Historic Benz motorcars dating back to the 19th Century will be presented during Bonhams’ collector car sale on Amelia Island, Florida, on March 5. These are among 20 vintage German vehicles from the estate of California collector Gerhard Schnuerer that will be offered at the auction.
The earliest automobile in the sale is a true horseless carriage, an 1897 Benz 10hp Mylord Coupe, of which only two are known to exist. It is one of the world’s oldest motorcars.
earliest examples of a twin-cylinder engine and kingpin steering, the Mylord
Coupe is a running vehicle that has completed the London to Brighton Run while
carrying Jutta Benz, great-granddaughter of Carl Benz, as a passenger.
The 1911 Benz 50hp Victoria is believed to be the sole surviving example of the open touring Benz. Wearing its original Demarest coachwork, it is a Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance award winner.
was ordered new by Charles Hayes, the Grand Trunk Railroad magnate, for a cost
20 times that of a Ford Model T. Hayes
never took delivery of the car, however – he went down in the sinking of the
Moving ahead 47 years, a 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster expertly restored by Mercedes-Benz Classic Center also will be auctioned by Bonhams from the Schnuerer collection.
numbers-matching 300 SL has two special claims to fame: it was driven by
Stirling Moss as lead driver of the 2015 Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance, and was
featured in the Mercedes-Benz commercial “Timeless” with Roger Federer.
Another significant antique among the Schnuerer cars is a 1918 Opel 14/38 that is believed to be the sole surviving example. The collection also has several German military vehicles from WWII, including an amphibious 1944 Volkswagen Schwimmwagen, a 1944 Volkswagen Kubelwagen, and the half-track motorcycle 1945 NSU Kettenkrad.
The Schnuerer collection actually spans three centuries, with the newest car being a 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren coupe.
For more information about Bonhams’ Amelia Island sale, held during the week leading up to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, visit the auction website.
A historic race car from the collection of rock star John Oates will be auctioned for charity during RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island sale held March 6-7.
Tiga SC84 Sports 2000 will be offered without reserve, all proceeds to be
donated to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Foundation in celebration
of the Concours’ 25 years of charitable giving.
RM Sotheby’s 22nd annual Florida sale will be held during the car week of auctions and shows that culminates with the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, March 8.
The Tiga, chassis 249, was acquired by Oates, the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer from the popular duo Hall and Oates, and his wife Aimee in 1918. The car was raced extensively in Sports Car Club of America competition in the 1980s, finishing well and going to the SCCA Runoffs.
1974, Formula 1 drivers Tim Schenken and Howden Ganley founded the race-car manufacturer
Tiga, named after the first two letters of their first and last names,
respectively,” according to an RM Sotheby’s news release. “Over the years, Tiga
found its greatest success in the Sports 2000 series, creating open-cockpit
“Tiga’s SC84 Sports 2000 model won numerous championships and events in period, including four British, three European and one American championship. The Tiga also scored a win at Le Mans and the Group C2 Teams award in the World Endurance Championship in 1985, and would go on to win at Daytona in 1987 and ’88 as well as the IMSA Camel Lights Championship in 1988.”
Chassis 249 was comprehensively restored including an engine rebuild in 2017-18, according to the release, and has been fully prepared for vintage racing. The Tiga has a new gearbox, clutch and bearings, the release says, with its body repaired back to new with custom livery by Kevin Jeannette.
John and Aimee Oates will celebrate their 25th anniversary this year, just after the Amelia Island Concours marks its 25th year.
“Our hope is that the money raised from the sale of our race car provides comfort and resources for the individuals and families supported by the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Foundation’s charitable giving,” John Oates said.
The RM Sotheby’s auction, featuring 140 collector vehicles, will take place at the Ritz Carlton resort, adjacent to the golf fairways where the concours is held. For more information, visit the auction website.
A dozen cars from the estate of a Boston University physics professor with an eye for exceptional design and engineering will be offered by Bonhams during its Amelia Island, Florida, collector car auction on March 5.
Led by a rare supercharged 1931 Bugatti Type 55 roadster, the Dean S. Edmonds Jr. cars present a diverse selection from “a passionate and fastidious collector of premier automobiles,” Bonhams says in a news release.
