered the “Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles.” They were produced from 1919 to 1940, and around 1,000 of the 3,048 built remain in existence.
T.E. Lawrence, better known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia, owned seven Brough Superiors, and he died of injuries sustained in a crash while riding one of them.
A special feature of the motorcycle show at the Simeone will be a photography workshop August 17 featuring Dawn Deppi, who will discuss her techniques for photographing motorcycles. Also participating will be experts from Canon, Macgroup and New York Camera.
Information on the motorcycle show and photography workshop can be found on the Simeone website.
Photos by Howard Koby
Did you know that Forest Lawn, the famed cemetery in Glendale, California, has a museum? Or that the current exhibition in that museum is entitled “Vroom: The Art of The Motorcycle?”
The exhibition features rare motorcycles with stained glass as a backdrop and an arcane collection of motorcycle-themed art including hand-painted gas tanks, black-and-white cartoons, poster art and striking sculpture.
One goal for co-curator and motorcycle historian and collector John Parker and museum director Joan P. Adan was to present an in-depth look at the changing history of motorcycle trends highlighting the effect and influence of the west coast.
The Forest Lawn Museum is a hidden but impressive structure located on the top of a hill in a cemetery in a peaceful, quiet setting and contains medieval art, religious relics, original artwork by Homer, Matisse and Rembrandt, among others along, with a partial collection by publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst.
Each historic motorcycle in the exhibition sits on a custom-built platform. You get a feeling of respect and appreciation for all art forms as you view them and the hand-painted gas tanks, secured on walls in exceptional design.
There also are more than 10 painted helmets, including a reproduction Peter Fonda helmet worn in the ’69 movie classic Easy Rider. The helmets were done by artists Troy Lee, Sara Ray and Pete “Hot Dog” Finlan. Also shown are racing photographs by Mitch Friedman, artfully placed on museum walls throughout the show.
Noted artists represented are Automotive Fine Arts Society member Tom Fritz (creator of the U.S .Postal Service’s Muscle Car Stamp Series); Syd Mead, graduate of Art Center College of Design and visual futurist and conceptual artist who worked on Hollywood films Blade Runner, Tron 2010, Aliens and Mission: Impossible III; renowned artist William Stout; graphic master Von Franco, who worked with Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth; Harley-Davidson’s official sculptor Jeff Decker; and Drew Stuzan, who illustrated over 150 movie posters including Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Star Wars and many more.
The rare and compelling two-wheeled machines on display are second to none, including an impeccably restored 1910 Flying Merkel, a 1914 Harley-Davidson board track racer, a 1938 Crocker formerly owned by Otis Chandler, a 1938 Indian Sport Scout Flat Track Racer, and a Galoise-blue 1939 Indian Chief that was once owned by Steve McQueen.
Also, a 1945/1965 Harley-Davidson Drag Bike ‘The Hog’ that set the track record at Lion’s Drag Strip at 127 mph in the quarter mile, a 1947 Harley UL ‘California Cut-Down,’ a distinctive 1953 Gilora Road Racer from the collection of Barry Weiss (Storage Wars), a 1968 ESO Speedway (racer Bobby “Boogaloo” Schwartz), a 1953 Moto Guzzi Falcone which has never been on display but is presented by one of the foremost restorers of antique motorcycles in America, Mike Parti, a 1999 Ducati 996RS (capable of 200 mph) raced by English ace Carl Fogarty, a 2006 Suzuki GSKR 1000 Race Bike (187 mph), and a 2009 Transformers Suzuki B-King featured in the 2009 movie Transformers’ Revenge of the Fallen.
The museum was recently named one of the top 10 free museums in the country by Yahoo Travel.
The “Vroom” show will be on view through January 5, 2015.
For more info visit www.forest-lawn.com
Coys of Kensington celebrated its return to motorcycle auctions by breaking two world records Friday at Blenheim Palace in the United Kingdom, one for a brawny American classic and the other for a petite Italian road racer.
The 1931 Indian four-cylinder that served as the auction’s featured lot eclipsed previous records with a result of £90,000 ($154,000), which was well above the pre-auction estimate.
The other record-breaker was the sale of a 1953 Mondial 125 Monoabero, a lightweight 125cc single-cylinder competition bike in pristine condition, that reached £60,000 ($103,000), which also soared past the value estimate.
The Blenheim auction marked the return of Coys to motorcycle sales, with more than 90 sports and racing motorcycles including rare antiques and classic performance bikes, added to its annual collector-car sale, which happened Saturday.
“We are back in the international collector motorcycle market, setting two world records and selling motorcycles to all four corners of the world,” said Chris Routledge, managing partner at Coys.
Coys is adding more than 90 sports and racing motorcycles, including rare antiques and classic performance bikes, to its annual collector-car auction July 11-12 at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, UK.
The Blenheim auction marks a return of motorcycle sales for Coys, with the bike sale Friday followed by Coys’ customary classic car auction Saturday.
An impressive and diverse collection of bikes from England, Europe, Japan and the United States is being offered.
“Coys are delighted to be back in the collector motorcycle market once again with this extensive catalogue,” said Anthony Godin, senior motorcycle specialist for the London auction house. “This marks the rejuvenation of Coys involvement in classic motorcycle auctions.”
Classic motorcycle sales and values have been strengthening in recent years, in line with classic car sales, as more enthusiasts add beautiful bikes to their car collections. The cost is still relatively low and motorcycles are easier to put on display without taking up too much space.
Among the most interesting motorcycles at auction is an American classic, a 1931 Indian four cylinder, estimated at £62,000 to £70,000 ($106,000 to $120,000). Another four-cylinder American beauty is a 1920 Henderson 1300 coupled with an attractive sidecar built in the Ferrari workshops in the 1920s. Value for this rare preserved Henderson is £55,000 to £70,000 ($94,000 to $120,000).
An ultra-rare Italian performance bike, a 1974 Ducati 750 SS in what Coys calls “perfect original condition” from a prominent Italian collection, has an estimated value of £28,000 to £34,000 ($48,000 to $58,000). A 1980 Harley-Davidson XR750 flat-track racer is valued at £25,000 to £30,000 ($43,000 to $51,000).
The auction collection includes some strong British entries, such as a fully restored 1952 Vincent Rapide Series C, estimated at £45,000 to £50,000 ($77,000 to $86,000).
The Coys auction also offers a number of more-affordable classic motorcycles for sale, including sporty Triumphs and BSAs from the UK, Japanese classics and small-displacement bikes from Italy and Spain.
For more information about the Blenheim auction and to view the catalog of motorcycles and cars for sale, see www.coys.co.uk.