The Type 55 with Jean Bugatti-designed factory coachwork was sold new to the future Baron Rothschild. It was acquired by Edmonds in 1985 at auction, setting a world record price for a Bugatti at $440,000. The roadster was shown by Edmonds at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it won best of class. It also competed in the Mille Miglia of Italy. The pre-auction estimated value is $6.5 million to $9.5 million.
The Edmonds collection at Bonhams also includes a 1925 Bugatti Type 44 cabriolet that was once part of the Bill Harrah Collection in Reno, Nevada.
Another legendary pre-war sports car owned by Edmonds is a 1931 Invicta 4½-Liter S-Type Low Chassis Tourer, a rakish convertible renowned for speed and comfort, with Vanden Plas coachwork. It also was a best-in-class winner at Pebble Beach. The Invicta has an estimated value of $880,000 to $1 million.
The 1961 Aston Martin DB4 Series 4 GT in the collection is one of only seven surviving factory-specified left-hand-drive coupes with the special GT performance engine, and a great example of the “gentleman’s express” Astons. Bonhams’ estimated value is $900,000 to $1.1 million.
Four Jaguars at Bonhams are included in the Edmonds group, including a fine 1967 Jaguar XKE 4.2-liter roadster that the professor ordered new from the factory, had shipped to New Jersey, and then drove home to Massachusetts. The E-type remained with him for more than 50 years, and has been driven just over 7,200 miles.
The other three Jaguars are a 1953 Mark VII sedan also acquired when new, a 1952 XK120 roadster and a 1948 Mark IV drophead coupe.
Other cars from Edmonds’ estate are a 1982 DeLorean DMC12
gullwing coupe, a custom 1967 VW bus converted to electric power, a 1980
Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible and a 1929/1998 Peterson “Barclay Blower
For more information about Bonhams’ Amelia Island sale, held during the week leading up to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, visit the auction website.
Artcurial Motorcars’ annual Retromobile auction is known for blockbuster dockets. Consider the sale a year ago in Paris of a 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Touring Berlinetta for more than $18 million or the spectacular barn-found Baillon Collection which sold for more than $52.2 million in 2015.
Or even the fact that in 2018, the auction made headlines when a dispute within the family that owned the headlining and Le Mans-winning 1964 Ferrari 275P caused the car to be withdrawn from the sale.
There was no such must-see consignment for Artcurial’s 10th annual Retromobile sale this past weekend, but the Paris-based auction house topped all three Paris auctions with sales totaling $24,954 573. (Though based in Paris, Artcurial, like Bonhams, reports sales in both euros and dollars.)
“Splendid results reflecting the strength of passion for the Automobile,” Artcurial Motorcars’ managing director Matthieu Lamoure was quoted in the post-auction news release, “the sale a 7-hour spectacular live show in front of 3,000 people — that’s the magic of Retromobile and our auction house.”
The auction posted a 70 percent sell-through rate, and Artcurial added that 81 of the vehicles sold went to buyers residing outside France, including two of the top-10 lots being purchased by Americans collectors — a 1966 Porsche 906 and a 1991 Ferrari F40.
Artcurial boasted that its docket had something for everyone, and among the top-10 sales was a 1911 Mariquita, the last surviving representative of the 19MG class of racing yacht.
The top sale of the auction was a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB that sold for $2,728,052. The car (chassis 6785) competed in more than 40 international racing events in its heyday, including victory in its class in the Monza 1,000-kilometer GT in 1966.
Racing cars did well in the sale. The second-high seller was a 1966 Porsche 906, third was a 1983 Ferrari Formula One racer driven by Rene Arnoux, and also among the top-10 were a 1993 Jaguar XJ220 C and a 1936 Delahaye 135 S, both of which raced at Le Mans.
The docket also included two cars owned by the late French entertainer Johnny Hallyday. His 1967 Ford Mustang GT 390 coupe, which was the last surviving Ecurie Ford France Mustang, brought $266,396 and his 2006 Ford GT, the last car he owned, sold for $409,295.
Bonhams concluded a record Les Grandes Marues du Monde au Grand Palais Sale during Retromobile week with sales totaling €19,693,000 ($20,456,218), the highest figure ever for its collector car auction in Paris. It also claimed the highest price paid for any car at any of the three Retromobile 2020 auctions as a 1932 Bugatti Type 55 roadster on its docket sold for €4,600,000 ($5,061,380).
“This has been an excellent start to our European calendar, which this year also features our popular Monaco Sale, as well as a return to Bonmont after last year’s exceptional auction, plus an exciting new location which will be announced shortly,” Bonhams group motoring chairman James Knight was quoted in the company’s post-sale news release.
According to Bonhams website, its Paris auction sold 64 of the 100 collector vehicles on the docket.
Of the 1932 Bugatti Type 55 roadster, Bonhams said it was one of only 29 surviving and was being offered for sale after 56 years of ownership by the late British Bugatti collector Geoffrey St John and, more recently, his niece, Alissar McCreary.
The car had been raced at Le Mans by Louis Chiron and County Guy Bouriat-Quintart before being reconfigured with coachwork by Guiseppe Figoni. With that coachwork, the car won the 1933 Paris-Nice rally for its second owner, French publisher Jacques Dupuy.
“In the palatial Parisian saleroom, it was the subject of a serious yet spirited three-way bidding battle in the room before being sold to a Swiss Bugatti collector,” Bonhams reported.
“We were extremely proud to have been entrusted with this exceptional and historic sports car,” said Philip.Kantor, Bonhams European director. “It presented a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy one of the most important examples of the golden age of automotive craftsmanship and performance.”
“The Bonhams Grand Palais Sale is renowned for successfully selling pre-war Grand Marques and so it is no surprise that another top seller from today’s sale included a 1931 Invicta 4½ litre S-Type Low Chassis Sports with unique ‘sport cabriolet’ coachwork by Carbodies which achieved a world auction record for the marque, selling for €1,610,000.,” the auction company noted.
Top-10 sales, Bonhams Grand Palais Paris 2020
1931 Bugatti Type 55 Supersport by Figoni, $5,061,380
The “Poster Car Collection” brought in €6.4 million ($7.02 million) Friday as RM Sotheby’s staged its seventh annual Retromobile auction in the shadow of the dome of Les Invalides at Place Vauban in Paris. Overall, 97 of the 121 cars on the docket sold for an 80 percent sell-through rate and a total of €16.5 million ($18.09 million).
“‘We enjoyed some strong results in Paris,” Augustin Sabatie-Garat, RM Sothebhy’s European auction manager, was quoted in the post-sale news release. “The sale results for the Poster Car collection were an obvious highlight, with all but one of the cars selling strongly. The results for that collection prove that there is still a very strong market for well-restored and original low-mileage examples of highly regarded marques and models at sensible pre-sale estimates.
“We also enjoyed standout results across the market, demonstrating that great classics from the ’50s and modern era hypercars, all have a willing community of buyers in today’s market.”
The star lot of the Poster Car Collection, and the top-seller of the auction, was a restored 1958 BMW 507 Series II roadster that sold for €1,996,250 ($2.189 million)
“The high demand for collectable ’50s and ’60s German cars continued throughout the night,” RM Sotheby’s added, noting that a 1964 Porsche 904 GTS sold for €1,917,500 ($2,102,821), surpassing its pre-sale high estimate.
RM Sotheby’s noted as well that bidders came from 41 countries and that 25 percent of those bidding were new clients for the auction company.
Top-10 sales, RM Sotheby’s Paris Retromobile 2020
1958 BMW Roadster Series II, €1,996,250 ($2,189,182)
1964 Porsche 904 GTS, €1,917,500 ($2,102,821)
2012 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport, €1,523,750 ($1.671,016)
It apparently takes a long time to count up the receipts from the sale of 5,259 lots of collector cars, motorcycles, Road Art and vintage guitars, but Mecum Auctions has completed that task and reports sales of $130 million from its January 2020 auctions in Kissimmee, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada.
And while the company’s next auction isn’t scheduled until March 11-14 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, it is making news in the meantime, officially announcing the launch of the Mecum Gallery; the auction of the Eddie Vannoy Collection to be held June 3-7 in Jefferson, North Carolina; and the addition of former Daytona and Indianapolis speedway executive Joie Chitwood III to the Mecum management team.
Mecum announced in a news release that its collector car auction in Florida sent 2,140 vehicles to new owners for a total of $105.1 million, topped by the $3.74-million sale of the famed Bullitt-movie Ford Mustang “hero” car driven by Steve McQueen.
The sales total was just shy of the 2019 Kissimmee auction’s $107.5 million from 2,328 vehicles sold.
The Las Vegas motorcycle auction posted $22.6 million in sales with a 90 percent sell-through rate and 1,540 machines going to new owners. While the 2020 auction total was short of the $26.3 million figure from the 2019 event, that earlier event featured the stunning MC Collection from Sweden and nearly doubled the previous Las Vegas auction sales record.
In 2020, the Road Art (automobilia) auction in Florida posted $1.5 million in sales and the new Guitar Search by Domino sale at Kissimmee did $779,489, with a 79 percent sell-through and with two guitars selling for more than $200,000 each.
In other developments, after what might be considered a soft launch this past summer at Monterey, where it worked with Don Williams and the Blackhawk Collection to offer several cars for sale in a salon-style setting, and at Kissimmee, where 9 more cars were offered, Mecum will officially unveil its Mecum Gallery “exposition” sales program February 7-9 at the Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance in Florida.
“Monterey was a pre-cursor. Now it’s more formalized,” Dave Magers, Mecum’s chief executive, said during an interview at Las Vegas.
Magers said offering a select group of vehicles for sale in a salon rather than a bidding environment will allow Mecum to have a presence at more events, including those where a full auction format might not be appropriate, such as the upcoming concours in Florida. He said Mecum also will offer Gallery sales at several of its own auction venues.
A Gallery advertisement in the Mecum Monthly magazine shows Dana Mecum’s own historic 1954/59 Ferrari 0432M as the featured vehicle for the Boca Raton exposition sale. The car crossed the block at Mecum’s Monterey sale in 2019 and was bid to $20 million but that figure fell just short of the car’s reserve price.
Gallery cars advertised on the Mecum website include a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster, a Pebble Beach class-winning 1951 Talbot-Lago T-26 Grand Sport coupe by Saoutchik, a 1965 Ford GT competition prototype roadster with Le Mans racing history, and a 1941 Willys custom pickup that was a Great 8 finalist at the Detroit Autorama.
The Eddie Vannoy Collection sale will include more than 5,000 items and is being conducted under the umbrella of Mecum’s Road Art division.
Mecum reports that Vannoy’s collection, assembled over the course of more than 30 years, is “unparalleled” and “the world’s largest personal collection of Road Art ever offered to the public.”
Vannoy, who with his brother, Mark, operates a major construction company based in Jefferson, North Carolina, has housed his car and automobilia collection in a museum-style setting.
Magers said that rather than pack everything and ship it to an auction venue, the sale will be held on site at a facility that includes rooms devoted to Corvettes, Mopar, muscle cars, pedal cars and motorcycles, as well as a diner, country store, barber shop and an armory of vintage rifles.
Joie Chitwood’s name should be familiar to car enthusiasts. He’s the grandson of Indy 500 racer and famed thrill-show driver George Rice “Joie” Chitwood. Chitwood III has been president of Daytona International Speedway, president and chief operating officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and executive vice president and chief operating officer of the International Speedway Corporation.
Mecum announced that Chitwood joins its Wisconsin-based management team as of February 10 and will serve as “Strategic Advisor.” Magers explained that Chitwood will be part of the full-time management team in the Wisconsin office and will oversee several Mecum divisions and will explore additional business opportunities for the company.
Top-10 sales, Mecum at Kissimmee, Florida, 2020
1968 Bullitt movie Ford Mustang GT, $3,740,000
2019 McLaren Senna, $1,430,000
2015 Porsche 918 Spyder, $1,430,000
2015 McLaren P1, $1,089,000
1967 Gone in 60 Seconds Eleanor Ford Mustang, $852,500
1968 Challenger 2 LSR streamliner, $561,000
1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, $544,500
1932 Duesenberg Model J Tourister, $522,500
1966 Ford v Ferrari Superformance Ford GT40 MkII, $484,000
1967 Shelby GT350, $448,000
(Prices include buyer’s fee.)
Top-10 Road Art sales, Mecum at Kissimmee, Florida, 2020
1953 Litchfield Hardware store sign, $35,400
1922 Ford dealership sign, $25,960
Eleanor cinema vehicle mold kits, $23,600
1950s Entrance arrow sign, $23,600
1950s Garden Inn Model sign, $23,600
1960s OK Used Cars sign, $22,400
1919 Chevrolet milk glass sign, $21,240
1907 Water Sprite outboard motor, $20,060
1930 Indian Silver Arrow outboard motor, $14,160
Oldsmobile dealer sign, $12,980
(Prices include buyer’s fee.)
Top-10 sales, Guitar Search Kissimmee 2020
1959 Gibson Geddy Lee Les Paul Standard, $253,700
1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard Scarface Electric, $212,400
1960 Gibson Geddy Lee ES-355, $49,560
1956 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop Electric, $44,840
1955 Fender Geddy Lee Stratocaster, $44,840
1960 Gibson Geddy Lee ES-345, $24,780
Rickey Medlock’s boat, guitar & Lake Okeechobee fishing trip, $24,780
1990 Gold Warwick John Entwistle Buzzard customized bass, $20,060
1957 Gibson Les Paul TV Special electric, $22,800
1963 Gibson ES-175 DN, $8,260
(Prices include buyer’s fee.)
Top-10 sales, Mecum Las Vegas motorcycles 2020
1922 Brough Superior Mark 1, $308,000
1930 Brough Superior SS100, $239,250
1956 Harley-Davidson ‘Indian Larry Grease Monkey,’ $220,000
1940 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead, $220,000
1916 Militaire Four, $214,500
1974 Ducati 750SS, $198,000
1934 Harley-Davidson CAC Speedway, $181,500
2004 ‘Indian Larry Chain of Mystery,’ $165,000
1953 Vincent Black Shadow, $143,000
1924 Patria Ace-Henderson, $137,500
(Prices include buyer’s fee.)
Mecum’s next auction is scheduled for March 11-14 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Noting it to be “possibly the most photographed car of the summer of 1994,” Briton’s Classic Car Auctions says the docket for its Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration show sale will include the Audi 80 cabriolet presented to Diana, Princess of Wales.
The car “was once the personal transport of Diana, Prince of Wales, a car she clearly enjoyed, regularly used and was photographed in,” the auction company said in its announcement.
The car was a gift from Dovercourt Audi of St. John’s Wood. She drove the car from March until July, when she returned it to the dealer with 4,000 miles on the odometer, Classic Car Auctions reported.
Princess Diana’s 1994 Audi 80 Cabriolet
“For Audi, this was a huge public relations opportunity, the most photographed Princess driving one of their cars, they couldn’t have wished for more. Audi later reported that sales had doubled once Diana was seen driving the car,” the auction house added.
After she returned the car, it was purchased by Ian Campbell Dale, a political commentator who sold it two years later. The car has gone through several subsequent owners but has been driven only 22,000 miles in total, the auction company said.
Classic Car Auctions expects the car to sell at its auction, scheduled for March 28-29 at the NEC Birmingham, for £35,000 to £40,000 ($45,770 to $52,310).
Gooding & Company’s first collector car auction outside the United States will present a “masterpiece collection” of 16 exceptional British, French and Italian sports, racing and luxury cars during its April 1 sale at historic Somerset House in London.
of the cars at the auction, which has been dubbed “Passion of a Lifetime,” are
from a single and unidentified collector and include significant pre-war and
post-war models from Bentley, Bugatti, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce,
Lancia and Vauxhall.
“These stunning cars hail from one of the world’s most-revered private collections and represent the culmination of decades of research, dedication, and a meticulous commitment to bring together the most-coveted and valuable examples of European sports and racing automobiles of the 20th century,” according to Gooding’s announcement of the London docket.
The highest valued car of the collection is a 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports that was raced in the 1934-35 grand prix season by René Dreyfus, winning the Belgium Grand Prix at Spa. It was then developed by the factory for sports car events, dominating its rivals during the 1937 season while driven by some of the greatest drivers of the era.
The car, serial number 57248, was retired from racing after that
and, painted black by the factory, sold in 1938 to King Leopold III of Belgium,
earning it the nickname of the King Leopold Bugatti. Gooding estimates its value “in excess of £10
million ($13 million).”
“With royal provenance and exceptional, unrestored condition, 57248 is widely regarded as the most significant and original competition Bugatti,” Gooding said in its news release.
Two other rare and coveted Bugattis will be offered, a beautifully restored 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante, valued in excess of £7 million ($9.1 million), and a 1928 Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix racer, valued in excess of £3 million ($3.9 million).
From Aston Martin comes a stunning 1961 DB4 GT with coachwork by Zagato of Milan, Italy, and considered to be one of the most beautiful sports cars of the era. Just 19 DB4 GT Zagatos were built, and this is the only one finished in Peony Red, said Gooding, which estimates its value as between £7 million and £9 million ($9.1 million to $11.77 million).
Other Aston Martins in the collection are a 1955 DB3S competition car valued at £3 million to £4 million ($3.9 million to $5.23 million) and a 1935 Ulster originally owned by Prince Bira and Chula of Siam, fully restored with just one subsequent owner and valued at £1.6 million to £2.2 million ($2 million to $2.88 million).
A postwar classic 1952 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback, at one time the most-expensive car in the world as well as the fastest full four-seater, has an estimated value of £1.5 million to £2 million ($1.96 million to $2.6 million), while a 1939 Bentley 4¼ Liter Vanvooren Cabriolet is valued at £450,000 to £600,000 ($588,000 to $784,000) and a 1927 Bentley 3 Liter Speed Model Sports Tourer, the first car produced by W.O. Bentley, is valued at £350,000 to £450,000 ($458,000 to $588,000).
A pair of terrific Lamborghinis are on the docket, a special-order 1971 Miura P400 SV Speciale valued at £1.6 million to £2 million ($2 million to $2.6 million) and a rare 1965 350 GT valued at £400,000 to £550,000 ($523,000 to $719,000).
The single Rolls-Royce being offered is an early one with a long name, a 1919 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Alpine Eagle Tourer, chassis 24LW, with an estimated value of £1 million to £1.4 million ($1.31 million to $1.83 million).
Lancia, one of the most-innovative Italian brands, is represented by a much-sought-after sports car, a 1955 Aurelia B24S Spider America valued at £700,000 to £900,000 ($915,000 to $1.176 million); a Zagato-bodied 1959 Flaminia 2500 Sport in fine original condition, valued at £400,000 to £500,000 ($523,000 to $654,000); and a 1924 Lancia Lambda 3rd Series Torpédo, a technologically advanced car considered to be Vincenzo Lancia’s greatest masterpiece, valued at £320,000 to £400,000 ($418,000 to $523,000).
An impressive 1924 Vauxhall
30-98 OE-Type with sporty Wensum coachwork and considered to be one of the
finest surviving examples of the legendary British brand,is the final
entry in the collection. The Vauxhall is valued at £800,000 to £1.2 million
($1.05 million to $1.6 million).
For more information about Gooding’s London sale, and to see photos and details for all the cars, visit the auction website.
Bonhams is back in Las Vegas for its 10th annual collector motorcycle auction. But this year, the sale takes place in a bright new venue, the Caesar’s Entertainment Studios just off The Strip and behind the Paris Las Vegas complex and its faux Eiffel Tower.
The new venue has a vintage feel that fits well with the motorcycles that will cross the block on Thursday, January 23. It was constructed for movie and television production and for special events, such as the annual Bonhams bike sale.
The new venue should prove beneficial. Previously, the sale was staged in a ballroom-style facility at the Rio resort that not only was not on The Strip, it was even west of Interstate 15.
The auction docket includes more than 110 motorcycles, including a 1940 Crocker Big Tank V-Twin that Bonhams expects to sell for around half-a-million dollars. The bike formerly was owned by Crocker employee Elmo Looper and is one of fewer than 30 Big Tanks produced by Al Crocker and his crew in East Los Angeles.
I spent some time Wednesday morning wandering among the machines that will on the bock Thursday. Here are some of my favorites:
A pair of NUTs
The docket includes two NUTs, a 1913 1000-cc OHV racer and a 1925 750cc V-Twin Sports Tourer. Hugh Mason, a British engineer, produced motorcycles under other brand names before settling in 1912on NUT — short for his hometown of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Mason rode one of his machines to victory in the 1913 Isle of Man Junior TT and the brand became popular, though it did not survive the Depression.
Bonhams notes that NUTs were distinguished by their cylindrical fuel tank held in place in a lugged-steel tube frame by two nickel-plated bands. The bikes are gorgeous in their brown/orange color. The earlier example is powered by a JAP engine produced by J.A. Prestwich of Tottenham. The newer bike has an engine designed by Mason.
A drove of Ducatis
Lots 115, 116, 117, 118, 120 and 122 are Ducatis (and there are yet others on the docket as well). But 115, 116, 117, 118, 120 and 122 were parked together to form an impressive red curve. In numerical order, they are a 1988 750 Paso, a 1996 900 SS/CR, 1995 916, 2007 1098, circa-1985 600 SL Pantah and 1985 1,000cc Mike Hailwood replica.
2006 Ducati Paul Smart 1000 LE
Parked nearby — well, not really parked but sitting in a crate-like frame — is Lot 119, a 2006 Ducati Paul Smart 1000 LE. Turns out the crate-like frame is actually the crate in which the bike was shipped. The bike is brand new, thus still in its crate. It carries the name of Paul Smart, winner of the 1972 Imola 200 and is part of the “Sport Classic” line that Ducati introduced in 2005.
2000 Mule Harley-Davidson 1,200cc Street Tracker
I don’t ride but I’m fascinated by the exposed mechanical bits and the sculptural nature, especially of the early motorcycles. What caught my eye in this case was the amazing form of the exhaust pipes. Turns out this bike was built in 2010 by street-tracker Richard Pollock of Mule Motorcycles and has a mildly hot-rodded Sportster 1200 engine. The design was influenced by the Harley XLCH bikes of the 1950s
‘Sons of Speed’ 1915 Harley-Davidson Twin Model F board-track racer
Here’s another modern interpretation on a vintage theme. It was built by Billy Lane and Matt Walksler for the Sons of Speed, “modern era” board-track races that are held in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The engine is a 1915 Harley F-head 61cid V-twin rebuilt and souped-up by Walksler at the Wheels Through Time museum in North Carolina. Just like the board-track racers of a century ago, the bike has no brakes, no suspension and no transmission. It is geared to run 80 mph on a 1/2-mile oval track.
1917 Henderson 60.40ci Model G custom board track racer
There is something special about the proportions of vintage Henderson motorcycles with their 4-cylinder engines. The company was founded in Detroit in 1911 by brothers Tom and William Henderson and was acquired and moved to Chicago by bicycle and Excelsior motorcycle manufacturer Ignaz Schwinn in 1917. The Hendersons started the Ace brand, which they later sold to Indian.
The Model G engine was new for 1917 and was so advanced that Henry Ford reportedly bought one to study. This board-track racer-style machine was built around a Model G engine for Paul Ousey to race in a Sons of Speed event.
1929 Brough Superior 680 ‘project’
This Brough Superior is parked next to tables covered by the parts needed to put the matching-numbers 680 back together. The Overhead (valve) 680 was a new model for 1927. Bonhams says the Brough Superior Club Machine Registrar has confirmed the numbers-matching frame, engine and gearbox of this do-it-yourself project.
circa-1967 BMW R50/2
The color of this post-war BMW is Dover White, albeit with a “hint of cream” and black pin striping. BMW’s Series 2 bikes were in prodution from 1960-1969. This numbers-matching (frame and engine no. 642174) bike was restored by BMW specialist Tim Stafford in San Diego and is meant to be ridden.